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Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities => Politics & Religion => Topic started by: Crafty_Dog on May 22, 2003, 12:31:06 PM

Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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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Title: ww3
Post by: ~Ony 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.

Title: post moved to this thread
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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
Title: moved from a different thread
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: VD Hanson
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: Concerning WMD
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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."
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WMD?
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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."
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 21, 2003, 06:44:11 AM
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 08, 2003, 01:01:27 PM
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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?
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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."
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 13, 2003, 10:52:45 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

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
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on September 02, 2003, 05:43:07 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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."
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog 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
Title: WW3
Post by: Lazyhound on October 13, 2003, 07:51:51 AM
Many of those are out of context (
Title: WW3
Post by: Hermann Goering on October 13, 2003, 09:16:37 AM
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

--Hermann Goering (Nuremberg, 1946)

Gilbert, G.M. Nuremberg Diary. New York: Farrar, Straus and Company, 1947 (pp. 278-279)
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on October 14, 2003, 08:42:48 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003

Last week saw an interesting evolution in the U.S.-Islamist war, an
evolution that revealed itself over the past 48 hours. The initial purpose
of the Iraq campaign was to position the United States to bring pressure on the countries surrounding Iraq -- particularly Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the campaign, terrific pressure was brought on all three countries. The unexpected emergence of a guerrilla campaign in Iraq seemed to constrain the United States in projecting its power. As the reality of the guerrilla campaign set in, the United States focused inside Iraq, creating a situation in which the war in Iraq had no end beyond Iraq.

U.S. pressure was not without consequence. Saudi Arabia, in particular,
moved to comply with U.S. wishes concerning the destruction of al Qaeda
inside the kingdom. Iran proved willing to accommodate the United States, albeit at a price. However, Syria appeared to read the situation in Iraq as a quagmire that limited any threat from the United States. After initially seeming to move toward an accommodation with the United States, Syria shifted its policy by last summer, clearly calculating that the United States would be in no position to threaten Syria while the Iraqi campaign festered.

There is little question but that U.S. momentum in the war declined as the
guerrilla war set in. However, it appears to us that, over the past week or
so, the United States has moved toward regaining momentum and is reasserting pressure, particularly toward Syria, and to a lesser extent, Iran. Indeed, Syria currently finds itself locked in a massive crisis that it did not expect. Reports say that Syria is mobilizing its military, but -- mobilized or not -- it has few military options. It has been trapped by the sudden reversal of U.S. energy.

Essentially, the United States appears to have decided that the guerrilla
war won't be over for a while, so waiting until the war's end to exploit the
occupation of Iraq would mean waiting for a long time. Therefore, the United States has launched a strategic offensive while the guerrilla campaign continued unabated -- accepting the minimal risk the war posed to its rear.

Two pieces were put into place to squeeze the Iraqis. The first was
approving Israel's strike into Syria and using Israel's nuclear arsenal as a
threat to Syria -- and Iran. The second was reaching an agreement with
Turkey over the use of its troops in Iraq. This moved Turkey away from
neutrality and back toward its traditional pro-U.S. and pro-Israel stance.
With the United States on Syria's eastern frontier, Syria was trapped.
Seriously provoked by Israel's air raid, it has the choice of doing nothing,
or using Hezbollah to attack Israel -- triggering a massive response from
Israel. The pressure on Syria to shut down Palestinian and Islamist groups is intense. The internal political consequences of shutting them down also would be intense. Damascus is caught between a rock and a hard place -- right where Washington wants it.

Iran's case is much more complex. The United States and Iran share a common interest in preventing the victory of the Saddam Hussein-Islamist guerrilla force -- but that's not really a threat. The issue is not its victory but its defeat, and for this, the United States needs a highly motivated indigenous force. The Iraqi Shiite community -- so far, fairly quiet and tacitly accepting of U.S. occupation -- has been indispensable to that occupation. Without it, the U.S. position would be enormously more
difficult. Iran wants a sphere of influence in Iraq and the United States
might provide it -- depending on how badly the United States needs Iran. If Syria were to crumble, Iran's position would be far weaker -- and the price for its help lower.

At issue has been the price the United States would pay for Iran not
becoming a nuclear power. Over the weekend, the United States tried to
demonstrate -- with the reference to Israel's nuclear triad -- that Iran is
not going to become a nuclear power under any circumstance. The message to Iran was that it could either negotiate away its capability at a reasonable price, or lose that capability to an Israeli first strike. Israel cannot risk an Iranian nuclear device and will destroy it before it becomes
operational. Iran, of course, knows that. The United States has now told
Iran that it knows it, too. Iran is now trapped between two facts: First,
the device isn't operational -- and Israel won't let it become so. Second,
the United States won't stand in the way of Israel. That leaves Iran, like
Syria, with relatively few strategic options.

The interesting part of all this is that the United States increasingly
relies on partners to support its strategic maneuvers. The three countries
it now turns to are Israel, above all, but also Turkey and India. The United
States has depended on all three since the beginning of the war, but now its relationship with Israel is becoming much more open. This appears to be a strategic decision on the part of the United States. It needs to break out of the bind it finds itself in Iraq; it needs to make something happen to move the war along. The United States understands the price of playing the Israeli card. It also understands that it needs help where it can get it.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 04, 2003, 10:27:24 AM
On Hating the Jews
by Natan Sharansky

November 2003

NO HATRED has as rich and as lethal a history as anti-Semitism?"the longest hatred," as the historian Robert Wistrich has dubbed it. Over the millennia, anti-Semitism has infected a multitude of peoples, religions, and civilizations, in the process inflicting a host of terrors on its Jewish victims. But while there is no disputing the impressive reach of the phenomenon, there is surprisingly little agreement about its cause or causes.

Indeed, finding a single cause would seem too daunting a task?the incidence of anti-Semitism is too frequent, the time span too broad, the locales too numerous, the circumstances too varied. No doubt that is why some scholars have come to regard every outbreak as essentially unique, denying that a straight line can be drawn from the anti-Semitism of the ancient world to that of today. Whether it is the attack on the Jews of Alexandria in 38 c.e. or the ones that took place 200 years earlier in ancient Jerusalem, whether it is the Dreyfus affair in 1890?s France or Kristallnacht in late-1930?s Germany?each incident is seen as the outcome of a distinctive mix of political, social, economic, cultural, and religious forces that preclude the possibility of a deeper or recurring cause.

A less extreme version of this same approach identifies certain patterns of anti-Semitism, but only within individual and discrete "eras." In particular, a distinction is drawn between the religiously based hatred of the Middle Ages and the racially based hatred of the modern era. Responsibility for the anti-Semitic waves that engulfed Europe from the age of Constantine to the dawn of the Enlightenment is laid largely at the foot of the Church and its offshoots, while the convulsions that erupted over the course of the next three centuries are viewed as the byproduct of the rise of virulent nationalism.

Obviously, separating out incidents or eras has its advantages, enabling researchers to focus more intensively on specific circumstances and to examine individual outbreaks from start to finish. But what such analyses may gain in local explanatory power they sacrifice in comprehensiveness. Besides, if every incident or era of anti-Semitism is largely distinct from every other, how to explain the cumulative ferocity of the phenomenon?

As if in response to this question, some scholars have attempted to offer more sweeping, trans-historical explanations. Perhaps the two best known are the "scapegoat" theory, according to which tensions within society are regulated and released by blaming a weaker group, often the Jews, for whatever is troubling the majority, and the "demonization" theory, according to which Jews have been cast into the role of the "other" by the seemingly perennial need to reject those who are ethnically, religiously, or racially different.

Clearly, in this sociological approach, anti-Semitism emerges as a Jewish phenomenon in name only. Rather, it is but one variant in a family of hatreds that include racism and xenophobia. Thus, the specifically anti-Jewish violence in Russia at the turn of the 20th century has as much in common with the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia at the turn of the 21st as it does with the massacres of Jews in the Ukraine in the mid-1600?s. Taken to its logical conclusion, this theory would redefine the Holocaust?at the hands of some scholars, it has redefined the Holocaust?as humanity?s most destructive act of racism rather than as the most murderous campaign ever directed against the Jews.

Reacting to such universalizing tendencies a half-century ago, Hannah Arendt cited a piece of dialogue from "a joke which was told after the first World War":

An anti-Semite claimed that the Jews had caused the war; the reply was: Yes, the Jews and the bicyclists. Why the bicyclists? asks the one. Why the Jews? asks the other.

George Orwell offered a similar observation in 1944: "However true the scapegoat theory may be in general terms, it does not explain why the Jews rather than some other minority group are picked on, nor does it make clear what they are the scapegoat for."

WHATEVER THE shortcomings of these approaches may be, I have to admit that my own track record as a theorist is no better.

Three decades ago, as a young dissident in the Soviet Union, I compiled underground reports on anti-Semitism for foreign journalists and Western diplomats. At the time, I firmly believed that the cause of the "disease" was totalitarianism, and that democracy was the way to cure it. Once the Soviet regime came to be replaced by democratic rule, I figured, anti-Semitism was bound to wither away. In the struggle toward that goal, the free world, which in the aftermath of the Holocaust appeared to have inoculated itself against a recurrence of murderous anti-Jewish hatred, was our natural ally, the one political entity with both the means and the will to combat the great evil.

Today I know better. This year, following publication of a report by an Israeli government forum charged with addressing the issue of anti-Semitism, I invited to my office the ambassadors of the two countries that have outpaced all others in the frequency and intensity of anti-Jewish attacks within their borders. The emissaries were from France and Belgium?two mature democracies in the heart of Western Europe. It was in these ostensible bastions of enlightenment and tolerance that Jewish cemeteries were being desecrated, children assaulted, synagogues scorched.

To be sure, the anti-Semitism now pervasive in Western Europe is very different from the anti-Semitism I encountered a generation ago in the Soviet Union. In the latter, it was nurtured by systematic, government-imposed discrimination against Jews. In the former, it has largely been condemned and opposed by governments (though far less vigilantly than it should be). But this only makes anti-Semitism in the democracies more disturbing, shattering the illusion?which was hardly mine alone?that representative governance is an infallible antidote to active hatred of Jews.

Another shattered illusion is even more pertinent to our search. Shocked by the visceral anti-Semitism he witnessed at the Dreyfus trial in supposedly enlightened France, Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism, became convinced that the primary cause of anti-Semitism was the anomalous condition of the Jews: a people without a polity of its own. In his seminal work, The Jewish State (1896), published two years after the trial, Herzl envisioned the creation of such a Jewish polity and predicted that a mass emigration to it of European Jews would spell the end of anti-Semitism. Although his seemingly utopian political treatise would turn out to be one of the 20th century?s most prescient books, on this point history has not been kind to Herzl; no one would seriously argue today that anti-Semitism came to a halt with the founding of the state of Israel. To the contrary, this particular illusion has come full circle: while Herzl and most Zionists after him believed that the emergence of a Jewish state would end anti-Semitism, an increasing number of people today, including some Jews, are convinced that anti-Semitism will end only with the disappearance of the Jewish state.

I first encountered this idea quite a long time ago, in the Soviet Union. In the period before, during, and after the Six-Day war of June 1967?a time when I and many others were experiencing a heady reawakening of our Jewish identity?the Soviet press was filled with scathing attacks on Israel and Zionism, and a wave of official anti-Semitism was unleashed to accompany them. To quite a few Soviet Jews who had been trying their best to melt into Soviet life, Israel suddenly became a jarring reminder of their true status in the "workers? paradise": trapped in a world where they were free neither to live openly as Jews nor to escape the stigma of their Jewishness. To these Jews, Israel came to seem part of the problem, not (as it was for me and others) part of the solution. Expressing what was no doubt a shared sentiment, a distant relative of mine quipped: "If only Israel didn?t exist, everything would be all right."

In the decades since, and especially over the last three years, the notion that Israel is one of the primary causes of anti-Semitism, if not the primary cause, has gained much wider currency. The world, we are told by friend and foe alike, increasingly hates Jews because it increasingly hates Israel. Surely this is what the Belgian ambassador had in mind when he informed me during his visit that anti-Semitism in his country would cease once Belgians no longer had to watch pictures on television of Israeli Jews oppressing Palestinian Arabs.

OBVIOUSLY, THE state of Israel cannot be the cause of a phenomenon that predates it by over 2,000 years. But might it be properly regarded as the cause of contemporary anti-Semitism? What is certain is that, everywhere one looks, the Jewish state does appear to be at the center of the anti-Semitic storm?and nowhere more so, of course, than in the Middle East.

The rise in viciously anti-Semitic content disseminated through state-run Arab media is quite staggering, and has been thoroughly documented. Arab propagandists, journalists, and scholars now regularly employ the methods and the vocabulary used to demonize European Jews for centuries?calling Jews Christ-killers, charging them with poisoning non-Jews, fabricating blood libels, and the like. In a region where the Christian faith has few adherents, a lurid and time-worn Christian anti-Semitism boasts an enormous following.

To take only one example: this past February, the Egyptian government, formally at peace with Israel, saw fit to broadcast on its state-run television a 41-part series based on the infamous Czarist forgery about a global Jewish conspiracy to dominate humanity, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. To ensure the highest ratings, the show was first aired, in prime time, just as millions of families were breaking their traditional Ramadan fast; Arab satellite television then rebroadcast the series to tens of millions more throughout the Middle East.

In Europe, the connection between Israel and anti-Semitism is equally conspicuous. For one thing, the timing and nature of the attacks on European Jews, whether physical or verbal, have all revolved around Israel, and the anti-Semitic wave itself, which began soon after the Palestinians launched their terrorist campaign against the Jewish state in September 2000, reached a peak (so far) when Israel initiated Operation Defensive Shield at the end of March 2002, a month in which 125 Israelis had been killed by terrorists.

Though most of the physical attacks in Europe were perpetrated by Muslims, most of the verbal and cultural assaults came from European elites. Thus, the Italian newspaper La Stampa published a cartoon of an infant Jesus lying at the foot of an Israeli tank, pleading, "Don?t tell me they want to kill me again." The frequent comparisons of Ariel Sha ron to Adolf Hitler, of Israelis to Nazis, and of Palestinians to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were not the work of hooligans spray-painting graffiti on the wall of a synagogue but of university educators and sophisticated columnists. As the Nobel Prize-winning author JosE9 Saramago declared of Israel?s treatment of the Palestinians: "We can compare it with what happened at Auschwitz."

The centrality of Israel to the revival of a more generalized anti-Semitism is also evident in the international arena. Almost a year after the current round of Palestinian violence began, and after hundreds of Israelis had already been killed in buses, discos, and pizzerias, a so-called "World Conference against Racism" was held under the auspices of the United Nations in Durban, South Africa. It turned into an anti-Semitic circus, with the Jewish state being accused of everything from racism and apartheid to crimes against humanity and genocide. In this theater of the absurd, the Jews themselves were turned into perpetrators of anti-Semitism, as Israel was denounced for its "Zionist practices against Semitism"?the Semitism, that is to say, of the Palestinian Arabs.

Naturally, then, in searching for the "root cause" of anti-Semitism, the Jewish state would appear to be the prime suspect. But Israel, it should be clear, is not guilty. The Jewish state is no more the cause of anti-Semitism today than the absence of a Jewish state was its cause a century ago.

To see why, we must first appreciate that the always specious line between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism has now become completely blurred: Israel has effectively become the world?s Jew. From Middle Eastern mosques, the bloodcurdling cry is not "Death to the Israelis," but "Death to the Jews." In more civilized circles, a columnist for the London Observer proudly announces that he does not read published letters in support of Israel that are signed by Jews. (That the complaints commission for the British press found nothing amiss in this statement only goes to show how far things have changed since Orwell wrote of Britain in 1945 that "it is not at present possible, indeed, that anti-Semitism should become respectable.") When discussion at fashionable European dinner parties turns to the Middle East, the air, we have been reliably informed, turns blue with old-fashioned anti-Semitism.

No less revealing is what might be called the mechanics of the discussion. For centuries, a clear sign of the anti-Semitic impulse at work has been the use of the double standard: social behavior that in others passes without comment or with the mildest questioning becomes, when exhibited by Jews, a pretext for wholesale group denunciation. Such double standards are applied just as recklessly today to the Jewish state. It is democratic Israel, not any of the dozens of tyrannies represented in the United Nations General Assembly, that that body singles out for condemnation in over two dozen resolutions each year; it is against Israel?not Cuba, North Korea, China, or Iran?that the UN human-rights commission, chaired recently by a lily-pure Libya, directs nearly a third of its official ire; it is Israel whose alleged misbehavior provoked the only joint session ever held by the signatories to the Geneva Convention; it is Israel, alone among nations, that has lately been targeted by Western campaigns of divestment; it is Israel?s Magen David Adom, alone among ambulance services in the world, that is denied membership in the International Red Cross; it is Israeli scholars, alone among academics in the world, who are denied grants and prevented from publishing articles in prestigious journals. The list goes on and on.

The idea that Israel has become the world?s Jew and that anti-Zionism is a substitute for anti-Semitism is certainly not new. Years ago, Norman Podhoretz observed that the Jewish state "has become the touchstone of attitudes toward the Jewish people, and anti-Zionism has become the most relevant form of anti-Semitism." And well before that, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was even more unequivocal:

You declare, my friend, that you do not hate the Jews, you are merely "anti-Zionist." And I say, let the truth ring forth from the high mountain tops, let it echo through the valleys of God?s green earth; when people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews?this is God?s own truth.

But if Israel is indeed nothing more than the world?s Jew, then to say that the world increasingly hates Jews because the world increasingly hates Israel means as much, or as little, as saying that the world hates Jews because the world hates Jews. We still need to know: why?

THIS MAY be a good juncture to let the anti-Semites speak for themselves.

Here is the reasoning invoked by Haman, the infamous viceroy of Persia in the biblical book of Esther, to convince his king to order the annihilation of the Jews:

There is a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom, and their laws are different from those of other peoples, and the king?s laws they do not keep, so that it is of no benefit for the king to tolerate them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed. [emphasis added]

This is hardly the only ancient source pointing to the Jews? incorrigible separateness, or their rejection of the majority?s customs and moral concepts, as the reason for hostility toward them. Centuries after Hellenistic values had spread throughout and beyond the Mediterranean, the Roman historian Tacitus had this to say:

Among the Jews, all things are profane that we hold sacred; on the other hand, they regard as permissible what seems to us immoral. . . . The rest of the world they confront with the hatred reserved for enemies. They will not feed or intermarry with gentiles. . . . They have introduced circumcision to show that they are different from others. . . . It is a crime among them to kill any newly born infant.

Philostratus, a Greek writer who lived a century later, offered a similar analysis:

For the Jews have long been in revolt not only against the Romans, but against humanity; and a race that has made its own life apart and irreconcilable, that cannot share with the rest of mankind in the pleasures of the table, nor join in their libations or prayers or sacrifices, are separated from ourselves by a greater gulf than divides us from Sura or Bactra of the more distant Indies.

Did the Jews actually reject the values that were dominant in the ancient world, or was this simply a fantasy of their enemies? While many of the allegations leveled at Jews were spurious?they did not ritually slaughter non-Jews, as the Greek writer Apion claimed?some were obviously based on true facts. The Jews did oppose intermarriage. They did refuse to sacrifice to foreign gods. And they did emphatically consider killing a newborn infant to be a crime.

Some, perhaps many, individual Jews in those days opted to join the (alluring) Hellenist stream; most did not. Even more important, the Jews were the only people seriously to challenge the moral system of the Greeks. They were not an "other" in the ancient world; they were the "other"?an other, moreover, steadfast in the conviction that Judaism represented not only a different way of life but, in a word, the truth. Jewish tradition claims that Abraham was chosen as the patriarch of what was to become the Jewish nation only after he had smashed the idols in his father?s home. His descendants would continue to defy the pagan world around them, championing the idea of the one God and, unlike other peoples of antiquity, refusing to subordinate their beliefs to those of their conquerors.

THE (BY and large correct) perception of the Jews as rejecting the prevailing value system of the ancient world hardly justifies the anti-Semitism directed against them; but it does take anti-Semitism out of the realm of fantasy, turning it into a genuine clash of ideals and of values. With the arrival of Christianity on the world stage, that same clash, based once again on the charge of Jewish rejectionism, would intensify a thousandfold. The refusal of the people of the "old covenant" to accept the new came to be defined as a threat to the very legitimacy of Christianity, and one that required a mobilized response.

Branding the Jews "Christ killers" and "sons of devils," the Church launched a systematic campaign to denigrate Christianity?s parent religion and its adherents. Accusations of desecrating the host, ritual murder, and poisoning wells would be added over the centuries, creating an ever larger powder keg of hatred. With the growing power of the Church and the global spread of Christianity, these potentially explosive sentiments were carried to the far corners of the world, bringing anti-Semitism to places where no Jewish foot had ever trod.

According to some Christian thinkers, persecution of the powerless Jews was justified as a kind of divine payback for the Jewish rejection of Jesus. This heavenly stamp of approval would be invoked many times through the centuries, especially by those who had tried and failed to convince the Jews to acknowledge the superior truth of Christianity. The most famous case may be that of Martin Luther: at first extremely friendly toward Jews?as a young man he had complained about their mistreatment by the Church?Luther turned into one of their bitterest enemies as soon as he realized that his efforts to woo them to his new form of Christianity would never bear fruit.

Nor was this pattern unique to the Christian religion. Muhammad, too, had hoped to attract the Jewish communities of Arabia, and to this end he initially incorporated elements of Judaism into his new faith (directing prayer toward Jerusalem, fasting on Yom Kippur, and the like). When, however, the Jews refused to accept his code of law, Muhammad wheeled upon them with a vengeance, cursing them in words strikingly reminiscent of the early Church fathers: "Humiliation and wretchedness were stamped upon them, and they were visited with the wrath of Allah. That was because they disbelieved in Allah?s revelation and slew the prophets wrongfully."

IN THESE cases, too, we might ask whether the perception of Jewish rejectionism was accurate. Of course the Jews did not drain the blood of children, poison wells, attempt to mutilate the body of Christ, or commit any of the other wild crimes of which the Church accused them. Moreover, since many teachings of Christianity and Islam stemmed directly from Jewish ones, Jews could hardly be said to have denied them. But if rejecting the Christian or Islamic world meant rejecting the Christian or Islamic creed, then Jews who clung to their own separate faith and way of life were, certainly, rejectionist.

This brings us to an apparent point of difference between pre-modern and modern anti-Semitism. For many Jews over the course of two millennia, there was, in theory at least, a way out of institutionalized discrimination and persecution: the Greco-Roman, Christian, and Muslim worlds were only too happy to embrace converts to their way of life. In the modern era, this choice often proved illusory. Both assimilated and non-assimilated Jews, both religious and secular Jews, were equally victimized by pogroms, persecutions, and genocide. In fact, the terrors directed at the assimilated Jews of Western Europe have led some to conclude that far from ending anti-Semitism, assimilation actually contributed to arousing it.

What accounts for this? In the pre-modern world, Jews and Gentiles were largely in agreement as to what defined Jewish rejectionism, and therefore what would constitute a reprieve from it: it was mostly a matter of beliefs and moral concepts, and of the social behavior that flowed from them. In the modern world, although the question of whether a Jew ate the food or worshiped the God of his neighbors remained relevant, it was less relevant than before. Instead, the modern Jew was seen as being born into a Jewish nation or race whose collective values were deeply embedded in the very fabric of his being. Assimilation, with or without conversion to the majority faith, might succeed in masking this bedrock taint; it could not expunge it.

While such views were not entirely absent in earlier periods, the burden of proof faced by the modern Jew to convince others that he could transcend his "Jewishness" was much greater than the one faced by his forebears. Despite the increasing secularism and openness of European society, which should have smoothed the prospects of assimilation, many modern Jews would find it more difficult to become real Frenchmen or true Germans than their ancestors would have found it to become Greeks or Romans, Christians or Muslims.

The novelty of modern anti-Semitism is thus not that the Jews were seen as the enemies of mankind. Indeed, Hitler?s observation in Mein Kampf that "wherever I went, I began to see Jews, and the more I saw, the more sharply they became distinguished in my eyes from the rest of humanity" sounds no different from the one penned by Philostratus 1,700 years earlier. No, the novelty of modern anti-Semitism is only that it was far more difficult?and sometimes impossible?for the Jew to stop being an enemy of mankind.

ON CLOSER inspection, then, modern anti-Semitism begins to look quite continuous with pre-modern anti-Semitism, only worse. Modern Jews may not have believed they were rejecting the prevailing order around them, but that did not necessarily mean their enemies agreed with them. When it came to the Jews, indeed, European nationalism of the blood-and-soil variety only added another and even more murderous layer of hatred to the foundation built by age-old religious prejudice. Just as in the ancient world, the Jews in the modern world remained the other?inveterate rejectionists, no matter how separate, no matter how assimilated.

Was there any kernel of factual truth to this charge? It is demeaning to have to point out that, wherever and whenever they were given the chance, most modern Jews strove to become model citizens and showed, if anything, an exemplary talent for acculturation; the idea that by virtue of their birth, race, or religion they were implacable enemies of the state or nation was preposterous. So, too, with other modern libels directed against the Jews, which displayed about as much or as little truth content as ancient ones. The Jews did not and do not control the banks. They did not and do not control the media of communication. They did not and do not control governments. And they are not plotting to take over anything.

What some of them have indeed done, in various places and under specific circumstances, is to demonstrate?with an ardor and tenacity redolent perhaps of their long national experience?an attachment to great causes of one stripe or another, including, at times, the cause of their own people. This has had the effect (not everywhere, of course, but notably in highly stratified and/or intolerant societies) of putting them in a visibly adversary position to prevailing values or ideologies, and thereby awakening the never dormant dragon of anti-Semitism. Particularly instructive in this regard is the case of Soviet Jewry.

What makes the Soviet case instructive is, in no small measure, the fact that the professed purpose of Communism was to abolish all nations, peoples, and religions?those great engines of exclusion?on the road to the creation of a new world and a new man. As is well known, quite a few Jews, hoping to emancipate humanity and to "normalize" their own condition in the process, hitched their fates to this ideology and to the movements associated with it. After the Bolshevik revolution, these Jews proved to be among the most devoted servants of the Soviet regime.

Once again, however, the perception of ineradicable Jewish otherness proved as lethal as any reality. In the eyes of Stalin and his henchmen, the Jews, starting with the loyal Communists among them, were always suspect?"ideological immigrants," in the telling phrase. But the animosity went beyond Jewish Communists. The Soviet regime declared war on the over 100 nationalities and religions under its boot; whole peoples were deported, entire classes destroyed, millions starved to death, and tens of millions killed. Everybody suffered, not only Jews. But, decades later, long after Stalin?s repression had given way to Khrushchev?s "thaw," only one national language, Hebrew, was still banned in the Soviet Union; only one group, the Jews, was not permitted to establish schools for its children; only in the case of one group, the Jews, did the term "fifth line," referring to the space reserved for nationality on a Soviet citizen?s identification papers, become a code for licensed discrimination.

Clearly, then, Jews were suspect in the Soviet Union as were no other group. Try as they might to conform, it turned out that joining the mainstream of humanity through the medium of the great socialist cause in the East was no easier than joining the nation-state in the West. But that is not the whole story, either. To scant the rest of it is not only to do an injustice to Soviet Jews as historical actors in their own right but to miss something essential about anti-Semitism, which, even as it operates in accordance with its own twisted definitions and its own mad logic, proceeds almost always by reference to some genuine quality in its chosen victims.

As it happens, although Jews were disproportionately represented in the ranks of the early Bolsheviks, the majority of Russian Jews were far from being Bolsheviks, or even Bolshevik sympathizers. More importantly, Jews would also, in time, come to play a disproportionate role in Communism?s demise. In the middle of the 1960?s, by which time their overall share of the country?s population had dwindled dramatically, Soviet Jews made up a significant element in the "democratic opposition." A visitor to the Gulag in those years would have discovered that Jews were also prominent among political dissidents and those convicted of so-called "economic crimes." Even more revealing, in the 1970?s the Jews were the first to challenge the Soviet regime as a national group, and to do so publicly, en masse, with tens of thousands openly demanding to leave the totalitarian state.

To that degree, then, the claim of Soviet anti-Semites that "Jewish thoughts" and "Jewish values" were in opposition to prevailing norms was not entirely unfounded. And, to that degree, Soviet anti-Semitism partook of the essential characteristic of all anti-Semitism. This hardly makes its expression any the less monstrous; it merely, once again, takes it out of the realm of fantasy.

AND SO we arrive back at today, and at the hatred that takes as its focus the state of Israel. That state?the world?s Jew?has the distinction of challenging two separate political/moral orders simultaneously: the order of the Arab and Muslim Middle East, and the order that prevails in Western Europe. The Middle Eastern case is the easier to grasp; the Western European one may be the more ominous.

The values ascendant in today?s Middle East are shaped by two forces: Islamic fundamentalism and state authoritarianism. In the eyes of the former, any non-Muslim sovereign power in the region?for that matter, any secular Muslim power?is anathema. Particularly galling is Jewish sovereignty in an area delineated as dar al-Islam, the realm where Islam is destined to enjoy exclusive dominance. Such a violation cannot be compromised with; nothing will suffice but its extirpation.

In the eyes of the secular Arab regimes, the Jews of Israel are similarly an affront, but not so much on theological grounds as on account of the society they have built: free, productive, democratic, a living rebuke to the corrupt, autocratic regimes surrounding it. In short, the Jewish state is the ultimate freedom fighter?an embodiment of the subversive liberties that threaten Islamic civilization and autocratic Arab rule alike. It is for this reason that, in the state-controlled Arab media as in the mosques, Jews have been turned into a symbol of all that is menacing in the democratic, materialist West as a whole, and are confidently reputed to be the insidious force manipulating the United States into a confrontation with Islam.

The particular dynamic of anti-Semitism in the Middle East orbit today may help explain why?unlike, as we shall see, in Europe?there was no drop in the level of anti-Jewish incitement in the region after the inception of the Oslo peace process. Quite the contrary. And the reason is plain: to the degree that Oslo were to have succeeded in bringing about a real reconciliation with Israel or in facilitating the spread of political freedom, to that degree it would have frustrated the overarching aim of eradicating the Jewish "evil" from the heart of the Middle East and/or preserving the autocratic power of the Arab regimes.

And so, while in the 1990?s the democratic world, including the democratic society of Israel, was (deludedly, as it turned out) celebrating the promise of a new dawn in the Middle East, the schools in Gaza, the textbooks in Ramallah, the newspapers in Egypt, and the television channels in Saudi Arabia were projecting a truer picture of the state of feeling in the Arab world. It should come as no surprise that, in Egypt, pirated copies of Shimon Peres?s A New Middle East, a book heralding a messianic era of free markets and free ideas, were printed with an introduction in Arabic claiming that what this bible of Middle East peacemaking proved was the veracity of everything written in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion about a Jewish plot to rule the world.

As for Western Europe, there the reputation of Israel and of the Jews has undergone a number of ups and downs over the decades. Before 1967, the shadow of the Holocaust and the perception of Israel as a small state struggling for its existence in the face of Arab aggression combined to ensure, if not the favor of the European political classes, at least a certain dispensation from harsh criticism. But all this changed in June 1967, when the truncated Jewish state achieved a seemingly miraculous victory against its massed Arab enemies in the Six-Day war, and the erstwhile victim was overnight transformed into an aggressor. A possibly apocryphal story about Jean-Paul Sartre encapsulates the shift in the European mood. Before the war, as Israel lay diplomatically isolated and Arab leaders were already trumpeting its certain demise, the famous French philosopher signed a statement in support of the Jewish state. After the war, he reproached the man who had solicited his signature: "But you assured me they would lose."

Decades before "occupation" became a household word, the mood in European chancelleries and on the Left turned decidedly hostile. There were, to be sure, venal interests at stake, from the perceived need to curry favor with the oil-producing nations of the Arab world to, in later years, the perceived need to pander to the growing Muslim populations in Western Europe itself. But other currents were also at work, as anti-Western, anti-"imperialist," pacifist, and pro-liberationist sentiments, fanned and often subsidized by the USSR, took over the advanced political culture both of Europe and of international diplomacy. Behind the new hostility to Israel lay the new ideological orthodoxy, according to whose categories the Jewish state had emerged on the world scene as a certified "colonial" and "imperialist" power, a "hegemon," and an "oppressor."

Before 1967, anti-Zionist resolutions sponsored by the Arabs and their Soviet patrons in the United Nations garnered little or no support among the democracies. After 1967, more and more Western countries joined the chorus of castigation. By 1974, Yasir Arafat, whose organization openly embraced both terrorism and the destruction of a UN member state, was invited to address the General Assembly. The next year, that same body passed the infamous "Zionism-is-racism" resolution. In 1981, Israel?s strike against Iraq?s nuclear reactor was condemned by the entire world, including the United States.

Then, in the 1990?s, things began to change again. Despite the constant flow of biased UN resolutions, despite the continuing double standard, there were a number of positive developments as well: the Zionism-is-racism resolution was repealed, and over 65 member states either established or renewed diplomatic relations with Israel.

What had happened? Had Arab oil dried up? Had Muslims suddenly become a less potent political force on the European continent? Hardly. What changed was that, at Madrid and then at Oslo, Israel had agreed, first reluctantly and later with self-induced optimism, to conform to the ascendant ethos of international politics. Extending its hand to a terrorist organization still committed to its destruction, Israel agreed to the establishment of a dictatorial and repressive regime on its very doorstep, sustaining its commitment to the so-called peace process no matter how many innocent Jews were killed and wounded in its fraudulent name.

The rewards for thus conforming to the template of the world?s moralizers, cosmetic and temporary though they proved to be, flowed predictably not just to Israel but to the Jewish people as a whole. Sure enough, worldwide indices of anti-Semitismin the 1990?s dropped to their lowest point since the Holocaust. As the world?s Jews benefited from the increasing tolerance extended to the world?s Jew, Western organizations devoted to fighting the anti-Semitic scourge began cautiously to declare victory and to refocus their efforts on other parts of the Jewish communal agenda.

But of course it would not last. In the summer of 2000, at Camp David, Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians nearly everything their leadership was thought to be demanding. The offer was summarily rejected, Arafat started his "uprising," Israel undertook to defend itself?and Europe ceased to applaud. For many Jews at the time, this seemed utterly incomprehensible: had not Israel taken every last step for peace? But it was all too comprehensible. Europe was staying true to form; it was the world?s Jew, by refusing to accept its share of blame for the "cycle of violence," that was out of line. And so were the world?s Jews, who by definition, and whether they supported Israel or not, came rapidly to be associated with the Jewish state in its effrontery.

TO AMERICANS, the process I have been describing may sound eerily familiar. It should: Americans, too, have had numerous opportunities to see their nation in the dock of world opinion over recent years for the crime of rejecting the values of the so-called international community, and never more so than during the widespread hysteria that greeted President Bush?s announced plan to dismantle the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein. In dozens of countries, protesters streamed into the streets to voice their fury at this refusal of the United States to conform to what "everybody" knew to be required of it. To judge from the placards on display at these rallies, President Bush, the leader of the free world, was a worse enemy of mankind than the butcher of Baghdad.

At first glance, this too must have seemed incomprehensible. Saddam Hussein was one of the world?s most brutal dictators, a man who had gassed his own citizens, invaded his neighbors, defied Security Council resolutions, and was widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction. But no matter: the protests were less about Iraqi virtue than about American vice, and the grievances aired by the assorted anti-capitalists, anti-globalists, radical environmentalists, self-styled anti-imperialists, and many others who assembled to decry the war had little to do with the possible drawbacks of a military operation in Iraq. They had to do, rather, with a genuine clash of values.

Insofar as the clash is between the United States and Europe?there is a large "European" body of opinion within the United States as well?it has been well diagnosed by Robert Kagan in his best-selling book, Of Paradise and Power. For our purposes, it is sufficient to remark on how quickly the initial "why-do-they-hate-us" debate in the wake of September 11, focusing on anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, came to be overtaken by a "why-do-they-hate-us" debate centered on anti-American sentiment in "Old Europe." Generally, the two hatreds have been seen to emanate from divergent impulses, in the one case a perception of the threat posed by Western freedoms to Islamic civilization, in the other a perception of the threat posed by a self-confident and powerful America to the postmodern European idea of a world regulated not by force but by reason, compromise, and nonjudgmentalism. In today?s Europe?professedly pacifist, postnationalist, anti-hegemonic?an expression like "axis of evil" wins few friends, and the idea of actually confronting the axis of evil still fewer.

Despite the differences between them, however, anti-Americanism in the Islamic world and anti-Americanism in Europe are in fact linked, and both bear an uncanny resemblance to anti-Semitism. It is, after all, with some reason that the United States is loathed and feared by the despots and fundamentalists of the Islamic world as well as by many Europeans. Like Israel, but in a much more powerful way, America embodies a different?a non-conforming?idea of the good, and refuses to aban don its moral clarity about the objective worth of that idea or of the free habits and institutions to which it has given birth. To the contrary, in undertaking their war against the evil of terrorism, the American people have demonstrated their determination not only to fight to preserve the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity, but to carry them to regions of the world that have proved most resistant to their benign influence.

IN THIS, positive sense as well, Israel and the Jewish people share something essential with the United States. The Jews, after all, have long held that they were chosen to play a special role in history, to be what their prophets called "a light unto the nations." What precisely is meant by that phrase has always been a matter of debate, and I would be the last to deny the mischief that has sometimes been done, including to the best interests of the Jews, by some who have raised it as their banner. Nevertheless, over four millennia, the universal vision and moral precepts of the Jews have not only worked to secure the survival of the Jewish people themselves but have constituted a powerful force for good in the world, inspiring myriads to fight for the right even as in others they have aroused rivalry, enmity, and unappeasable resentment.

It is similar with the United States?a nation that has long regarded itself as entrusted with a mission to be what John Winthrop in the 17th century called a "city on a hill" and Ronald Reagan in the 20th parsed as a "shining city on a hill." What precisely is meant by that phrase is likewise a matter of debate, but Americans who see their country in such terms certainly regard the advance of American values as central to American purpose. And, though the United States is still a very young nation, there can be no disputing that those values have likewise constituted an immense force for good in the world?even as they have earned America the enmity and resentment of many.

In resolving to face down enmity and hatred, an important source of strength is the lesson to be gained from contemplating the example of others. From Socrates to Churchill to Sakharov, there have been individuals whose voices and whose personal heroism have reinforced in others the resolve to stand firm for the good. But history has also been generous enough to offer, in the Jews, the example of an ancient people fired by the message of human freedom under God and, in the Americans, the example of a modern people who over the past century alone, acting in fidelity with their inmost beliefs, have confronted and defeated the greatest tyrannies ever known to man.

Fortunately for America, and fortunately for the world, the United States has been blessed by providence with the power to match its ideals. The Jewish state, by contrast, is a tiny island in an exceedingly dangerous sea, and its citizens will need every particle of strength they can muster for the trials ahead. It is their own people?s astounding perseverance, despite centuries of suffering at the hands of faiths, ideologies, peoples, and individuals who have hated them and set out to do them in, that inspires one with confidence that the Jews will once again outlast their enemies.


NATAN SHARANSKY, the former Soviet dissident and political prisoner, now serves in the government of Israel as minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora affairs. This article draws in part on ideas presented at a conference on anti-Semitism in Paris in May and at the World Forum of the American Enterprise Institute in June. Mr. Sharansky thanks Ron Dermer for help in developing the arguments and in preparing the manuscript.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 10, 2003, 11:25:03 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Nov. 10, 2003

Al Qaeda operatives continued to expand the offensive that began in Iraq at the start of Ramadan. This time, the target was in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At the hour of this writing on Nov. 9, 11 people have been reported killed and 122 wounded in an attack on the Muhaya compound -- primarily housing non-Saudi Arabs. Reportedly, the attackers infiltrated the compound driving a police vehicle and dressed in Saudi security uniforms.

It's particularly interesting that a compound housing Americans or Europeans wasn't targeted. There are two possible explanations for this. First, security for such obvious targets has become so tight that mounting a successful operation has become too risky. Second, al Qaeda now regards itself in an all-out war with the Saudi government and is signaling other Arab nationals that continued collaboration with the Saudis is dangerous and should be terminated.

Both explanations are probably true, but on balance, we regard the second explanation as the most likely and significant. The Saudi government has begun aggressively attacking al Qaeda in the kingdom, thereby increasing collaboration with the United States. It has done so partly because it recognizes -- understanding the region well -- that current processes in Iraq likely will bring a Shiite government to power there. If Saudi Arabia opposes the United States, the royal family will face some very stiff historical winds. Resisting the rising Shiite tide and confronting the United States would not be easily survived. Accommodating the United States holds open the probability that the United States will limit Iranian expansionism. That isn't certain, but the Saudis know that if they don't make a serious down payment right now, they might not have an opportunity later. Hence, they have become substantially more aggressive toward al Qaeda.

This has set in motion two processes. First, there is a split within the
kingdom regarding the policy -- one that certainly cuts deep into the royal
family. Second, al Qaeda believes the Saudi royals have been hypocritical in their leadership -- saying the right things, but acting very differently. Now they can argue that the royals' true nature has been flushed out.

This means al Qaeda has a hard core of support in the kingdom, now that the opportunistic support of some of the royals has been forced to the other side. Al Qaeda needs to demonstrate that it can hit Saudi Arabia hard and as it chooses. It also must demonstrate to the rest of the Arab world that continued collaboration with the United States and Saudi Arabia itself will carry a heavy price.

The U.S. solution in Iraq and the complex relationship with the Shiites and
the Iranian government pose serious problems for al Qaeda in Iraq; but they also open opportunities for al Qaeda in the rest of the non-Shiite world. Al Qaeda can now argue that the issue is not solely the United States, nor the Christian-Hindu-Jewish alliance. Rather, the most fundamental threat is the internal enemy -- the Shias. Al Qaeda can exploit this very effectively, particularly in the Sunni Arab world -- where they delivered an important message Nov. 9.

It is interesting to note that this was the same day the Israeli Cabinet
authorized a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah. Too much should not be made of this. There are many obstacles to consummation and this, by itself, doesn't mean much. Nevertheless, Hezbollah is a creature of the Iranians and one of the outstanding questions has been the relationship between Iran and Israel under the new U.S.-Iran system of quiet collaboration. The pivot of that question is, of course, Hezbollah. Therefore, the evolution of the prisoner exchange program between Israel and Hezbollah is of great interest as part of the next steps.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 12, 2003, 06:15:33 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

12 November 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

The Iraq Dilemma: Frying Pan or Fire?


U.S. President George. W. Bush has hastily convened his war
council to decide strategies for the next phase of operations in Iraq. What first must be assessed are the nature, intent and capabilities of the Iraqi guerrilla forces. Imperfect
intelligence about this might force the Bush administration to
implement strategies based on worst-case-scenario assumptions.


A war council convened in Washington on Nov. 11, appropriately the same day as the U.S. Veteran's Day holiday. The war council clearly was not planned -- the U.S. administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer was hurriedly recalled to Washington. The White House meeting included all the major decision makers concerning U.S. strategic policy, including Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. All the players were at the table; President Bush was dealing the cards.

Clearly, the strategic situation in Iraq was the driving issue.
Major guerrilla activity remains concentrated in the Sunni
triangle, north and west of Baghdad. In that sense, the
guerrilla's position has not improved. However, coinciding with the advent of Ramadan, the Iraqi guerrillas intensified their tempo of operations substantially, but not decisively. That is to say, the guerrilla activity increased, but its strategic
significance did not. The guerrillas are far from capable of
compelling a U.S. retreat from Iraq by force of arms. Indeed,
they are incapable of seizing and holding any territory, as their allies in Afghanistan are capable.

The military situation is relatively stable and, from a strictly
military standpoint, tolerable. However, the political situation
of the United States is not. There, the inability of the Bush
administration to either forecast the guerrilla war or
demonstrate a war-termination strategy has weakened the
administration, although far from decisively.

The most severe political damage the guerrillas have done has been in the Islamic world. In Iraq, the United States wanted to demonstrate its enormous and decisive military power to impose a sense of hopelessness on radical Islamists who were arguing that American power and will were vastly overrated. Whatever the reality of the guerrilla campaign, the perception that has been created in the Islamic world is precisely the opposite of the one the United States desired. Rather than imposing "shock and awe,"
the inability to suppress the guerrillas has confirmed to
Islamists their core perception -- that the United States can
defeat conventional forces but cannot deal with paramilitary and guerrilla forces. Therefore, the United States can be defeated over time if Islamists are prepared to be patient and absorb casualties.

This is not the message that the administration wants to send either to the Islamists or to Iowa. The administration's
assumption going into the war was that the collapse of Iraq's
conventional forces coupled with the fall of Baghdad would
terminate organized resistance. There was a core failure in U.S. intelligence that seemed not to realize that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had a follow-on strategy that he apparently learned from the Taliban.

Contrary to U.S. perception (more the media's than the
military's), the United States did not defeat the Taliban in the
winter of 2001-2002. The Taliban declined conventional combat in front of Afghanistan's cities and instead withdrew, dispersed and shifted to guerrilla operations. Hussein, realizing that he did not have the ability to defeat or even engage the United States with conventional forces, prepared a follow-on strategy. He prepared the ground in the Sunni triangle for extended guerrilla war. He hid supplies, created a command structure and detailed forces for extended resistance. Joined by foreign Islamists early in the campaign and reinforced later, this organization has managed to maintain operations against U.S. occupation forces,
increasing the tempo of operations in late October.

Intelligence failures are inevitable in war, but this failure has
created a serious dilemma for Bush's war council. The Ramadan offensive and its political consequences force the administration to craft a response. Standing pat is no longer an option. But there is a range of responses that might be made and choosing among them requires a clear intelligence estimate. At this point, no single, clear intelligence estimate is available. What is more, given the intelligence failure concerning the guerrillas, it isn't clear if the president can choose his course based on the intelligence given him.

The intelligence failure had its roots in a fundamental weakness in U.S. Iraqi intelligence that goes back to 1990s failures. Those weaknesses could not have been corrected in the past six months or so. Therefore, the president cannot regard the best estimate available as authoritative. Indeed, past record aside, the U.S. intelligence community has not clearly understood the guerrillas' command structure, their size and composition or the resources they have available. This is not to say that tactical intelligence improvements have not been made. It seems to us that piecemeal insights have been achieved concerning the operations of individual guerrilla units. But the fact is, on the broadest level, that U.S. intelligence seemingly lacks a clear, strategic sense of the enemy.

As best as we can tell, the guerrillas appear to consist of a
main body of Iraqi military trained for this mission and uniquely loyal. Its size is uncertain, but it doesn't seem to be
recruiting volunteers into the main group, although it is using
volunteers and paying others to carry out specific tasks. If the main force were recruiting, then matters would be simplified for the U.S. -- recruitment would provide opportunities for planting agents inside the guerrilla force.

The guerrillas understand this, which increases their opacity.
What augmentation they receive is coming from Islamists from outside Iraq. These Islamists cannot simply operate independently because they do not know the terrain sufficiently, but many are experienced fighters from other Islamist wars. Therefore, they seem to serve as a sort of special force, training and carrying out special operations like suicide attacks. If we assume 30 organized attacks a day, that each group can carry out one attack every three days, and that each unit contains about 20 men (based on the size of U.S. unit captures), then there would appear to be a main force of roughly 1,800 people and a few hundred foreign

President Bush is now facing the classic problem of political
leaders in war. He must make military and political decisions
about Iraq based on his estimate of the situation, yet he cannot completely rely on the best estimate of his intelligence people. In general, there are three possible views of the Iraq situation.

1. The guerrillas have increased their operations on a permanent basis and this is a steady upward curve.

2. The guerrillas have temporarily surged their operations during Ramadan and it will return to lower levels in December.

3. The guerrillas are facing disaster and have launched a
desperation attack during Ramadan in a last ditch attempt to
unbalance the United States into a foolish action.

It's difficult to believe that the guerillas can continue to
increase the operational tempo indefinitely. This would require a substantial reserve force available in the villages -- already trained and recruited -- that could dramatically increase the size of the present force. This isn't really possible unless the guerrillas are willing to accept potential intelligence penetration by the United States. A large reserve cannot be discounted, but given the presence of U.S. forces throughout the region, some intelligence would have indicated this before now, unless the community were entirely sealed shut. We assume that primarily foreign recruits would augment the guerrilla force -- not an insignificant pool but not a quantum leap either, given
infiltration constraints.

We also tend to disbelieve that the guerrillas are facing
disaster and are engaged in an Islamic Hail Mary. There haven't been enough contacts between U.S. forces and guerrillas to significantly thin their ranks, nor have there been the mass defections that one would see if a force were in the process of disintegrating. Therefore, in our view, scenario three is unlikely.

That leaves scenario two -- a temporary surge. Unless our numbers are widely off base --and that is certainly a possibility -- it is difficult for us to imagine the guerrillas maintaining this operational tempo indefinitely. The campaign began with Ramadan. It has been more intense than what went before, but the intensity indicates a force working overtime, not a surprisingly larger force. Given the politics and symbolism, the surge in operations is certainly understandable. It would also indicate the probability of an explosive culmination at the end of Ramadan. But if we were to bet, we would bet that this is a temporary surge.

But we aren't the president -- it's easy for us to make bets. He is playing the game for real, while we have the luxury of no responsibility for the decision. If he cannot rely on U.S.
intelligence, he cannot rely on us. Under those circumstances, he is obligated to assume the worst-case scenario -- scenario one. That is, the Iraqi guerrillas have permanently increased their operational tempo and may well increase it more down the road.

If we are right, then his best course is to wait until early
December, and then, while the guerrillas regroup and rest, hit
them hard with an offensive. Then, turn to the Iraqi Governance Council and dictate the terms of a transfer of power to them. If we are wrong, and the guerrillas are gaining in strength, then waiting would be disastrous. The U.S. will never be given a clear shot at a counteroffensive; the guerrilla attacks would intensify and the U.S. political situation inside of Iraq would deteriorate. Under that scenario, the longer the U.S. waits, the harder it will be to get the IGC to cut a political deal.

Under any circumstance, the United States needs an indigenous force to bear the brunt of the fighting. The IGC has little real legitimacy in Iraq as an institution and less appetite for serving the U.S. cause -- particularly if military events appear to be moving against the United States. Therefore, the IGC seems unlikely to be prepared to solve the U.S. problem, even if it could, which is dubious in the extreme.

Hence, the war council. Bush must make a decision about what to believe is going on. Having been poorly served by intelligence, particularly the optimistic briefs he was given in April and May, it will be enormously difficult for him to go with scenario two and wait things out. However, he is also unlikely to gain the cooperation he is hoping for from the IGC, unless scenario two is the case. Therefore, the war council must consider the abysmal possibility that scenario one is in play and that the IGC will not be helpful.

If true, then there are components of the IGC that might be
valuable on their own -- namely, the Shiites. The Shiites are as opposed to the Sunni guerrillas as the United States. The last thing they want is Hussein's return or a Wahabi-influenced government in Baghdad. On the other hand, they are certainly not prepared to create an Iraqi army out of the Shiite community and hand it over to U.S. command. They are seeking a Shiite-dominated Iraq -- meaning one that excludes the U.S. from long-term presence as well. On the whole, their goal is an Islamic republic generally based on the Iranian Shiite model. It is the last thing the U.S. wanted in May, but, this is November and what the U.S. wants and what it can have are very different things.

It would seem to us that there are two strategies on the table:

1. Assume that scenario two is at work, wait until December and then deal with the IGC from a position of relative strength.

2. Assume that scenario one is at work and lock in a deal with the Shiites before the situation gets any worse and the Shiite -- and Iranian -- price gets any higher.

Each scenario carries substantial risks and no intelligence
guidance available is sufficiently authoritative. The temptation
to wait and hope for the best is strong, but a miscalculation
could lead to an impossible situation in which the Shiites have
the Americans by the throat while the guerrillas are hitting
other parts of the body. Paying the Shiite price now, if
unnecessary, creates a long-term problem -- the Shiites will be charging a high price for their services.

The administration has toyed with this Shiite-Iranian alignment for months now without coming to a definitive decision, constantly hoping that things would get better. Now, the choice is only between things remaining the same or getting worse. Given the intelligence problems, we suspect that Bush needs to work from the worst-case scenario. That means he will bypass the IGC and work directly with Shiite leaders to lock in a deal quickly.

And now it becomes a question of whether the Shiites are feeling lucky.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 13, 2003, 06:16:47 AM
A friend forwarded me the following:

Amir Taheri wrote a great little article about a book recently published by
one of al Qaeda's "deep thinkers".  If this is representative of how the
extremist Islamists think (which I think it is), it puts to rest all the
theories claiming that if we "change" our Foreign policy in some way or
another, and learn to become somehow more "accomodating", we would no longer be hated and attacked.

It would certainly appear that we are being hated and attacked NOT for what we DID, but for what we ARE.


by Amir Taheri


September 4, 2003

'IT is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is
American democracy." This is the message of a new book, just published by al Qaeda in several Arab countries.

The author of "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad" is Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates since the early '90s. A Saudi citizen also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad, he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in Riyadh last June.

The book is published by The Centre for Islamic Research and Studies, a
company set up by bin Laden in 1995 with branches in New York and London (now closed). Over the past eight years, it has published more than 40 books by al Qaeda "thinkers and researchers" including militants such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's No. 2.

Al-Ayyeri first made his name in the mid '90s as a commander of the Farouq camp in eastern Afghanistan, where al Qaeda and the Taliban trained thousands of "volunteers for martyrdom."

Al-Ayyeri argues that the history of mankind is the story of "perpetual war between belief and unbelief." Over the millennia, both have appeared in different guises. As far as belief is concerned, the absolutely final version is represented by Islam, which "annuls all other religions and creeds." Thus, Muslims can have only one goal: converting all humanity to Islam and "effacing the final traces of all other religions, creeds and ideologies."

Unbelief (kufr) has come in numerous forms and shapes, but with a single objective: to destroy faith in God. In the West, unbelief has succeeded in making a majority of people forget God and worship the world. Islam, however, is resisting the trend because Allah means to give it final victory.

Al-Ayyeri then shows how various forms of unbelief attacked the world of
Islam in the past century or so, to be defeated in one way or another.

The first form of unbelief to attack was "modernism" (hidatha), which led to the caliphate's destruction and the emergence in the lands of Islam of
states based on ethnic identities and territorial dimensions rather than
religious faith.

The second was nationalism, which, imported from Europe, divided Muslims into Arabs, Persians, Turks and others. Al-Ayyeri claims that nationalism has now been crushed in almost all Muslim lands. He claims that a true Muslim is not loyal to any particular nation-state.

The third form of unbelief is socialism, which includes communism. That,
too, has been defeated and eliminated from the Muslim world, Al-Ayyeri
asserts. He presents Ba'athism, the Iraqi ruling party's ideology under
Saddam Hussein, as the fourth form of unbelief to afflict Muslims,
especially Arabs. Ba'athism (also the official ideology of the Syrian
regime) offers Arabs a mixture of pan-Arabism and socialism as an
alternative to Islam. Al-Ayyeri says Muslims "should welcome the destruction of Ba'athism in Iraq."

"The end of Ba'ath rule in Iraq is good for Islam and Muslims," he writes.
"Where the banner of Ba'ath has fallen, shall rise the banner of Islam."

The author notes as "a paradox" the fact that all the various forms of
unbelief that threatened Islam were defeated with the help of the Western powers, and more specifically the United States.

The "modernizing" movement in the Muslim world was ultimately discredited when European imperial powers forced their domination on Muslim lands, turning the Westernized elite into their "hired lackeys." The nationalists were defeated and discredited in wars led against them by various Western powers or, in the case of Nasserism in Egypt, by Israel.

The West also gave a hand in defeating socialism and communism in the Muslim world. The most dramatic example of this came when America helped the Afghan mujaheeden destroy the Soviet-backed communist regime in Kabul. And now the United States and its British allies have destroyed Ba'athism in Iraq and may have fatally undermined it in Syria as well.

What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a "clean battlefield" in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels "secularist democracy." This threat is "far more dangerous to Islam" than all its predecessors combined. The
reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's
"seductive capacities."

This form of "unbelief" persuades the people that they are in charge of
their destiny and that, using their collective reasoning, they can shape
policies and pass laws as they see fit. That leads them into ignoring the
"unalterable laws" promulgated by God for the whole of mankind, and codified in the Islamic shariah (jurisprudence) until the end of time.

The goal of democracy, according to Al-Ayyeri, is to "make Muslims love this world, forget the next world and abandon jihad." If established in any
Muslim country for a reasonably long time, democracy could lead to economic prosperity, which, in turn, would make Muslims "reluctant to die in martyrdom" in defense of their faith.

He says that it is vital to prevent any normalization and stabilization in
Iraq. Muslim militants should make sure that the United States does not
succeed in holding elections in Iraq and creating a democratic government. "If democracy comes to Iraq, the next target [for democratization] would be the whole of the Muslim world," Al-Ayyeri writes.

The al Qaeda ideologist claims that the only Muslim country already affected by "the beginning of democratization" and thus in "mortal danger" is Turkey.

"Do we want what happened in Turkey to happen to all Muslim countries?" he asks. "Do we want Muslims to refuse taking part in jihad and submit to secularism, which is a Zionist-Crusader concoction?"

Al-Ayyeri says Iraq would become the graveyard of secular democracy, just as Afghanistan became the graveyard of communism. The idea is that the Americans, faced with mounting casualties in Iraq, will "just run away," as did the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is because the Americans love this world and are concerned about nothing but their own comfort, while Muslims dream of the pleasures that martyrdom offers in paradise.

"In Iraq today, there are only two sides," Al-Ayyeri asserts. "Here we have a clash of two visions of the world and the future of mankind. The side prepared to accept more sacrifices will win."

Al-Ayyeri's analysis may sound naive; he also gets most of his facts wrong. But he is right in reminding the world that what happens in Iraq could affect other Arab countries - in fact, the whole of the Muslim world.


The Philosopher of Islamic Terror (Part I)
March 23, 2003

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, many people anticipated a quick and satisfying American victory over Al Qaeda. The terrorist army was thought to be no bigger than a pirate ship, and the newly vigilant police forces of the entire world were going to sink the ship with swift arrests and dark maneuvers. Al Qaeda was driven from its bases in Afghanistan. Arrests and maneuvers duly occurred and are still occurring. Just this month, one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants was nabbed in Pakistan. Police agents, as I write, seem to be hot on the trail of bin Laden himself, or so reports suggest.

Yet Al Qaeda has seemed unfazed. Its popularity, which was hard to imagine at first, has turned out to be large and genuine in more than a few countries. Al Qaeda upholds a paranoid and apocalyptic worldview, according to which ''Crusaders and Zionists'' have been conspiring for centuries to destroy Islam. And this worldview turns out to be widely accepted in many places -- a worldview that allowed many millions of people to regard the Sept. 11 attacks as an Israeli conspiracy, or perhaps a C.I.A. conspiracy, to undo Islam. Bin Laden's soulful, bearded face peers out from T-shirts and posters in a number of countries, quite as if he were the new Che Guevara, the mythic righter of cosmic wrongs.

The vigilant police in many countries, applying themselves at last, have raided a number of Muslim charities and Islamic banks, which stand accused of subsidizing the terrorists. These raids have advanced the war on still another front, which has been good to see. But the raids have also shown that Al Qaeda is not only popular; it is also institutionally solid, with a worldwide network of clandestine resources. This is not the Symbionese Liberation Army. This is an organization with ties to the ruling elites in a number of countries; an organization that, were it given the chance to strike up an alliance with Saddam Hussein's Baath movement, would be doubly terrifying; an organization that, in any case, will surely survive the outcome in Iraq.

To anyone who has looked closely enough, Al Qaeda and its sister organizations plainly enjoy yet another strength, arguably the greatest strength of all, something truly imposing -- though in the Western press this final strength has received very little attention. Bin Laden is a Saudi plutocrat with Yemeni ancestors, and most of the suicide warriors of Sept. 11 were likewise Saudis, and the provenance of those people has focused everyone's attention on the Arabian peninsula. But Al Qaeda has broader roots. The organization was created in the late 1980's by an affiliation of three armed factions -- bin Laden's circle of ''Afghan'' Arabs, together with two factions from Egypt, the Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the latter led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's top theoretician. The Egyptian factions emerged from an older current, a school of thought from within Egypt's fundamentalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1950's and 60's. And at the heart of that single school of thought stood, until his execution in 1966, a philosopher named Sayyid Qutb -- the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda, their Karl Marx (to put it that way), their guide.

Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) wrote a book called ''Milestones,'' and that book was cited at his trial, which gave it immense publicity, especially after its author was hanged. ''Milestones'' became a classic manifesto of the terrorist wing of Islamic fundamentalism. A number of journalists have dutifully turned the pages of ''Milestones,'' trying to decipher the otherwise inscrutable terrorist point of view.

I have been reading some of Qutb's other books, and I think that ''Milestones'' may have misled the journalists. ''Milestones'' is a fairly shallow book, judged in isolation. But ''Milestones'' was drawn from his vast commentary on the Koran called ''In the Shade of the Qur'an.'' One of the many volumes of this giant work was translated into English in the 1970's and published by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, an organization later widely suspected of participation in terrorist attacks -- and an organization whose Washington office was run by a brother of bin Laden's. In the last four years a big effort has been mounted by another organization, the Islamic Foundation in England, to bring out the rest, in what will eventually be an edition of 15 fat English-language volumes, handsomely ornamented with Arabic script from the Koran. Just in these past few weeks a number of new volumes in this edition have made their way into the Arab bookshops of Brooklyn, and I have gobbled them up. By now I have made my way through a little less than half of ''In the Shade of the Qur'an,'' which I think is all that exists so far in English, together with three other books by Qutb. And I have something to report.

Qutb is not shallow. Qutb is deep. ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' is, in its fashion, a masterwork. Al Qaeda and its sister organizations are not merely popular, wealthy, global, well connected and institutionally sophisticated. These groups stand on a set of ideas too, and some of those ideas may be pathological, which is an old story in modern politics; yet even so, the ideas are powerful. We should have known that, of course. But we should have known many things.

Qutb's special ability as a writer came from the fact that, as a young boy, he received a traditional Muslim education -- he committed the Koran to memory by the age of 10 -- yet he went on, at a college in Cairo, to receive a modern, secular education. He was born in 1906, and in the 1920's and 30's he took up socialism and literature. He wrote novels, poems and a book that is still said to be well regarded called ''Literary Criticism: Its Principles and Methodology.'' His writings reflected -- here I quote one of his admirers and translators, Hamid Algar of the University of California at Berkeley -- a ''Western-tinged outlook on cultural and literary questions.'' Qutb displayed ''traces of individualism and existentialism.'' He even traveled to the United States in the late 1940's, enrolled at the Colorado State College of Education and earned a master's degree. In some of the accounts of Qutb's life, this trip to America is pictured as a ghastly trauma, mostly because of America's sexual freedoms, which sent him reeling back to Egypt in a mood of hatred and fear.

I am skeptical of that interpretation, though. His book from the 1940's, ''Social Justice and Islam,'' shows that, even before his voyage to America, he was pretty well set in his Islamic fundamentalism. It is true that, after his return to Egypt, he veered into ever more radical directions. But in the early 1950's, everyone in Egypt was veering in radical directions. Gamal Abdel Nasser and a group of nationalist army officers overthrew the old king in 1952 and launched a nationalist revolution on Pan-Arabist grounds. And, as the Pan-Arabists went about promoting their revolution, Sayyid Qutb went about promoting his own, somewhat different revolution. His idea was ''Islamist.'' He wanted to turn Islam into a political movement to create a new society, to be based on ancient Koranic principles. Qutb joined the Muslim Brotherhood, became the editor of its journal and established himself right away as Islamism's principal theoretician in the Arab world.

The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists tried to cooperate with one another in Egypt in those days, and there was some basis for doing so. Both movements dreamed of rescuing the Arab world from the legacies of European imperialism. Both groups dreamed of crushing Zionism and the brand-new Jewish state. Both groups dreamed of fashioning a new kind of modernity, which was not going to be liberal and freethinking in the Western style but, even so, was going to be up-to-date on economic and scientific issues. And both movements dreamed of doing all this by returning in some fashion to the glories of the Arab past. Both movements wanted to resurrect, in a modern version, the ancient Islamic caliphate of the seventh century, when the Arabs were conquering the world.

The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists could be compared, in these ambitions, with the Italian Fascists of Mussolini's time, who wanted to resurrect the Roman Empire, and to the Nazis, who likewise wanted to resurrect ancient Rome, except in a German version. The most radical of the Pan-Arabists openly admired the Nazis and pictured their proposed new caliphate as a racial victory of the Arabs over all other ethnic groups. Qutb and the Islamists, by way of contrast, pictured the resurrected caliphate as a theocracy, strictly enforcing shariah, the legal code of the Koran. The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists had their similarities then, and their differences. (And today those two movements still have their similarities and differences -- as shown by bin Laden's Qaeda, which represents the most violent wing of Islamism, and Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which represents the most violent wing of Pan-Arabism.)

In 1952, in the days before staging his coup d'etat, Colonel Nasser is said to have paid a visit to Qutb at his home, presumably to get his backing. Some people expected that, after taking power, Nasser would appoint Qutb to be the new revolutionary minister of education. But once the Pan-Arabists had thrown out the old king, the differences between the two movements began to overwhelm the similarities, and Qutb was not appointed. Instead, Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, and after someone tried to assassinate him, he blamed the Brotherhood and cracked down even harder. Some of the Muslim Brotherhood's most distinguished intellectuals and theologians escaped into exile. Sayyid Qutb's brother, Muhammad Qutb, was one of those people. He fled to Saudi Arabia and ended up as a distinguished Saudi professor of Islamic Studies. Many years later, Osama bin Laden would be one of Muhammad Qutb's students.

But Sayyid Qutb stayed put and paid dearly for his stubbornness. Nasser jailed him in 1954, briefly released him, jailed him again for 10 years, released him for a few months and finally hanged him in 1966. Conditions during the first years of prison were especially bad. Qutb was tortured. Even in better times, according to his followers, he was locked in a ward with 40 people, most of them criminals, with a tape recorder broadcasting the speeches of Nasser 20 hours a day. Still, by smuggling papers in and out of jail, he managed to continue with his writings, no longer in the ''Western tinged'' vein of his early, literary days but now as a full-fledged Islamist revolutionary. And somehow, he produced his ''In the Shade of the Qur'an,'' this gigantic study, which must surely count as one of the most remarkable works of prison literature ever produced.

Readers without a Muslim education who try to make their way unaided through the Koran tend to find it, as I have, a little dry and forbidding. But Qutb's commentaries are not at all like that. He quotes passages from the chapters, or suras, of the Koran, and he pores over the quoted passages, observing the prosodic qualities of the text, the rhythm, tone and musicality of the words, sometimes the images. The suras lead him to discuss dietary regulations, the proper direction to pray, the rules of divorce, the question of when a man may propose marriage to a widow (four months and 10 days after the death of her husband, unless she is pregnant, in which case after delivery), the rules concerning a Muslim man who wishes to marry a Christian or a Jew (very complicated), the obligations of charity, the punishment for crimes and for breaking your word, the prohibition on liquor and intoxicants, the proper clothing to wear, the rules on usury, moneylending and a thousand other themes.

The Koran tells stories, and Qutb recounts some of these and remarks on their wisdom and significance. His tone is always lucid and plain. Yet the total effect of his writing is almost sensual in its measured pace. The very title ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' conveys a vivid desert image, as if the Koran were a leafy palm tree, and we have only to open Qutb's pages to escape the hot sun and refresh ourselves in the shade. As he makes his way through the suras and proposes his other commentaries, he slowly constructs an enormous theological criticism of modern life, and not just in Egypt.

Qutb wrote that, all over the world, humans had reached a moment of unbearable crisis. The human race had lost touch with human nature. Man's inspiration, intelligence and morality were degenerating. Sexual relations were deteriorating ''to a level lower than the beasts.'' Man was miserable, anxious and skeptical, sinking into idiocy, insanity and crime. People were turning, in their unhappiness, to drugs, alcohol and existentialism. Qutb admired economic productivity and scientific knowledge. But he did not think that wealth and science were rescuing the human race. He figured that, on the contrary, the richest countries were the unhappiest of all. And what was the cause of this unhappiness -- this wretched split between man's truest nature and modern life?

A great many cultural critics in Europe and America asked this question in the middle years of the 20th century, and a great many of them, following Nietzsche and other philosophers, pointed to the origins of Western civilization in ancient Greece, where man was said to have made his fatal error. This error was philosophical. It consisted of placing an arrogant and deluded faith in the power of human reason -- an arrogant faith that, after many centuries, had created in modern times a tyranny of technology over life.

Qutb shared that analysis, somewhat. Only instead of locating the error in ancient Greece, he located it in ancient Jerusalem. In the Muslim fashion, Qutb looked on the teachings of Judaism as being divinely revealed by God to Moses and the other prophets. Judaism instructed man to worship one God and to forswear all others. Judaism instructed man on how to behave in every sphere of life -- how to live a worldly existence that was also a life at one with God. This could be done by obeying a system of divinely mandated laws, the code of Moses. In Qutb's view, however, Judaism withered into what he called ''a system of rigid and lifeless ritual.''

God sent another prophet, though. That prophet, in Qutb's Muslim way of thinking, was Jesus, who proposed a few useful reforms -- lifting some no-longer necessary restrictions in the Jewish dietary code, for example -- and also an admirable new spirituality. But something terrible occurred. The relation between Jesus' followers and the Jews took, in Qutb's view, ''a deplorable course.'' Jesus' followers squabbled with the old-line Jews, and amid the mutual recriminations, Jesus' message ended up being diluted and even perverted. Jesus' disciples and followers were persecuted, which meant that, in their sufferings, the disciples were never able to provide an adequate or systematic exposition of Jesus' message.

Who but Sayyid Qutb, from his miserable prison in Nasser's Egypt, could have zeroed in so plausibly on the difficulties encountered by Jesus' disciples in getting out the word? Qutb figured that, as a result, the Christian Gospels were badly garbled, and should not be regarded as accurate or reliable. The Gospels declared Jesus to be divine, but in Qutb's Muslim account, Jesus was a mere human -- a prophet of God, not a messiah. The larger catastrophe, however, was this: Jesus' disciples, owing to what Qutb called ''this unpleasant separation of the two parties,'' went too far in rejecting the Jewish teachings.

Jesus' disciples and followers, the Christians, emphasized Jesus' divine message of spirituality and love. But they rejected Judaism's legal system, the code of Moses, which regulated every jot and tittle of daily life. Instead, the early Christians imported into Christianity the philosophy of the Greeks -- the belief in a spiritual existence completely separate from physical life, a zone of pure spirit.


The Philosopher of Islamic Terror (Part II)

In the fourth century of the Christian era, Emperor Constantine converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. But Constantine, in Qutb's interpretation, did this in a spirit of pagan hypocrisy, dominated by scenes of wantonness, half-naked girls, gems and precious metals. Christianity, having abandoned the Mosaic code, could put up no defense. And so, in their horror at Roman morals, the Christians did as best they could and countered the imperial debaucheries with a cult of monastic asceticism.

But this was no good at all. Monastic asceticism stands at odds with the physical quality of human nature. In this manner, in Qutb's view, Christianity lost touch with the physical world. The old code of Moses, with its laws for diet, dress, marriage, sex and everything else, had enfolded the divine and the worldly into a single concept, which was the worship of God. But Christianity divided these things into two, the sacred and the secular. Christianity said, ''Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's.'' Christianity put the physical world in one corner and the spiritual world in another corner: Constantine's debauches over here, monastic renunciation over there. In Qutb's view there was a ''hideous schizophrenia'' in this approach to life. And things got worse.

A series of Christian religious councils adopted what Qutb thought to be irrational principles on Christianity's behalf -- principles regarding the nature of Jesus, the Eucharist, transubstantiation and other questions, all of which were, in Qutb's view, ''absolutely incomprehensible, inconceivable and incredible.'' Church teachings froze the irrational principles into dogma. And then the ultimate crisis struck.

Qutb's story now shifts to Arabia. In the seventh century, God delivered a new revelation to his prophet Muhammad, who established the correct, nondistorted relation to human nature that had always eluded the Christians. Muhammad dictated a strict new legal code, which put religion once more at ease in the physical world, except in a better way than ever before. Muhammad's prophecies, in the Koran, instructed man to be God's ''vice regent'' on earth -- to take charge of the physical world, and not simply to see it as something alien to spirituality or as a way station on the road to a Christian afterlife. Muslim scientists in the Middle Ages took this instruction seriously and went about inquiring into the nature of physical reality. And, in the Islamic universities of Andalusia and the East, the Muslim scientists, deepening their inquiry, hit upon the inductive or scientific method -- which opened the door to all further scientific and technological progress. In this and many other ways, Islam seized the leadership of mankind. Unfortunately, the Muslims came under attack from Crusaders, Mongols and other enemies. And, because the Muslims proved not faithful enough to Muhammad's revelations, they were unable to fend off these attacks. They were unable to capitalize on their brilliant discovery of the scientific method.

The Muslim discoveries were exported instead into Christian Europe. And there, in Europe in the 16th century, Islam's scientific method began to generate results, and modern science emerged. But Christianity, with its insistence on putting the physical world and the spiritual world in different corners, could not cope with scientific progress. And so Christianity's inability to acknowledge or respect the physical quality of daily life spread into the realm of culture and shaped society's attitude toward science.

As Qutb saw it, Europeans, under Christianity's influence, began to picture God on one side and science on the other. Religion over here; intellectual inquiry over there. On one side, the natural human yearning for God and for a divinely ordered life; on the other side, the natural human desire for knowledge of the physical universe. The church against science; the scientists against the church. Everything that Islam knew to be one, the Christian Church divided into two. And, under these terrible pressures, the European mind split finally asunder. The break became total. Christianity, over here; atheism, over there. It was the fateful divorce between the sacred and the secular.

Europe's scientific and technical achievements allowed the Europeans to dominate the world. And the Europeans inflicted their ''hideous schizophrenia'' on peoples and cultures in every corner of the globe. That was the origin of modern misery -- the anxiety in contemporary society, the sense of drift, the purposelessness, the craving for false pleasures. The crisis of modern life was felt by every thinking person in the Christian West. But then again, Europe's leadership of mankind inflicted that crisis on every thinking person in the Muslim world as well. Here Qutb was on to something original. The Christians of the West underwent the crisis of modern life as a consequence, he thought, of their own theological tradition -- a result of nearly 2,000 years of ecclesiastical error. But in Qutb's account, the Muslims had to undergo that same experience because it had been imposed on them by Christians from abroad, which could only make the experience doubly painful -- an alienation that was also a humiliation.

That was Qutb's analysis. In writing about modern life, he put his finger on something that every thinking person can recognize, if only vaguely -- the feeling that human nature and modern life are somehow at odds. But Qutb evoked this feeling in a specifically Muslim fashion. It is easy to imagine that, in expounding on these themes back in the 1950's and 60's, Qutb had already identified the kind of personal agony that Mohamed Atta and the suicide warriors of Sept. 11 must have experienced in our own time. It was the agony of inhabiting a modern world of liberal ideas and achievements while feeling that true life exists somewhere else. It was the agony of walking down a modern sidewalk while dreaming of a different universe altogether, located in the Koranic past -- the agony of being pulled this way and that. The present, the past. The secular, the sacred. The freely chosen, the religiously mandated -- a life of confusion unto madness brought on, Qutb ventured, by Christian error.

Sitting in a wretched Egyptian prison, surrounded by criminals and composing his Koranic commentaries with Nasser's speeches blaring in the background on the infuriating tape recorder, Qutb knew whom to blame. He blamed the early Christians. He blamed Christianity's modern legacy, which was the liberal idea that religion should stay in one corner and secular life in another corner. He blamed the Jews. In his interpretation, the Jews had shown themselves to be eternally ungrateful to God. Early in their history, during their Egyptian captivity (Qutb thought he knew a thing or two about Egyptian captivity), the Jews acquired a slavish character, he believed. As a result they became craven and unprincipled when powerless, and vicious and arrogant when powerful. And these traits were eternal. The Jews occupy huge portions of Qutb's Koranic commentary -- their perfidy, greed, hatefulness, diabolical impulses, never-ending conspiracies and plots against Muhammad and Islam. Qutb was relentless on these themes. He looked on Zionism as part of the eternal campaign by the Jews to destroy Islam.

And Qutb blamed one other party. He blamed the Muslims who had gone along with Christianity's errors -- the treacherous Muslims who had inflicted Christianity's ''schizophrenia'' on the world of Islam. And, because he was willing to blame, Qutb was able to recommend a course of action too -- a revolutionary program that was going to relieve the psychological pressure of modern life and was going to put man at ease with the natural world and with God.

Qutb's analysis was soulful and heartfelt. It was a theological analysis, but in its cultural emphases, it reflected the style of 20th-century philosophy. The analysis asked some genuinely perplexing questions -- about the division between mind and body in Western thought; about the difficulties in striking a balance between sensual experience and spiritual elevation; about the steely impersonality of modern power and technological innovation; about social injustice. But, though Qutb plainly followed some main trends of 20th-century Western social criticism and philosophy, he poured his ideas through a filter of Koranic commentary, and the filter gave his commentary a grainy new texture, authentically Muslim, which allowed him to make a series of points that no Western thinker was likely to propose.

One of those points had to do with women's role in society -- and these passages in his writings have been misinterpreted, I think, in some of the Western commentaries on Qutb. His attitude was prudish in the extreme, judged from a Western perspective of today. But prudishness was not his motivation. He understood quite clearly that, in a liberal society, women were free to consult their own hearts and to pursue careers in quest of material wealth. But from his point of view, this could only mean that women had shucked their responsibility to shape the human character, through child-rearing. The Western notion of women's freedom could only mean that God and the natural order of life had been set aside in favor of a belief in other sources of authority, like one's own heart.

But what did it mean to recognize the existence of more than one source of authority? It meant paganism -- a backward step, into the heathen primitivism of the past. It meant life without reference to God -- a life with no prospect of being satisfactory or fulfilling. And why had the liberal societies of the West lost sight of the natural harmony of gender roles and of women's place in the family and the home? This was because of the ''hideous schizophrenia'' of modern life -- the Western outlook that led people to picture God's domain in one place and the ordinary business of daily life in some other place.

Qutb wrote bitterly about European imperialism, which he regarded as nothing more than a continuation of the medieval Crusades against Islam. He denounced American foreign policy. He complained about America's decision in the time of Harry Truman to support the Zionists, a strange decision that he attributed, in part, to America's loss of moral values. But I must point out that, in Qutb's writings, at least in the many volumes that I have read, the complaints about American policy are relatively few and fleeting. International politics was simply not his main concern. Sometimes he complained about the hypocrisy in America's endless boasts about freedom and democracy. He mentioned America's extermination of its Indian population. He noted the racial prejudice against blacks. But those were not Qutb's themes, finally. American hypocrisy exercised him, but only slightly. His deepest quarrel was not with America's failure to uphold its principles. His quarrel was with the principles. He opposed the United States because it was a liberal society, not because the United States failed to be a liberal society.

The truly dangerous element in American life, in his estimation, was not capitalism or foreign policy or racism or the unfortunate cult of women's independence. The truly dangerous element lay in America's separation of church and state -- the modern political legacy of Christianity's ancient division between the sacred and the secular. This was not a political criticism. This was theological -- though Qutb, or perhaps his translators, preferred the word ''ideological.''

The conflict between the Western liberal countries and the world of Islam, he explained, ''remains in essence one of ideology, although over the years it has appeared in various guises and has grown more sophisticated and, at times, more insidious.'' The sophisticated and insidious disguises tended to be worldly -- a camouflage that was intended to make the conflict appear to be economic, political or military, and that was intended to make Muslims like himself who insisted on speaking about religion appear to be, in his words, ''fanatics'' and ''backward people.''

''But in reality,'' he explained, ''the confrontation is not over control of territory or economic resources, or for military domination. If we believed that, we would play into our enemies' hands and would have no one but ourselves to blame for the consequences.''

The true confrontation, the deepest confrontation of all, was over Islam and nothing but Islam. Religion was the issue. Qutb could hardly be clearer on this topic. The confrontation arose from the effort by Crusaders and world Zionism to annihilate Islam. The Crusaders and Zionists knew that Christianity and Judaism were inferior to Islam and had led to lives of misery. They needed to annihilate Islam in order to rescue their own doctrines from extinction. And so the Crusaders and Zionists went on the attack.

But this attack was not, at bottom, military. At least Qutb did not devote his energies to warning against such a danger. Nor did he spend much time worrying about the ins and outs of Israel's struggle with the Palestinians. Border disputes did not concern him. He was focused on something cosmically larger. He worried, instead, that people with liberal ideas were mounting a gigantic campaign against Islam -- ''an effort to confine Islam to the emotional and ritual circles, and to bar it from participating in the activity of life, and to check its complete predominance over every human secular activity, a pre-eminence it earns by virtue of its nature and function.''

He trembled with rage at that effort. And he cited good historical evidence for his trembling rage. Turkey, an authentic Muslim country, had embraced secular ideas back in 1924. Turkey's revolutionary leader at that time, Kemal Ataturk, abolished the institutional remnants of the ancient caliphate -- the caliphate that Qutb so fervently wanted to resurrect. The Turks in this fashion had tried to abolish the very idea and memory of an Islamic state. Qutb worried that, if secular reformers in other Muslim countries had any success, Islam was going to be pushed into a corner, separate from the state. True Islam was going to end up as partial Islam. But partial Islam, in his view, did not exist.

The secular reformers were already at work, throughout the Muslim world. They were mounting their offensive -- ''a final offensive which is actually taking place now in all the Muslim countries. . . . It is an effort to exterminate this religion as even a basic creed and to replace it with secular conceptions having their own implications, values, institutions and organizations.''

''To exterminate'' -- that was Qutb's phrase. Hysteria cried out from every syllable. But he did not want to be hysterical. He wanted to respond. How?

That one question dominated Qutb's life. It was a theological question, and he answered it with his volumes on the Koran. But he intended his theology to be practical too -- to offer a revolutionary program to save mankind. The first step was to open people's eyes. He wanted Muslims to recognize the nature of the danger -- to recognize that Islam had come under assault from outside the Muslim world and also from inside the Muslim world. The assault from outside was led by Crusaders and world Zionism (though sometimes he also mentioned Communism).

But the assault from inside was conducted by Muslims themselves -- that is, by people who called themselves Muslims but who polluted the Muslim world with incompatible ideas derived from elsewhere. These several enemies, internal and external, the false Muslims together with the Crusaders and Zionists, ruled the earth. But Qutb considered that Islam's strength was, even so, huger yet. ''We are certain,'' he wrote, ''that this religion of Islam is so intrinsically genuine, so colossal and deeply rooted that all such efforts and brutal concussions will avail nothing.''

Islam's apparent weakness was mere appearance. Islam's true champions seemed to be few, but numbers meant nothing. The few had to gather themselves together into what Qutb in ''Milestones'' called a vanguard -- a term that he must have borrowed from Lenin, though Qutb had in mind a tiny group animated by the spirit of Muhammad and his Companions from the dawn of Islam. This vanguard of true Muslims was going to undertake the renovation of Islam and of civilization all over the world. The vanguard was going to turn against the false Muslims and ''hypocrites'' and do as Muhammad had done, which was to found a new state, based on the Koran. And from there, the vanguard was going to resurrect the caliphate and take Islam to all the world, just as Muhammad had done.

Qutb's vanguard was going to reinstate shariah, the Muslim code, as the legal code for all of society. Shariah implied some fairly severe rules. Qutb cited the Koran on the punishments for killing or wounding: ''a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear.'' Fornication, too, was a serious crime because, in his words, ''it involves an attack on honor and a contempt for sanctity and an encouragement of profligacy in society.'' Shariah specified the punishments here as well. ''The penalty for this must be severe; for married men and women it is stoning to death; for unmarried men and women it is flogging, a hundred lashes, which in cases is fatal.'' False accusations were likewise serious. ''A punishment of 80 lashes is fixed for those who falsely accuse chaste women.'' As for those who threaten the general security of society, their punishment is to be put to death, to be crucified, to have their hands and feet cut off, or to be banished from the country.''

But Qutb refused to regard these punishments as barbarous or primitive. Shariah, in his view, meant liberation. Other societies, drawing on non-Koranic principles, forced people to obey haughty masters and man-made law. Those other societies forced people to worship their own rulers and to do as the rulers said -- even if the rulers were democratically chosen. Under shariah, no one was going to be forced to obey mere humans. Shariah, in Qutb's view, meant ''the abolition of man-made laws.'' In the resurrected caliphate, every person was going to be ''free from servitude to others.'' The true Islamic system meant ''the complete and true freedom of every person and the full dignity of every individual of the society. On the other hand, in a society in which some people are lords who legislate and some others are slaves who obey, then there is no freedom in the real sense, nor dignity for each and every individual.''

He insisted that shariah meant freedom of conscience -- though freedom of conscience, in his interpretation, meant freedom from false doctrines that failed to recognize God, freedom from the modern schizophrenia. Shariah, in a word, was utopia for Sayyid Qutb. It was perfection. It was the natural order in the universal. It was freedom, justice, humanity and divinity in a single system. It was a vision as grand or grander than Communism or any of the other totalitarian doctrines of the 20th century. It was, in his words, ''the total liberation of man from enslavement by others.'' It was an impossible vision -- a vision that was plainly going to require a total dictatorship in order to enforce: a vision that, by claiming not to rely on man-made laws, was going to have to rely, instead, on theocrats, who would interpret God's laws to the masses. The most extreme despotism was all too visible in Qutb's revolutionary program. That much should have been obvious to anyone who knew the history of the other grand totalitarian revolutionary projects of the 20th century, the projects of the Nazis, the Fascists and the Communists.

Still, for Qutb, utopia was not the main thing. Utopia was for the future, and Qutb was not a dreamer. Islam, in his interpretation, was a way of life. He wanted his Muslim vanguard to live according to pious Islamic principles in the here and now. He wanted the vanguard to observe the rules of Muslim charity and all the other rules of daily life. He wanted the true Muslims to engage in a lifelong study of the Koran -- the lifelong study that his own gigantic commentary was designed to enhance. But most of all, he wanted his vanguard to accept the obligations of ''jihad,'' which is to say, the struggle for Islam. And what would that mean, to engage in jihad in the present and not just in the sci-fi utopian future?

Qutb began Volume 1 of ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' by saying: ''To live 'in the shade of the Qur'an' is a great blessing which can only be fully appreciated by those who experience it. It is a rich experience that gives meaning to life and makes it worth living. I am deeply thankful to God Almighty for blessing me with this uplifting experience for a considerable time, which was the happiest and most fruitful period of my life -- a privilege for which I am eternally grateful.''

He does not identify that happy and fruitful period of his life -- a period that lasted, as he says, a considerable time. Perhaps his brother and other intimates would have known exactly what he had in mind -- some very pleasant period, conceivably the childhood years when he was memorizing the Koran. But an ordinary reader who picks up Qutb's books can only imagine that he was writing about his years of torture and prison.

One of his Indian publishers has highlighted this point in a remarkably gruesome manner by attaching an unsigned preface to a 1998 edition of ''Milestones.'' The preface declares: ''The ultimate price for working to please God Almighty and to propagate his ways in this world is often one's own life. The author'' -- Qutb, that is -- ''tried to do it; he paid for it with his life. If you and I try to do it, there is every likelihood we will be called upon to do the same. But for those who truly believe in God, what other choice is there?''

You are meant to suppose that a true reader of Sayyid Qutb is someone who, in the degree that he properly digests Qutb's message, will act on what has been digested. And action may well bring on a martyr's death. To read is to glide forward toward death; and gliding toward death means you have understood what you are reading. Qutb's writings do vibrate to that morbid tone -- not always, but sometimes. The work that he left behind, his Koranic commentary, is vast, vividly written, wise, broad, indignant, sometimes demented, bristly with hatred, medieval, modern, tolerant, intolerant, paranoid, cruel, urgent, cranky, tranquil, grave, poetic, learned and analytic. Sometimes it is moving. It is a work large and solid enough to create its own shade, where Qutb's vanguard and other readers could repose and turn his pages, as he advised the students of the Koran to do, in the earnest spirit of loyal soldiers reading their daily bulletin. But there is, in this commentary, something otherworldly too -- an atmosphere of death. At the very least, it is impossible to read the work without remembering that, in 1966, Qutb, in the phrase of one of his biographers, ''kissed the gallows.''

Martyrdom was among his themes. He discusses passages in the Koran's sura ''The Cow,'' and he explains that death as a martyr is nothing to fear. Yes, some people will have to be sacrificed. ''Those who risk their lives and go out to fight, and who are prepared to lay down their lives for the cause of God are honorable people, pure of heart and blessed of soul. But the great surprise is that those among them who are killed in the struggle must not be considered or described as dead. They continue to live, as God Himself clearly states.''

Qutb wrote: ''To all intents and purposes, those people may very well appear lifeless, but life and death are not judged by superficial physical means alone. Life is chiefly characterized by activity, growth and persistence, while death is a state of total loss of function, of complete inertia and lifelessness. But the death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood. Their influence on those they leave behind also grows and spreads. Thus after their death they remain an active force in shaping the life of their community and giving it direction. It is in this sense that such people, having sacrificed their lives for the sake of God, retain their active existence in everyday life. . . .

''There is no real sense of loss in their death, since they continue to live.''

And so it was with Sayyid Qutb. In the period before his final arrest and execution, diplomats from Iraq and Libya offered him the chance to flee to safety in their countries. But he declined to go, on the ground that 3,000 young men and women in Egypt were his followers, and he did not want to undo a lifetime of teaching by refusing to give those 3,000 people an example of true martyrdom. And, in fact, some of those followers went on to form the Egyptian terrorist movement in the next decade, the 1970's -- the groups that massacred tourists and Coptic Christians and that assassinated Egypt's president, Anwar Sadat, after he made peace with Israel; the groups that, in still later years, ended up merging with bin Laden's group and supplying Al Qaeda with its fundamental doctrines. The people in those groups were not stupid or lacking in education.

On the contrary, we keep learning how well educated these people are, how many of them come from the upper class, how wealthy they are. And there is no reason for us to be surprised. These people are in possession of a powerful philosophy, which is Sayyid Qutb's. They are in possession of a gigantic work of literature, which is his ''In the Shade of the Qur'an.'' These people feel that, by consulting their own doctrines, they can explain the unhappiness of the world. They feel that, with an intense study of the Koran, as directed by Qutb and his fellow thinkers, they can make sense of thousands of years of theological error. They feel that, in Qutb's notion of shariah, they command the principles of a perfect society.

These people believe that, in the entire world, they alone are preserving Islam from extinction. They feel they are benefiting the world, even if they are committing random massacres. They are certainly not worried about death. Qutb gave these people a reason to yearn for death. Wisdom, piety, death and immortality are, in his vision of the world, the same. For a pious life is a life of struggle or jihad for Islam, and struggle means martyrdom. We may think: those are creepy ideas. And yes, the ideas are creepy. But there is, in Qutb's presentation, a weird allure in those ideas.

It would be nice to think that, in the war against terror, our side, too, speaks of deep philosophical ideas -- it would be nice to think that someone is arguing with the terrorists and with the readers of Sayyid Qutb. But here I have my worries. The followers of Qutb speak, in their wild fashion, of enormous human problems, and they urge one another to death and to murder. But the enemies of these people speak of what? The political leaders speak of United Nations resolutions, of unilateralism, of multilateralism, of weapons inspectors, of coercion and noncoercion. This is no answer to the terrorists. The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The antiterrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. Presidents will not do this. Presidents will dispatch armies, or decline to dispatch armies, for better and for worse.

But who will speak of the sacred and the secular, of the physical world and the spiritual world? Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas? Who will defend liberal principles in spite of liberal society's every failure? President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that.

Philosophers and religious leaders will have to do this on their own. Are they doing so? Armies are in motion, but are the philosophers and religious leaders, the liberal thinkers, likewise in motion? There is something to worry about here, an aspect of the war that liberal society seems to have trouble understanding -- one more worry, on top of all the others, and possibly the greatest worry of all.

Paul Berman has written for the magazine about Vaclav Havel, Vicente Fox and other subjects. He is the author of the coming ''Terror and Liberalism'' (W.W. Norton), from which this essay is adapted.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company | Privacy Policy
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on November 19, 2003, 05:46:59 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

19 November 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

The Unnoticed Alignment: Iran and the United States in Iraq


Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has quietly announced his recognition of the Iraqi Governing Council and acceptance of the U.S. timeline on the transfer of power in Iraq. The announcement speaks to a partnership that will direct the future course of Iraq. The alliance is of direct short-term benefit to both countries: The United States gains a partner to help combat Sunni insurgents, and Iran will be able to mitigate the long-standing threat on its western border. What is most notable is that, though there has been no secrecy involved, the partnership has emerged completely below the global media's radar.


Iranian President Mohammad Khatami did something very interesting
Nov. 17: He announced that Iran recognized the Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad. He said specifically, "We recognize the Iraqi Governing Council and we believe it is capable, with the Iraqi people, of managing the affairs of the country and taking measures leading toward independence." Khatami also commented on the agreement made by U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer and the IGC to transfer power to an Iraqi government by June: "The consecration of this accord will help with the reconstruction and security in Iraq,"

This is pretty extraordinary stuff. The IGC is an invention of
the United States. The president of Iran has now recognized the IGC as the legitimate government of Iraq, and he has also declared Iran's support for the timetable for transferring power to the IGC. In effect, the U.S. and Iranian positions on Iraq have now converged. The alignment is reminiscent of the Sino-U.S. relationship in the early 1970s: Despite absolute ideological differences on which neither side is prepared to compromise, common geopolitical interests have forced both sides to collaborate with one another. As with Sino-U.S. relations, alignment is a better word than alliance. These two countries are not friends, but history and geography have made them partners.

We would say that this is unexpected, save that Stratfor expected it. On Sept. 2, 2003, we published a weekly analysis titled An Unlikely Alliance, in which we argued that a U.S.-Iranian alignment was the only real solution for the United States in Iraq -- and would represent the fulfillment of an historical dream for Iran. What is interesting from our point of view (having suitably congratulated ourselves) is the exceptionally quiet response of the global media to what is, after all, a fairly extraordinary evolution of events.

The media focus on -- well, media events. When Nixon went to China, the visit was deliberately framed as a massive media event. Both China and the United States wanted to emphasize the shift in alignment, to both the Soviet Union and their own publics. In this case, neither the United States nor Iran wants attention focused on this event. For Washington, aligning with a charter member of the "axis of evil" poses significant political problems; for Tehran, aligning with the "Great Satan" poses similar problems. Both want alignment, but neither wants to make it formal at this time, and neither wants to draw significant attention to it. For the media, the lack of a photo op means that nothing has happened. Therefore, except for low-key reporting by
some wire services, Khatami's statement has been generally
ignored, which is fine by Washington and Tehran. In fact, on the same day that Khatami made the statement, the news about Iran focused on the country's nuclear weapons program. We christen thee, stealth geopolitics.

Let's review the bidding here. When the United States invaded Iraq, the expectation was that the destruction of Iraq's conventional forces and the fall of Baghdad would end resistance.  It was expected that there would be random violence, some resistance and so forth, but there was no expectation that there would be an organized, sustained guerrilla war, pre-planned by the regime and launched almost immediately after the fall of Baghdad.

The United States felt that it had a free hand to shape and
govern Iraq as it saw fit. The great debate was over whether the Department of State or Defense would be in charge of Baghdad's water works. Washington was filled with all sorts of plans and planners who were going to redesign Iraq. The dream did not die easily or quickly: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was denying the existence of a guerrilla war in Iraq as late as early July, more than two months after it had begun. Essentially, Washington and reality diverged in May and June.

Fantasy was followed by a summer of paralysis. The United States had not prepared for a guerrilla war in Iraq, and it had no plan for fighting such a war. Search-and-destroy operations were attempted, but these never had a chance of working, since tactical intelligence against the guerrillas was virtually non-existent. All it did was stir up even more anti-American feeling than was already there. The fact was that the United States was not going to be in a position to put down a guerrilla war without allies: It had neither the manpower nor the intimate knowledge of the country and society needed to defeat even a small guerrilla
movement that was operating in its own, well-known terrain.

At the same time, for all its problems, the situation in Iraq was not nearly as desperate as it would appear. Most of the country was not involved in the guerrilla war. It was essentially confined to the Sunni Triangle -- a fraction of Iraq's territory -- and to the minority Sunni group. The majority of Iraqis, Shiites and Kurds, not only were not involved in the guerrilla movement but inherently opposed to it. Both communities had suffered greatly under the Baathist government, which was heavily Sunni. The last thing they wanted to see was a return of Saddam Hussein's rule.

However, being opposed to the guerrillas did not make the
Shiites, in particular, pro-American. They had their own
interests: The Shiites in Iraq wanted to control the post-Hussein government. Another era of Sunni control would have been disastrous for them. For the Shiites -- virtually regardless of faction -- taking control of Iraq was a priority.

It is not fair to say that Iran simply controlled the Iraqi
Shiites; there are historical tensions between the two groups. It is fair to say, however, that Iranian intelligence systematically penetrated and organized the Shiites during Hussein's rule and that Iran provided safe haven for many of Iraq's Shiite leaders. That means, obviously, that Tehran has tremendous and decisive influence in Iraq at this point - which means that the goals of Iraqi Shiites must coincide with Iranian national interests.

In this case, they do. Iran has a fundamental interest in a pro-
Iranian, or at least genuinely neutral, Iraq. The only way to
begin creating that is with a Shiite-controlled government. With a Shiite-controlled government, the traditional Iraqi threat disappears and Iran's national security is tremendously enhanced. But the logic goes further: Iraq is the natural balance to Iran -- and if Iraq is neutralized, Iran becomes the pre-eminent power in the Persian Gulf. Once the United States leaves the region -- and in due course, the United States will leave -- Iran will be in a position to dominate the region. No other power or combination of powers could block it without Iraqi support. Iran, therefore, has every reason to want to see an evolution that leads to a Shiite government in Iraq.

Washington now has an identical interest. The United States does not have the ability or appetite to suppress the Sunni rising in perpetuity, nor does it have an interest in doing so. The U.S. interest is in destroying al Qaeda. Washington therefore needs an ally that has an intrinsic interest in fighting the guerrilla war and the manpower to do it. That means the Iraqi Shiites -- and that means alignment with Iran.

Bremer's assignment is to speed the transfer of power to the IGC. In a formal sense, this is a genuine task, but in a practical sense, transferring power to the IGC means transferring it to the Shiites. Not only do they represent a majority within the IGC, but when it comes time to raise an Iraqi army to fight the guerrillas, that army is going to be predominantly Shiite. That is not only a demographic reality but a political one as well -- the Shiites will insist on dominating the new army. They are not going to permit a repeat of the Sunni domination. Therefore, Bremer's mission is to transfer sovereignty to the IGC, which means the transfer of sovereignty to the Shiites.

From this, the United States ultimately gets a force in Iraq to
fight the insurrection, the Iraqi Shiites get to run Iraq and the
Iranians secure their Western frontier. On a broader, strategic scale, the United States splits the Islamic world -- not down the middle, since Shiites are a minority -- but still splits it. Moreover, under these circumstances, the Iranians are motivated to fight al Qaeda (a movement they have never really liked anyway) and can lend their not-insignificant intelligence capabilities to the mix.

The last real outstanding issue is Iran's nuclear capability.
Iran obviously would love to be a nuclear power in addition to being a regional hegemon. That would be sweet. However, it isn't going to happen, and the Iranians know that. It won't happen because Israel cannot permit it to happen. Any country's politics are volatile, and Iran in ten years could wind up with a new government and with values that, from Israel's point of view, are dangerous. Combine that with nuclear weapons, and it could mean the annihilation of Israel. Therefore, Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities -- with nuclear strikes if necessary -- before they become operational.

To be more precise, Israel would threaten to destroy Iran's
capabilities, which would put the United States in a tough
position. An Israeli nuclear strike on Iran would be the last
thing Washington needs. Therefore, the United States would be forced to take out Iran's facilities with American assets in the region -- better a non-nuclear U.S. attack than an Israeli
nuclear attack. Thus, the United States is telling Iran that it
does not actually have the nuclear option it thinks it has. The
Iranians, for their part, are telling the United States that they
know Washington doesn't want a strike by either Israel or the U.S. forces.

That means that the Iranians are using their nuclear option to
extract maximum political concessions from the United States. It is in Tehran's interest to maximize the credibility of the country's nuclear program without crossing a line that would force an Israeli response and a pre-emptive move by the United States. The Iranians are doing that extremely skillfully. The United States, for its part, is managing the situation effectively as well. The nuclear issue is not the pivot.

The alignment represents a solution to both U.S. and Iranian
needs. However, in the long run, the Iranians are the major
winners. When it is all over, they get to dominate the Persian
Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. That upsets the regional balance of power completely and is sending Saudi leaders into a panic.  The worst-case scenario for Saudi Arabia is, of course, an Iranian-dominated region. It is also not a great outcome for the United States, since it has no interest in any one power dominating the region either.

But the future is the future, and now is now. "Now" means the existence of a guerrilla war that the United States cannot fight on its own. This alignment solves that dilemma. We should remember that the United States has a history of improbable alliances that caused problems later. Consider the alliance with the Soviet Union in World War II that laid the groundwork for the Cold War: It solved one problem, then created another. The United States historically has worked that way.

Thus, Washington is not going to worry about the long run until later. But in the short run, the U.S.-Iranian alignment is the most important news since the Sept. 11 attacks. It represents a triumph of geopolitics over principle on both sides, which is what makes it work: Since both sides are betraying fundamental principles, neither side is about to call the other on it. They are partners in this from beginning to end.

What is fascinating is that this is unfolding without any secrecy whatsoever, yet is not being noticed by anyone. Since neither country is particularly proud of the deal, neither country is advertising it. And since it is not being advertised, the media are taking no notice. Quite impressive.


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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 14, 2003, 05:26:07 PM
Indications Saddam Was Not in Hiding But a Captive
Interesting take on things by Debka

DEBKAfile Special Report

December 14, 2003, 6:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

A number of questions are raised by the incredibly bedraggled, tired and
crushed condition of this once savage, dapper and pampered ruler who was discovered in a hole in the ground on Saturday, December 13:

1. The length and state of his hair indicated he had not seen a barber or
even had a shampoo for several weeks.

2. The wild state of his beard indicated he had not shaved for the same

3. The hole dug in the floor of a cellar in a farm compound near Tikrit was
primitive indeed - 6ft across and 8ft across with minimal sanitary
arrangements - a far cry from his opulent palaces.

4. Saddam looked beaten and hungry.

5. Detained with him were two unidentified men, two AK-47 assault guns and a pistol, none of which were used.

6. The hole had only one opening. It was not only camouflaged with mud and bricks - it was blocked. He could not have climbed out without someone on the outside removing the covering.

7. And most important, $750,000 in 100-dollar notes were found with him - but no communications equipment of any kind, whether cell phone or even a carrier pigeon for contacting the outside world.

According to DEBKAfile analysts, these seven anomalies point to one
conclusion: Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner.

After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the $25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal Talabani's Kurdish PUK militia.

These circumstances would explain the ex-ruler's docility - described by
Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as "resignation" - in the face of his capture by US forces. He must have regarded them as his rescuers and would have greeted them with relief.

From Gen. Sanchez's evasive answers to questions on the $25m bounty, it may be inferred that the Americans and Kurds took advantage of the negotiations with Saddam's abductors to move in close and capture him on their own account, for three reasons:

A. His capture had become a matter of national pride for the Americans. No kudos would have been attached to his handover by a local gang of
bounty-seekers or criminals. The country would have been swept anew with rumors that the big hero Saddam was again betrayed by the people he trusted, just as in the war.

B. It was vital to catch his kidnappers unawares so as to make sure Saddam was taken alive. They might well have killed him and demanded the prize for his body. But they made sure he had no means of taking his own life and may have kept him sedated.

C. During the weeks he is presumed to have been in captivity, guerrilla
activity declined markedly - especially in the Sunni Triangle towns of
Falluja, Ramadi and Balad - while surging outside this flashpoint region -
in Mosul in the north and Najef, Nasseriya and Hilla in the south. It was
important for the coalition to lay hands on him before the epicenter of the
violence turned back towards Baghdad and the center of the Sunni Triangle.

The next thing to watch now is not just where and when Saddam is brought to justice for countless crimes against his people and humanity - Sanchez said his interrogation will take "as long as it takes - but what happens to the insurgency. Will it escalate or gradually die down?

An answer to this, according to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, was
received in Washington nine days before Saddam reached US custody.

It came in the form of a disturbing piece of intelligence that the notorious
Lebanese terrorist and hostage-taker Imad Mughniyeh, who figures on the most wanted list of 22 men published by the FBI after 9/11, had arrived in southern Iraq and was organizing a new anti-US terror campaign to be launched in March-April 2004, marking the first year of the American invasion.

For the past 21 years, Mughniyeh has waged a war of terror against
Americans, whether on behalf of the Hizballah, the Iranian Shiite
fundamentalists, al Qaeda or for himself. The Lebanese arch-terrorist
represents for the anti-American forces in Iraq an ultimate weapon.

Saddam's capture will not turn this offensive aside; it may even bring it

For Israel, there are three lessons to be drawn from the dramatic turn of
events in Iraq:

First, An enemy must be pursued to the end and if necessary taken captive.   The Sharon government's conduct of an uncertain, wavering war against the Palestinian terror chief Yasser Arafat stands in stark contrast to the way the Americans have fought Saddam and his cohorts in Iraq and which has brought them impressive gains.

Second, Israel must join the US in bracing for the decisive round of
violence under preparation by Mughniyeh, an old common enemy from the days of Beirut in the 1980s. Only three weeks ago, DEBKAfile's military sources reveal, the terrorist mastermind himself was seen in south Lebanon in surveillance of northern Israel in the company of Iranian military officers. With this peril still to be fought, it is meaningless for Israelis to dicker over the Geneva Accord, unilateral steps around the Middle East road map, or even the defensive barrier.

Certain Israeli pundits and even politicians, influenced by opinion in
Europe, declared frequently in recent weeks that the Americans had no hope of capturing Saddam Hussein and were therefore bogged down irretrievably in Iraq. The inference was that the Americans erred in embarking on an unwinnable war in Iraq.

This was wide of the mark even before Saddam was brought in. The Americans are in firm control - even though they face a tough new adversary - and the whole purpose of the defeatist argument heard in Israel was to persuade the Sharon government that its position in relation to the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat is as hopeless as that of the Americans in Iraq.  Israel's only choice, according to this argument, is to knuckle under to Palestinian demands and give them what they want. Now that the Iraqi ruler is in American custody, they will have to think again.
Title: WW3
Post by: LG Russ on December 16, 2003, 07:15:23 AM
December 16, 2003
      Dreams and Glory

      Howard Dean is the only guy who goes to the Beverly Hills area for a
gravitas implant. He went to the St. Regis Hotel, a mile from Rodeo Drive,
to deliver a major foreign policy speech, and suddenly Dr. Angry turned into the Rev. Dull and Worthy.

      The guy who has been inveighing against the Iraq war as the second
coming of Vietnam spent his time talking about intelligence agency
coordination as if he had been suckled at the Council on Foreign Relations.
The guy who just a few days ago stood next to Al Gore as the former vice
president called Iraq the worst mistake in American history has suddenly
turned sober.

      Sure, he did get off a classic Deanism. He conceded that the capture
of Saddam had made American soldiers safer, but, unwilling to venture near
graciousness, he continued, "But the capture of Saddam has not made America

      Still, the speech was respectable and serious. Coming on the same day
as President Bush's hastily called news conference, it affords us the
opportunity to compare the two men's approaches to the war on terror.

      And indeed, there is one big difference. George Bush fundamentally
sees the war on terror as a moral and ideological confrontation between the
forces of democracy and the forces of tyranny. Howard Dean fundamentally
sees the war on terror as a law and order issue. At the end of his press
conference, Bush uttered a most un-Deanlike sentiment:

      "I believe, firmly believe ? and you've heard me say this a lot, and I
say it a lot because I truly believe it ? that freedom is the almighty God's
gift to every person ? every man and woman who lives in this world. That's
what I believe. And the arrest of Saddam Hussein changed the equation in
Iraq. Justice was being delivered to a man who defied that gift from the
Almighty to the people of Iraq."

      Bush believes that God has endowed all human beings with certain
inalienable rights, the most important of which is liberty. Every time he is
called upon to utter an unrehearsed thought, he speaks of the war on terror
as a conflict between those who seek to advance liberty to realize justice,
and those who oppose the advance of liberty: radical Islamists who fear
religious liberty, dictators who fear political liberty and reactionaries
who fear liberty for women.

      Furthermore, Bush believes the U.S. has a unique role to play in this
struggle to complete democracy's triumph over tyranny and so drain the swamp
of terror.

      Judging by his speech yesterday, Dean does not believe the U.S. has an
exceptional role to play in world history. Dean did not argue that the U.S.
should aggressively promote democracy in the Middle East and around the

      Instead, he emphasized that the U.S. should strive to strengthen
global institutions. He argued that the war on terror would be won when
international alliances worked together to choke off funds for terrorists
and enforce a global arms control regime to keep nuclear, chemical and
biological materials away from terror groups.

      Dean is not a modern-day Woodrow Wilson. He is not a mushy idealist
who dreams of a world government. Instead, he spoke of international
institutions as if they were big versions of the National Governors
Association, as places where pragmatic leaders can go to leverage their own
resources and solve problems.

      The world Dean described is largely devoid of grand conflicts or
moral, cultural and ideological divides. It is a world without passionate
nationalism, a world in which Europe and the United States are not riven by
any serious cultural differences, in which sensible people from around the
globe would find common solutions, if only Bush weren't so unilateral.

      At first, the Bush worldview seems far more airy-fairy and idealistic.
The man talks about God, and good versus evil. But in reality, Dean is the
more idealistic and na?ve one. Bush at least recognizes the existence of
intellectual and cultural conflict. He acknowledges that different value
systems are incompatible.

      In the world Dean describes, people, other than a few bizarre
terrorists, would be working together if not for Bush. In the Dean
worldview, all problems are matters of technique and negotiation.

      Dean tried yesterday to show how sober and serious he could be. In
fact, he has never appeared so much the dreamer, so clueless about the
intellectual and cultural divides that really do confront us and with which
real presidents have to grapple.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 19, 2003, 12:11:45 AM
Stratfor Is Expanding!
See details at


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

18 December 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

Saddam Hussein and the Dollar War


The capture of Saddam Hussein is an intelligence success for the
United States. It represents a massive effort to improve U.S.
intelligence capabilities in Iraq following a period of
intelligence failure. Hussein's capture, therefore, is important
not only in itself or in its implications for the guerrillas, but
also because it represents a massive and rapid improvement in
U.S. intelligence capabilities. It demonstrates that poor
intelligence is not inherent in U.S. guerrilla war-fighting; the
United States overcame it by identifying the central weaknesses
of its opponents. In this case, the central weakness was money --
and this was not only a financial weakness, but also a cultural


For once, the media have got it right. The capture of Saddam
Hussein is a major event in the war. Its importance does not rest
on whether he was in operational command of the guerrillas; he
wasn't. Nor does it hinge on whether his capture will destroy the
morale of the guerrillas; it won't. The importance of Hussein's
capture is that it happened at all: It signals a major
improvement in U.S. war-fighting capabilities in general and in
American intelligence in particular.

The greatest intelligence failure of the Iraq war did not concern
weapons of mass destruction. It concerned the failure of U.S.
intelligence to understand the Iraqi war plan, which in hindsight
was obvious. The Baathists knew the United States would rapidly
defeat Iraq's conventional forces. Therefore, they prepared a
follow-on plan that would begin after Baghdad was occupied. This
plan was a guerrilla war, manned by troops drawn from trusted
elite forces, with an installed infrastructure of arms caches,
safe houses and secure -- nonelectronic -- command and control
systems suitable for such a war.

The guerrilla war began within weeks of the fall of Baghdad in
April. U.S. intelligence about the war was so poor that until
late in June, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the rest of
the administration were denying that the attacks on U.S. troops
were being staged by an organized force. They viewed them simply
as random attacks by unconnected dead-enders and criminals. It
was not until summer that the administration conceded that it was
facing a concerted guerrilla war.

Throughout the summer, the United States had trouble defining the
nature of the guerrilla force, let alone developing a coherent
picture of its order of battle or command structure. Therefore,
the United States, by definition, could neither engage nor defeat
the guerrillas. Washington remained in an entirely defensive
posture during this period; the guerrillas had the initiative.
There never was a danger that the guerrillas would actually
defeat the United States. Still, the continual drumbeat of
attacks and the U.S. forces' inability to launch effective
counterattacks created substantial political problems, as it was
intended to.

The problem for the United States was that the Iraqis understood
the strengths and weaknesses of U.S. intelligence. The United
States is extremely strong in technical means of intelligence,
including image and signal intelligence. The guerrillas avoided
electromagnetic communications and were difficult to distinguish
with aerial reconnaissance. They were essentially invisible to
the preferred U.S. intelligence methods.

Late in the summer, the United States began to increase its human
intelligence capability in Iraq substantially, particularly the
number of CIA officers on the ground. It began a systematic
program of penetrating the guerrillas. It was not an easy task:
Recruiting agents able to infiltrate the guerrilla ranks was hard
to do; getting them into the ranks was even harder. The
guerrillas understood that recruitment was a risk and relied upon
existing forces or recruited from well-known and reliable
reservoirs. The ranks of foreign jihadists who entered the
country also were difficult to penetrate. To add to the
complexity, they operated separately from the main force.

The guerrillas did have one major vulnerability: money. The
Baathist regime long ago lost its ideological -- and idealistic -
- foundations. It was an institution of self-interest in which
the leadership systematically enriched itself. It was a culture
of money and power, and that culture permeated the entire
structure of the Iraqi military, including the guerrilla forces
that continued to operate after the conventional force was
defeated. Indeed, the guerrillas substituted money for
recruitment. In many cases, they would pay people outside their
ranks to carry out attacks on U.S. troops as a supplement to
attacks by the main guerrilla force.

The culture of money made the guerrillas vulnerable in two ways.
First, they relied on support from an infrastructure fueled by
money. Whatever their ideology, they purchased cooperation with
money and intimidation. Second, much of the money the guerrillas
had was currency taken from Iraqi banks prior to the fall of
Baghdad. A great deal of it was in U.S. dollars, which continued
to have value, but most of it was in the currency of the old
regime. One of the earliest actions of the U.S. occupation forces
was to replace that currency. Over time, therefore, the resources
available to the guerrillas contracted.

The United States brought its financial resources into play,
purchasing information. As U.S. money surged into the system and
guerrilla money began to recede, the flow of information to the
United States increased dramatically. Obviously, much of the
information was useless or false, and it took U.S. intelligence
several months to tune the system sufficiently that operatives
could evaluate and act upon the intelligence. Over time, the very
corruption of the Baathist system was turned against it. Indeed,
it happened in a surprisingly short period, made possible by a
Baathist organization in which political loyalty and business
interests tied together so blatantly that reversals of loyalty
did not necessarily appear as betrayals.

This process was speeded up dramatically during the November
Ramadan offensive. This offensive, we now know, was a surge
operation rather than a sustained increase in operational tempo.
Two things happened during the Ramadan offensive: First, the
guerrillas increased their consumption of resources dramatically,
burning through men and money very quickly; second, the rapid
tempo of operations required the guerrillas to expose their
assets far more than in the past. Whereas previously a combat
team would attack, disperse and remain dispersed for an extended
period, the tempo of Ramadan required that the same team carry
out multiple attacks. This meant that they could not disperse and
therefore could be more readily identified. This led to a greater
number of prisoners and further opportunities to purchase

The United States moved from being almost blind during the summer
to having substantially penetrated the guerrillas by the end of
November. By that time, Washington had a clearer idea of the
guerrilla order of battle and command structure. It had created a
network of informants that was prepared to provide intelligence
to the Americans in exchange for money, amnesty and future

Hussein, therefore, was betrayed by the culture he created. He
was found with no radio -- no surprise, since the guerrillas
tried not to use them. Rather, he was found with his two most
important weapons: a pistol and $750,000 in cash. His pistol
could not possibly outfight the troops sent to capture him. He
did not have enough money to buy safety. The Americans had him
outgunned and outspent.

The importance of Hussein's capture is not only its symbolism --
although that certainly should not be underestimated. Its
importance is that it happened, that U.S. intelligence was able
to turn a debacle into a success by identifying the core weakness
of the enemy force and using it for the rapid penetration and
exploitation of the guerrilla infrastructure.

The guerrillas understand precisely what happened to Hussein:
Someone betrayed him for money. They also understand that even
though attacks on U.S. troops can be purchased for dollars, the
Americans have far more dollars than they do. That is why, in the
week prior to Hussein's capture, the guerrillas twice attacked
banks: They desperately needed to replenish their cash reserves.
In one case, they even went so far as to engage in a pitched
battle with U.S. armor, a battle they couldn't possibly win.

The threat to the guerrillas is snowballing betrayal. The
guerrillas must be increasingly paranoid. At the prices the
Americans are paying, the probability of betrayal is rising. As
this probability rises, paranoia not only eats away at the
guerrillas' effectiveness, it also raises the temptation to
betray. Better to betray than to be betrayed.

The guerrillas can arrest this process only by ruthlessly
punishing betrayers. If the people who betrayed Hussein can't be
identified -- or can't be publicly killed -- then the guerrillas'
impotence will become manifest and a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Indeed, as other insurgencies have controlled betrayal by public
retribution, the guerrillas, unable to compete financially, would
have to respond with a wave of public executions. However, with
each public execution, they would expose themselves to capture
and revenge.

The capture of Hussein, regardless of whether he commanded anyone
or knows anything, is critically important. It is inconceivable
that the guerrillas would want him captured, since it inevitably
hurts their credibility. Like him or not, he was theirs to
protect. Their inability to protect Hussein creates a massive
crisis of confidence among the Baathist guerrillas.

This does not mean the guerrilla movement in Iraq is dying. It
means that the leadership of the movement is going to shift away
from the Baathists who launched the guerrilla war to the mostly
foreign jihadists, who joined the war for very different motives.
These guerrillas are not motivated by money and are unlikely to
betray each other for cash. They fight because they believe --
and that makes it more difficult to penetrate their ranks.

At the same time, most of them are foreigners. They do not know
the country as well as the Baathists, they don't have family and
tribal connections there, and they don't have their own
infrastructure. They were separate from the Baathists, but relied
upon them for their support structure. If the Baathists are taken
down, the jihadists will fight on. However, just as they are less
vulnerable to money, they are less invisible than the Baathists.

The capture of Hussein does not, in other words, end the war.
However, the process that led to his capture is broader and more
subversive than simply the capture of the former president. It is
eating away at the infrastructure of the Baathist guerrillas. It
is possible for them to reverse this, but as their financial
resources decline, they will have to respond with brutal
suppression to betrayers. That might not do the trick.

Still, the war is far from over. Washington now faces a more
substantial challenge -- one that has proven difficult to
overcome in the broader war. It must penetrate the jihadists in
Iraq. Given the experience with al Qaeda, this might well prove

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depth knowledge of state-to-state relations in the Middle East
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indispensable. Successful candidates will be sharp,
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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on December 22, 2003, 11:30:59 PM
U.S. Goes After Middle Eastern Weapons


The United States is turning its military successes in Iraq into
leverage for pressuring uncooperative regimes in the region.
Washington has cut a deal with Libya, has Iran's cooperation --
if not capitulation -- and will likely box in Syria in the short


Middle Eastern states long opposed to the United States are now
restructuring the foundations of their foreign policy. The
capture of Saddam Hussein did more than score a political, and
possibly military, U.S. victory in Iraq. It also gave Washington
the freedom to pursue its next agenda item for reshaping the
Middle East more to its liking, namely by removing any and all
threats by nonallied states -- or their militant allies -- by
weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Within one week, Iran and Libya agreed to allow snap inspections
by the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy
Agency (IAEA). At the same time, the U.S. Federal Bureau of
Investigation is reportedly interrogating a top Pakistani nuclear
scientist for links between the nuclear programs of Iran and
Pakistan. Syria -- another, lesser threat -- will likely be a
next target. Damascus is thought to have a chemical weapons
program only, but even that will be on the U.S. hit list.

Washington needs to ensure that none of the Muslim states it
still considers to be "states of concern" -- Iran, Libya and
Syria -- can or will provide al Qaeda with access to weapons of
mass destruction. Their promises not to aid al Qaeda will mean
little to Washington: Syrian President Bashar al Assad can pledge
cooperation until he is blue in the face, but the White House
cannot be sure that Assad will not topple through coup,
assassination or some other form of regime change, and therefore
it cannot accept verbal assurances. Instead, the United States
will now move to dismantle all WMD programs within these states.

Libya already has folded. Tripoli on Dec. 19 moved to pre-empt a
U.S. offensive by announcing that it would abandon its WMD
program and allow snap inspections. Libya knows what much of the
rest of the world is just now realizing -- the next phase in the
U.S. war against al Qaeda is ensuring that other potential
weapons aren't available for al Qaeda's taking.

Libya understood that if the United States were to gain control
over Iraq, the next goal would be to go after regional
governments that might ally with al Qaeda. Tripoli likely would
not side with the militant group at the risk of a fight with
Washington. From Washington's perspective, however, only complete
cooperation and full disclosure of the WMD program would be
acceptable evidence that Tripoli was not in cahoots with al

In exchange for full cooperation, Libya will likely get several
cookies -- most importantly, a lifting of U.S. sanctions.

The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act prevents U.S. energy firms from
investing in Libya. For that matter, no U.S. company can do
business there. Libya's energy industry was built with U.S.
technology -- now decades outdated. Reviving links with U.S.
energy firms is a top priority. Moreover, Libya already has taken
several other steps, such as backing off its Machiavellian
machinations in central Africa and paying off the families of
those killed in the Lockerbie bombing.

Iran is still in the game, playing a close hand of cooperation --
allowing inspections and "suspending" rather than ceasing its
nuclear program. Tehran has some pretty good cards. First, its
influence in Iraq -- especially among the southern Shia -- gives
it leverage. It also has a functioning, oil-fed economy, a
professional and experienced military, savvy political leadership
and possibly some invaluable intelligence on the leadership and
operations of al Qaeda.

Washington cannot pressure Iran too directly, so it has taken an
indirect approach. The Israelis, likely at the behest of
Washington, are threatening to blow up Iranian nuclear
facilities, since senior military officials claim that Iran's WMD
program poses the single greatest threat to Israeli national

Last week, Iran agreed to allow snap inspections by the IAEA.
Reports surfaced Dec. 22 that an instrumental figure in
developing Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, is
under house arrest. He is being interrogated, possibly by U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, for connections between
Pakistan's nuclear program and Iran's. Tehran reportedly has
named several Pakistani scientists as aiding Iran's nuclear
program. FBI interviews, along with Pakistani cooperation, might
provide important details the United States later can use to
contain Iran.

For its part, Syria cannot even afford the ante. Damascus is
thought to have chemical and possibly biological weapons, but
certainly no nuclear program. With a tiny economy, limited
resources, a decrepit military and few powerful allies, Syria
will find it impossible to resist U.S. pressure. The United
States doesn't really expect Damascus to form an alliance with al
Qaeda. At the same time, it cannot and will not simply take
Syria's word. Instead, officials will ask for complete
cooperation on a number of issues, including inspections of
Syrian WMD facilities.

Washington is not likely to stop until it has all three states'
WMD programs under lock and key. What comes next will be the
critical issue. Containment of their WMD programs will strengthen
Israel's regional position, giving it more freedom to maneuver
openly in regional political matters. It also will give Israel
more freedom to impose peace agreements -- whether formal or de
facto -- on Syria and the Palestinians.

The weakening of Iran, Libya and Syria -- along with the U.S.
seizure of Iraq -- will also reshape regional dynamics. Algeria,
Morocco and even Egypt will have less to fear from Libya. Jordan
will see Syria as emasculated and, therefore, as less of a long-
term threat. Saudi Arabia is so embroiled in its own domestic
conflict that it cannot fully relax, even as Iran adjusts itself
into fuller alignment with United States.

Reconfiguring Libyan, Iranian and Syrian military postures,
however, still will resonate throughout the region. The political
ramifications also will be felt. Libyan leader Col. Moammar
Gadhafi's reversal after more than a decade of anti-American
rhetoric might strike a sour note within some Libyan circles.
Nearly everyone already perceives Bashar al Assad as weak --
internally and externally -- and totally dependent upon his
father's Old Guard cronies. Whether he can survive an escalation
in diplomatic conflict with the United States is unclear. Whether
he can survive a restructuring of Syria's fundamental political
and military position in the Middle East is unlikely.

For the United States, it is imperative to reconfigure the region
in order to fit its ideal. Defeating al Qaeda means, in large
part, preventing al Qaeda from finding any powerful allies or
powerful weapons in the region. Al Qaeda typically operates on a
low-tech basis and isn't likely to seek weapons of mass
destruction any more advanced than a Boeing 767. Still,
Washington cannot, and is not, taking the chance.
Title: Bin Laden Tape
Post by: Russ on January 06, 2004, 10:10:21 AM
Transcript: Latest Bin Laden Tape
            Jan 05, 2004

            The following is a transcript of a tape released Jan. 4,
purportedly by Osama bin Laden. The transcript was published by the BBC.

            From Osama Bin Laden to his brothers and sisters in the entire
Islamic nation: May God's peace, mercy and blessings be upon you.

            My message to you concerns inciting and continuing to urge for
jihad to repulse the grand plots that have been hatched against our nation, especially since some of them have appeared clearly, such as the occupation of the crusaders, with the help of the apostates, of Baghdad and the house of the caliphate [the succession of rulers of the Islamic nation], under the trick of weapons of mass destruction.

            There is also the fierce attempt to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque
and destroy the jihad and the mujahideen in beloved Palestine by employing the trick of the roadmap and the Geneva peace initiative.

            The Americans' intentions have also become clear in statements
about the need to change the beliefs, curricula and morals of the Muslims to
become more tolerant, as they put it.

            In clearer terms, it is a religious-economic war.

            The occupation of Iraq is a link in the Zionist-crusader chain
of evil.

            Gulf states 'next'

            Then comes the full occupation of the rest of the Gulf states to
set the stage for controlling and dominating the whole world.

            For the big powers believe that the Gulf and the Gulf states are
the key to controlling the world due to the presence of the largest oil
reserves there.

            O Muslims: The situation is serious and the misfortune is

            By God, I am keen on safeguarding your religion and your worldly life.

            So, lend me your ears and open up your hearts to me so that we
may examine these pitch-black misfortunes and so that we may consider how we can find a way out of these adversities and calamities.

            The West's occupation of our countries is old, yet new.

            The struggle between us and them, the confrontation, and
clashing began centuries ago, and will continue because the ground rules
regarding the fight between right and falsehood will remain valid until
Judgment Day.

            Take note of this ground rule regarding this fight. There can be
no dialogue with occupiers except through arms.

            This is what we need today, and what we should seek. Islamic
countries in the past century were not liberated from the crusaders'
military occupation except through jihad in the cause of God.

            Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, the West today is doing
its utmost to tarnish jihad and kill anyone seeking jihad.

            The West is supported in this endeavor by hypocrites.

            This is because they all know that jihad is the effective power
to foil all their conspiracies.

            Jihad is the path, so seek it.

            This is because if we seek to deter them with any means other
than Islam, we would be like the one who goes round in circles.

            We would also be like our forefathers, the al-Ghasasinah [Arab
people who lived in a state historically located in the north-west of the
Persian empire].

            The concern of their seniors was to be appointed officers for
the Romans and to be named kings in order to safeguard the interests of the Romans by killing their brothers of the peninsula's Arabs.

            Such is the case of the new al-Ghasasinah; namely, Arab rulers.

            Words of warning

            Muslims: If you do not punish them for their sins in Jerusalem
and Iraq, they shall defeat you because of your failure.

            They will also rob you of land of al-Haramain [Mecca and

            Today [they robbed you] of Baghdad and tomorrow they will rob
you of Riyadh and so forth unless God deems otherwise.

            Sufficient unto us is God.

            What then is the means to stop this tremendous onslaught?

            In such hard times, some reformers maintain that all popular and
official forces should unite and that all government forces should unite
with all their peoples.

            Everyone would do what is needed from him in order to ward off
this crusader-Zionist onslaught.

            The question strongly raised is: Are the governments in the
Islamic world capable of pursuing this duty of defending the faith and
nation and renouncing allegiance to the United States?

            The calls by some reformers are strange.

            They say that the path to righteousness and defending the
country and people passes though the doors of those rulers.

            I tell those reformers: If you have an excuse for not pursuing
jihad, it does not give you the right to depend on the unjust ones, thus
becoming responsible for your sins as well as the sins of those who you

            Fear God for your sake and for your nation's sake.

            God does not need your flattery of dictators for the sake of
God's religion.

            Arabs 'succumbed to US pressure'

            The Gulf states proved their total inability to resist the Iraqi

            They sought help from the crusaders, led by the United States,
as is well known.

            How can these states stand up to the United States?

            In short, these states came to America's help and backed it in
its attack against an Arab state which is bound to them with covenants of
joint defence agreements.

            These covenants were reiterated at the Arab League just a few
days before the US attack, only to violate them in full.

            This shows their positions on the nation's basic causes.

            These regimes wavered too much before taking a stand on using
force and attacking Iraq.

            At times they absolutely rejected participation and at other
times they linked this with UN agreement.

            Then they went back to their first option.

            In fact, the lack of participation was in line with the domestic
desire of these states.

            However, they finally submitted and succumbed to US pressure and opened their air, land and sea bases to contribute toward the US campaign, despite the immense repercussions of this move.

            Most important of these repercussions is that this is a sin
against one of the Islamic tenets.

            Saddam arrest

            Most important and dangerous in their view was that they feared
that the door would be open for bringing down dictatorial regimes by armed forces from abroad, especially after they had seen the arrest of their former comrade in treason and agentry to the United States when it ordered him to ignite the first Gulf war against Iran, which rebelled against it.

            The war consumed everything and plunged the area in a maze from which they have not emerged to this day.

            They are aware that their turn will come.

            They do not have the will to make the difficult decision to
confront the aggression, in addition to their belief that they do not
possess the material resources for that.

            Indeed, they were prevented from establishing a large military
force when they were forced to sign secret pledges and documents long ago.

            In short, the ruler who believes in some of the above-mentioned
deeds cannot defend the country.

            How can he do so if he believes in all of them and has done that
time and again?

            Those who believe in the principle of supporting the infidels
over Muslims and leave the blood, honor and property of their brothers to be available to their enemy in order to remain safe, claiming that they love their brothers but are being forced to take such a path - of course this compulsion cannot be regarded as legitimate - are in fact qualified to take the same course against one another in the Gulf states.

            Indeed, this principle is liable to be embraced within the same
state itself.

            Those who read and understood the history of kings throughout
history know that they are capable of committing more than these
concessions, except those who enjoyed the mercy of God.

            Indeed, the rulers have practically started to sell out the sons
of the land by pursuing and imprisoning them and by unjustly and wrongly
accusing them of becoming like the al-Khawarij sect who held Muslims to be infidels and by committing the excesses of killing them.

            We hold them to be martyrs and God will judge them.

            All of this happened before the Riyadh explosions in Rabi
al-Awwal of this year [around May, 2003].

            This campaign came within a drive to implement the US orders in
the hope that they will win its blessings.

            'Miserable situation'

            Based on the above, the extent of the real danger, which the
region in general and the Arabian Peninsula in particular, is being exposed
to, has appeared.

            It has become clear that the rulers are not qualified to apply
the religion and defend the Muslims.

            In fact, they have provided evidence that they are implementing
the schemes of the enemies of the nation and religion and that they are
qualified to abandon the countries and peoples.

            Now, after we have known the situation of the rulers, we should
examine the policy which they have been pursuing.

            Anyone who examines the policy of those rulers will easily see
that they follow their whims and desires and their personal interests and
crusader loyalties.

            Therefore, the flaw does not involve a secondary issue, such as
personal corruption that is confined to the palace of the ruler.

            The flaw is in the very approach.

            This happened when a malicious belief and destructive principle
spread in most walks of life, to the effect that absolute supremacy and
obedience were due to the ruler and not to the religion of God.

            In other countries, they have used the guise of parliaments and

            Thus, the situation of all Arab countries suffers from great
deterioration in all walks of life, in religious and worldly matters.

            We have reached this miserable situation because many of us lack the correct and comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam.

            Many of us understand Islam to mean performing some acts of
worship, such as prayer and fasting.

            Despite the great importance of these rituals, the religion of
Islam encompasses all the affairs of life, including religious and worldly
affairs, such as economic, military and political affairs, as well as the
scales by which we weigh the actions of men - rulers, ulema and others - and how to deal with the ruler in line with the rules set by God for him and
which the ruler should not violate.

            Therefore, it becomes clear to us that the solution lies in
adhering to the religion of God, by which God granted us pride in the past
centuries and installing a strong and faithful leadership that applies the
Koran among us and raises the true banner of jihad.

            The honest people who are concerned about this situation, such
as the ulema, leaders who are obeyed among their people, dignitaries,
notables and merchants should get together and meet in a safe place away from the shadow of these suppressive regimes and form a council for Ahl al-Hall wa al-Aqd [literally those who loose and bind; reference to honest, wise and righteous people who can appoint or remove a ruler in Islamic tradition] to fill the vacuum caused by the religious invalidation of these regimes and their mental deficiency.

            The right to appoint an imam [leader] is for the nation.

            The nation also has the right to make him correct his course if
he deviates from it and to remove him if he does something that warrants
this, such as apostasy and treason.

            This temporary council should be made up of the minimum number of available personnel, without [word indistinct] the rest of the nation, except what the religion allows in case of necessity, until the number is increased when the situation improves, God willing.

            Their policy should be based on the book of God [the Koran] and
the Sunna [tradition] of his Prophet [Muhammad], God's peace and blessings be upon him.

            They should start by directing the Muslims to the important
priorities at this critical stage and lead them to a safe haven, provided
that their top priority should be uniting opinions under the word of
monotheism and defending Islam and its people and countries and declaring a general mobilization in the nation to prepare for repulsing the raids of the Romans, which started in Iraq and no-one knows where they will end.

            God suffices us and he is the best supporter.

Copyright 2003 Strategic Forecasting LLC. All rights reserved.

Marc/Crafty:  The following analysis from Stratfor.  Signing up at is HIGHLY recommended.

Osama bin Laden purportedly has released a new tape via Al Jazeera, which the CIA rapidly and publicly affirmed to be authentic -- probably. It was an interesting tape. The tone was quite different from his other recordings: It focused much less on what al Qaeda would do to the United States and much more on the failure of Islamic states, particularly of Arab states in the Persian Gulf region, to resist the United States and rally to the Islamic cause.

The speaker claiming to be bin Laden said, " , , , "

The translation of this seems to be that even regimes that adhere to Islamic law -- like Saudi Arabia's -- miss the point when they focus only on ritual, important though that might be. They fail to focus on economic, military and political affairs, which are just as crucial for Islam. This is what has created the current miserable situation. Until there are changes in the Arabian Peninsula, the war that al Qaeda launched cannot be successful.

In many ways, this is an extraordinarily honest and revealing analysis of
the situation. Bin Laden knows that he has lost this round of the war. The
failure of the Islamic world to generate a genuine challenge to the United
States rests with the existing leadership of the Arab world and of the Gulf
States, all of whom ultimately collaborated with the United States. This has undermined all military actions in the region, particularly those in Iraq. There can be no progress until changes take place in the Arabian Peninsula.

If we take bin Laden's words seriously -- and they should always be taken
seriously -- it sounds as if he is saying that the war with the United
States must be put on hold, or severely limited, until after al Qaeda deals
with the political situation in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. Put
differently, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, triggered what al Qaeda hoped
for: a massive intervention in the Islamic world. However, that intervention did not trigger the next desired result: galvanizing the Islamic masses into forcing their governments to move into direct confrontation with the United States. To the contrary, after seeming to move in that direction, they reversed course and allied themselves with the United States. Now, al Qaeda must focus on changing the leadership in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab world.

It follows from this that bin Laden is arguing that al Qaeda must back off
from its attempt to strike at the United States and focus its energies on
the more immediate task, the heart of which is overthrowing the Saudi
government. Two counterarguments can be made here. The first is that while this tape focused on the Arabian Peninsula, it did not explicitly abandon any threats made against the United States. Second, all of this may simply be cover for an attack on the United States.

On the other hand, bin Laden would be a fool not to realize that he is
losing this round and that there will be no second round unless he can force a change in the Arabian Peninsula. Drawing the United States into the Islamic world has had the opposite effect from what he was hoping; hitting the United States again would guarantee the permanent presence of U.S. power in the region, shoring up existing regimes. Hitting the United States again -- unless it was so hard that the United States would seek to withdraw -- would make very little sense.

Bin Laden's tapes tend to be fairly straightforward. In the past, he appears to have pretty much done what he said he was going to, and he does not seem to have used the publicly released recordings simply for disinformation. This tape could be different, but bin Laden knows two things: First, the United States is not going to change anything it is doing based on this tape, and second, the tape is going to have a very sobering effect on his followers and the Islamic world in general.

It is, therefore, hard to believe, but the conclusion that has to be drawn
is that al Qaeda does not think it can proceed without first fomenting a
revolution in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden also seems to be de-emphasizing
operations in the United States, since they cannot achieve al Qaeda's goals until after the situation in Saudi Arabia resolves itself. At the very
least, he is elevating operations on the Arabian Peninsula to the same level as in the United States -- assuming that al Qaeda has the resources to do both.
Title: WW3
Post by: LG Russ on January 06, 2004, 03:19:31 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2004

Osama bin Laden purportedly has released a new tape via Al Jazeera, which
the CIA rapidly and publicly affirmed to be authentic -- probably. It was an
interesting tape. The tone was quite different from his other recordings: It
focused much less on what al Qaeda would do to the United States and much
more on the failure of Islamic states, particularly of Arab states in the
Persian Gulf region, to resist the United States and rally to the Islamic
The speaker claiming to be bin Laden said, "Thus, the situation of all Arab
countries suffers from great deterioration in all walks of life, in
religious and worldly matters. We have reached this miserable situation
because many of us lack the correct and comprehensive understanding of the
religion of Islam. Many of us understand Islam to mean performing some acts
of worship, such as prayer and fasting.
"Despite the great importance of these rituals, the religion of Islam
encompasses all the affairs of life, including religious and worldly
affairs, such as economic, military and political affairs, as well as the
scales by which we weigh the actions of men -- rulers, ulema and others --
and how to deal with the ruler in line with the rules set by God for him and
which the ruler should not violate. Therefore, it becomes clear to us that
the solution lies in adhering to the religion of God, by which God granted
us pride in the past centuries and installing a strong and faithful
leadership that applies the Koran among us and raises the true banner of

The translation of this seems to be that even regimes that adhere to Islamic
law -- like Saudi Arabia's -- miss the point when they focus only on ritual,
important though that might be. They fail to focus on economic, military and
political affairs, which are just as crucial for Islam. This is what has
created the current miserable situation. Until there are changes in the
Arabian Peninsula, the war that al Qaeda launched cannot be successful.

In many ways, this is an extraordinarily honest and revealing analysis of
the situation. Bin Laden knows that he has lost this round of the war. The
failure of the Islamic world to generate a genuine challenge to the United
States rests with the existing leadership of the Arab world and of the Gulf
States, all of whom ultimately collaborated with the United States. This has
undermined all military actions in the region, particularly those in Iraq.
There can be no progress until changes take place in the Arabian Peninsula.

If we take bin Laden's words seriously -- and they should always be taken
seriously -- it sounds as if he is saying that the war with the United
States must be put on hold, or severely limited, until after al Qaeda deals
with the political situation in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. Put
differently, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, triggered what al Qaeda hoped
for: a massive intervention in the Islamic world. However, that intervention
did not trigger the next desired result: galvanizing the Islamic masses into
forcing their governments to move into direct confrontation with the United
States. To the contrary, after seeming to move in that direction, they
reversed course and allied themselves with the United States. Now, al Qaeda
must focus on changing the leadership in the Arabian Peninsula and the Arab

It follows from this that bin Laden is arguing that al Qaeda must back off
from its attempt to strike at the United States and focus its energies on
the more immediate task, the heart of which is overthrowing the Saudi
government. Two counterarguments can be made here. The first is that while
this tape focused on the Arabian Peninsula, it did not explicitly abandon
any threats made against the United States. Second, all of this may simply
be cover for an attack on the United States.

On the other hand, bin Laden would be a fool not to realize that he is
losing this round and that there will be no second round unless he can force
a change in the Arabian Peninsula. Drawing the United States into the
Islamic world has had the opposite effect from what he was hoping; hitting
the United States again would guarantee the permanent presence of U.S. power
in the region, shoring up existing regimes. Hitting the United States
again -- unless it was so hard that the United States would seek to
withdraw -- would make very little sense.

Bin Laden's tapes tend to be fairly straightforward. In the past, he appears
to have pretty much done what he said he was going to, and he does not seem
to have used the publicly released recordings simply for disinformation.
This tape could be different, but bin Laden knows two things: First, the
United States is not going to change anything it is doing based on this
tape, and second, the tape is going to have a very sobering effect on his
followers and the Islamic world in general.

It is, therefore, hard to believe, but the conclusion that has to be drawn
is that al Qaeda does not think it can proceed without first fomenting a
revolution in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden also seems to be de-emphasizing
operations in the United States, since they cannot achieve al Qaeda's goals
until after the situation in Saudi Arabia resolves itself. At the very
least, he is elevating operations on the Arabian Peninsula to the same level
as in the United States -- assuming that al Qaeda has the resources to do
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on January 18, 2004, 02:59:57 PM
all of you are morons
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on February 15, 2004, 11:51:08 AM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

13 February 2004

Pakistan Braces for the American Storm


Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has begun warning his
country that if it does not root out al Qaeda, the United States


As part of its self-declared "war on terrorism," the United
States has been involved in the Afghan theater of operations for
more than two years, since it succeeded in overthrowing the
Taliban government in late 2001 by employing a strategy heavily
dependent upon local allies. Since then, U.S. efforts have
followed a bifurcated path: maintaining some semblance of order
in Kabul -- where the "national" government resides -- and
bombing any concentrated pockets of resistance.

The strategy makes sense. Unlike the Soviet occupation of 1979-
1989, the United States is not attempting to control the entire
territory of Afghanistan. Split as it is by the Hindu Kush
mountains -- and a plethora of ethnic groups with little to no
sense of a shared history -- the country probably is not capable
of forming a unified state in the traditional sense. The least
violent existence that Afghanistan can hope for is probably to
have a very weak central government in which the various regional
capitals -- Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif -- exercise de facto
sovereign control.

The U.S. strategy, then, is geared toward maintaining the fiction
of a "united" Afghanistan, without providing any troops to
enforce central rule. The NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) patrols only Kabul and the immediate
surrounding area, while various regional militias rule their
respective territories.

The strategy is not exactly brilliant, but -- considering
Afghanistan's history and geography -- it is probably one of the
few that could work. As a side effect, it leaves al Qaeda and its
sympathizers free to prowl largely where they will and conduct
hit-and-run nuisance attacks.

For al Qaeda, this is far from a happy state of affairs.
Afghanistan can no longer be used as a major training facility,
and the network has been funneling most of its fighters into
Iraq. A smaller presence in Afghanistan is a more vulnerable one,
so al Qaeda has done what any business would do under similar
circumstances: move.

The mountainous border region of the Afghan-Pakistani border
region is porous, relatively unguarded and home to the Pushtun
ethnic group that straddles national boundaries. Al Qaeda,
unhobbled by state loyalties, has most likely moved its core
personnel into this region, where it is more complicated for U.S.
forces to operate.

But more complicated does not mean impossible.

The Bush administration is looking for the end game. Al Qaeda has
proven unable to mount a major strike on U.S. targets since Sept.
11, 2001. The attacks that have occurred -- Casablanca, Bali, An
Najaf, Riyadh, etc. -- have been far less ambitious in scope,
carried out by affiliate groups and, most importantly, have not
touched the U.S. mainland. The next major push from the United
States will be an attempt to roll up al Qaeda's prime senior
members themselves.

As with all other major policy pushes in 2004, the White House
has its eye on domestic politics as well. Melting down al Qaeda
into a commemorative coin set to present to the American voter
just in time for Nov. 4 would, of course, be a nice touch from a
White House perspective. Doing that, however, means rolling into
Pakistan with a lot more than a disposable State Department
officer with snazzy shoes and a sharply worded demarche. Unlike
Afghanistan, Pakistan is a real country with a real army -- and
real nuclear weapons. Hence, at the highest levels, Washington
has been tightening the screws on Islamabad -- most recently
regarding the indiscretions of its nuclear development team.

Musharraf has received the none-too-subtle message, and this week
began preparing his country for the inevitable onslaught -- and
spurring it into action so that the United States might not need
to come calling with a whole division of troops when it comes.

In a Feb. 10 interview with the New York Times, Musharraf made it
clear that the onus of responsibility for the nuclear technology
leaks was on the CIA, which he said had not provided any proof
about the nuclear proliferation until quite recently. While the
primary message of "don't blame me or push me around" came
through loud and clear, there was also a secondary, more subtle,
message: "Show me proof and I'll act."

The buzz in Pakistan this week, at least according to the Daily
Times, is that CIA Director George Tenet paid Islamabad a secret
visit on Feb. 11. In short, Musharraf was preparing the public
for what sort of terms would be necessary for him to cater to
Washington's wishes, and Washington just might have provided the
appropriate information about al Qaeda's new digs in Pakistan.

That brings us to a more recent statement by Musharraf concerning
militant activity. Speaking at Pakistan's National Defense
College in Rawalpindi on Feb. 12, Musharraf said, "Certainly
everything [within Afghanistan] is not happening from Pakistan,
but certainly something is happening from Pakistan. Let us not
bluff ourselves. Now, whatever is happening from Pakistan must be
stopped and that is what we are trying to do."

On Feb. 10, Musharraf outlined what Washington would need to do
to get him to move. On Feb. 12, he made it clear to other power
brokers within Pakistan what needed to be done. Stratfor expects
a third, more direct, statement to tumble from Musharraf's lips
in the near future.

The issue now is simply one of timing. The Afghan-Pakistani
border currently is difficult to navigate: Mountains plus winter
equals no tanks. Once spring arrives, however, the United States
can roll in and -- in theory -- nab all the appropriate
personalities, just in time for the Democratic National
Convention in July. If the Bush administration can pull it off,
more Democrats than Howard Dean will be screaming.

The plan is not quite as neat as it seems. Northern Pakistan is
rugged territory, but people actually live there and like it.
Most are none too pleased with what the United States has been
doing across the border in Afghanistan of late. This region,
dubbed the Northwest Frontier Territories, is heavily Pushtun and
is rife with al Qaeda supporters. Rolling into it would not be

In the hopes of heading off what would likely be a bloody U.S.
intervention in Pakistan, Musharraf is trying to make the case
for a major Pakistani military offensive against al Qaeda and its
supporters in these tribal areas.

The Pakistani president is in quite an uncomfortable position,
attempting to balance his role as a trusted U.S. ally in the war
against militant Islamism, while leading a country where anti-
Americanism is at a fever pitch. Despite Musharraf's attempts to
proceed with caution, decisions resulting from the U.S. pressure
are critically injuring his domestic image.

Musharraf has long stressed that his government furnished the
United States with only minimal assistance in terms of logistical
support, intelligence-sharing and so forth, and that Pakistani
troops are not committed to campaigns outside the country. Both
Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Information
Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed routinely deny that U.S.
intelligence and military forces are engaged in any operations in
Pakistan against al Qaeda/Taliban suspects, particularly when
arrests are made or suspected militants are killed in shoot-outs.
Hayat and Ahmed have gone to lengths to underscore that Pakistani
forces are doing the actual work, while the United States is
merely providing intelligence and logistical support in the

U.S. troops conducting a large-scale operation inside Pakistan
would take away the Pakistanis' we're-doing-it-ourselves factor
and could well fracture the Pakistani military, not to mention
prompt a backlash from the public.

But Musharraf has no illusions about where he falls on the U.S.
priority list. If destroying al Qaeda once and for all means
losing the Pakistani president, well, the United States has
survived Pakistani regime changes before. Therefore, Musharraf
issued an oblique warning to his country that it needs to do a
housecleaning -- before the rat-a-tat of U.S. M16s is heard
across the Northwest Frontier.

It is unclear just how Musharraf will be able to muster the
support necessary for this latest step his government has had to
make in the wake of Sept. 11. Initial signs are promising. So far
jirgas (councils) of the Utmanzai and North Waziristani tribes
have decided to set up militias to hunt down foreign militants.
It is far too early to evaluate the tribes' seriousness -- much
less their success -- in the matter, but it is obvious that the
political dialogue has been sparked.

Islamabad does not have much time to get results. Warmer weather
soon will set in, and the ISAF already is taking over policing
duties in Afghanistan from U.S. forces, which will free up even
more U.S. forces for a counterinsurgency offensive, should
Islamabad fail to get the job done.


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Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on March 29, 2004, 11:41:40 AM
An Essential War
Ousting Saddam was the only option.

Monday, March 29, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST

We have struggled with terrorism for a long time. In the Reagan administration, I was a hawk on the subject. I said terrorism is a big problem, a different problem, and we have to take forceful action against it. Fortunately, Ronald Reagan agreed with me, but not many others did. (Don Rumsfeld was an outspoken exception.)

In those days we focused on how to defend against terrorism. We reinforced our embassies and increased our intelligence effort. We thought we made some progress. We established the legal basis for holding states responsible for using terrorists to attack Americans anywhere. Through intelligence, we did abort many potential terrorist acts. But we didn't really understand what motivated the terrorists or what they were out to do.

In the 1990s, the problem began to appear even more menacing. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were well known, but the nature of the terrorist threat was not yet comprehended and our efforts to combat it were ineffective. Diplomacy without much force was tried. Terrorism was regarded as a law enforcement problem and terrorists as criminals. Some were arrested and put on trial. Early last year, a judge finally allowed the verdict to stand for one of those convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Ten years! Terrorism is not a matter that can be left to law enforcement, with its deliberative process, built-in delays, and safeguards that may let the prisoner go free on procedural grounds.

Today, looking back on the past quarter century of terrorism, we can see that it is the method of choice of an extensive, internationally connected ideological movement dedicated to the destruction of our international system of cooperation and progress. We can see that the 1981 assassination of President Anwar Sadat, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the 2001 destruction of the Twin Towers, the bombs on the trains in Madrid, and scores of other terrorist attacks in between and in many countries, were carried out by one part or another of this movement. And the movement is connected to states that develop awesome weaponry, with some of it, or with expertise, for sale.

What should we do? First and foremost, shore up the state system.

The world has worked for three centuries with the sovereign state as the basic operating entity, presumably accountable to its citizens and responsible for their well-being. In this system, states also interact with each other--bilaterally or multilaterally--to accomplish ends that transcend their borders. They create international organizations to serve their ends, not govern them.

Increasingly, the state system has been eroding. Terrorists have exploited this weakness by burrowing into the state system in order to attack it. While the state system weakens, no replacement is in sight that can perform the essential functions of establishing an orderly and lawful society, protecting essential freedoms, providing a framework for fruitful economic activity, contributing to effective international cooperation, and providing for the common defense.

I see our great task as restoring the vitality of the state system within the framework of a world of opportunity, and with aspirations for a world of states that recognize accountability for human freedom and dignity.
All established states should stand up to their responsibilities in the fight against our common enemy, terror; be a helpful partner in economic and political development; and take care that international organizations work for their member states, not the other way around. When they do, they deserve respect and help to make them work successfully.

The civilized world has a common stake in defeating the terrorists. We now call this what it is: a War on Terrorism. In war, you have to act on both offense and defense. You have to hit the enemy before the enemy hits you. The diplomacy of incentives, containment, deterrence and prevention are all made more effective by the demonstrated possibility of forceful pre-emption. Strength and diplomacy go together. They are not alternatives; they are complements. You work diplomacy and strength together on a grand and strategic scale and on an operational and tactical level. But if you deny yourself the option of forceful pre-emption, you diminish the effectiveness of your diplomatic moves. And, with the consequences of a terrorist attack as hideous as they are--witness what just happened in Madrid--the U.S. must be ready to pre-empt identified threats. And not at the last moment, when an attack is imminent and more difficult to stop, but before the terrorist gets in position to do irreparable harm.

Over the last decade we have seen large areas of the world where there is no longer any state authority at all, an ideal environment for terrorists to plan and train. In the early 1990s we came to realize the significance of a "failed state." Earlier, people allowed themselves to think that, for example, an African colony could gain its independence, be admitted to the U.N. as a member state, and thereafter remain a sovereign state. Then came Somalia. All government disappeared. No more sovereignty, no more state. The same was true in Afghanistan. And who took over? Islamic extremists. They soon made it clear that they regarded the concept of the state as an abomination. To them, the very idea of "the state" was un-Islamic. They talked about reviving traditional forms of pan-Islamic rule with no place for the state. They were fundamentally, and violently, opposed to the way the world works, to the international state system.

The United States launched a military campaign to eliminate the Taliban and al Qaeda's rule over Afghanistan. Now we and our allies are trying to help Afghanistan become a real state again and a viable member of the international state system. Yet there are many other parts of the world where state authority has collapsed or, within some states, large areas where the state's authority does not run.

That's one area of danger: places where the state has vanished. A second area of danger is found in places where the state has been taken over by criminals or warlords. Saddam Hussein was one example. Kim Jong Il of North Korea is another.

They seize control of state power and use that power to enhance their wealth, consolidate their rule and develop their weaponry. As they do this, and as they violate the laws and principles of the international system, they at the same time claim its privileges and immunities, such as the principle of non-intervention into the internal affairs of a legitimate sovereign state. For decades these thugs have gotten away with it. And the leading nations of the world have let them get away with it.

This is why the case of Saddam Hussein and Iraq is so significant. After Saddam Hussein consolidated power, he started a war against one of his neighbors, Iran, and in the course of that war he committed war crimes including the use of chemical weapons, even against his own people.

About 10 years later he started another war against another one of his neighbors, Kuwait. In the course of doing so he committed war crimes. He took hostages. He launched missiles against a third and then a fourth country in the region.

That war was unique in modern times because Saddam totally eradicated another state, and turned it into "Province 19" of Iraq. The aggressors in wars might typically seize some territory, or occupy the defeated country, or install a puppet regime; but Saddam sought to wipe out the defeated state, to erase Kuwait from the map of the world.

That got the world's attention. That's why, at the U.N., the votes were wholly in favor of a U.S.-led military operation--Desert Storm--to throw Saddam out of Kuwait and to restore Kuwait to its place as a legitimate state in the international system. There was virtually universal recognition that those responsible for the international system of states could not let a state simply be rubbed out.

When Saddam was defeated, in 1991, a cease-fire was put in place. Then the U.N. Security Council decided that, in order to prevent him from continuing to start wars and commit crimes against his own people, he must give up his arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction."

Recall the way it was to work. If Saddam cooperated with U.N. inspectors and produced his weapons and facilitated their destruction, then the cease-fire would be transformed into a peace agreement ending the state of war between the international system and Iraq. But if Saddam did not cooperate, and materially breached his obligations regarding his weapons of mass destruction, then the original U.N. Security Council authorization for the use of "all necessary force" against Iraq--an authorization that at the end of Desert Storm had been suspended but not cancelled--would be reactivated and Saddam would face another round of the U.S.-led military action against him. Saddam agreed to this arrangement.

In the early 1990s, U.N. inspectors found plenty of materials in the category of weapons of mass destruction and they dismantled a lot of it. They kept on finding such weapons, but as the presence of force declined, Saddam's cooperation declined. He began to play games and to obstruct the inspection effort.

By 1998 the situation was untenable. Saddam had made inspections impossible. President Clinton, in February 1998, declared that Saddam would have to comply with the U.N. resolutions or face American military force. Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad and returned with a new promise of cooperation from Saddam. But Saddam did not cooperate. Congress then passed the Iraq Liberation Act by a vote of 360 to 38 in the House of Representatives; the Senate gave its unanimous consent. Signed into law on October 31, it supported the renewed use of force against Saddam with the objective of changing the regime. By this time, he had openly and utterly rejected the inspections and the U.N. resolutions.

In November 1998, the Security Council passed a resolution declaring Saddam to be in "flagrant violation" of all resolutions going back to 1991. That meant that the cease-fire was terminated and the original authorization for the use of force against Saddam was reactivated. President Clinton ordered American forces into action in December 1998.

But the U.S. military operation was called off after only four days--apparently because President Clinton did not feel able to lead the country in war at a time when he was facing impeachment.

So inspections stopped. The U.S. ceased to take the lead. But the inspectors reported that as of the end of 1998 Saddam possessed major quantities of WMDs across a range of categories, and particularly in chemical and biological weapons and the means of delivering them by missiles. All the intelligence services of the world agreed on this.

From that time until late last year, Saddam was left undisturbed to do what he wished with this arsenal of weapons. The international system had given up its ability to monitor and deal with this threat. All through the years between 1998 and 2002 Saddam continued to act and speak and to rule Iraq as a rogue state.

President Bush made it clear by 2002, and against the background of 9/11, that Saddam must be brought into compliance. It was obvious that the world could not leave this situation as it was. The U.S. made the decision to continue to work within the scope of the Security Council resolutions--a long line of them--to deal with Saddam. After an extended and excruciating diplomatic effort, the Security Council late in 2002 passed Resolution 1441, which gave Saddam one final chance to comply or face military force. When on December 8, 2002, Iraq produced its required report, it was clear that Saddam was continuing to play games and to reject his obligations under international law. His report, thousands of pages long, did not in any way account for the remaining weapons of mass destruction that the U.N. inspectors had reported to be in existence as of the end of 1998. That assessment was widely agreed upon.

That should have been that. But the debate at the U.N. went on--and on. And as it went on it deteriorated. Instead of the focus being kept on Iraq and Saddam, France induced others to regard the problem as one of restraining the U.S.--a position that seemed to emerge from France's aspirations for greater influence in Europe and elsewhere. By March of 2003 it was clear that French diplomacy had resulted in splitting NATO, the European Union, and the Security Council . . . and probably convincing Saddam that he would not face the use of force. The French position, in effect, was to say that Saddam had begun to show signs of cooperation with the U.N. resolutions because more than 200,000 American troops were poised on Iraq's borders ready to strike him; so the U.S. should just keep its troops poised there for an indeterminate time to come, until presumably France would instruct us that we could either withdraw or go into action. This of course was impossible militarily, politically, and financially.

Where do we stand now? These key points need to be understood:

? There has never been a clearer case of a rogue state using its privileges of statehood to advance its dictator's interests in ways that defy and endanger the international state system.

? The international legal case against Saddam--17 resolutions--was unprecedented.

? The intelligence services of all involved nations and the U.N. inspectors over more than a decade all agreed that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction that posed a threat to international peace and security.

? Saddam had four undisturbed years to augment, conceal, disperse, or otherwise deal with his arsenal.

? He used every means to avoid cooperating or explaining what he has done with them. This refusal in itself was, under the U.N. resolutions, adequate grounds for resuming the military operation against him that had been put in abeyance in 1991 pending his compliance.

? President Bush, in ordering U.S. forces into action, stated that we were doing so under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 678 and 687, the original bases for military action against Saddam Hussein in 1991. Those who criticize the U.S. for unilateralism should recognize that no nation in the history of the United Nations has ever engaged in such a sustained and committed multilateral diplomatic effort to adhere to the principles of international law and international organization within the international system. In the end, it was the U.S. that upheld and acted in accordance with the U.N. resolutions on Iraq, not those on the Security Council who tried to stop us.

The question of weapons of mass destruction is just that: a question that remains to be answered, a mystery that must be solved. Just as we also must solve the mystery of how Libya and Iran developed menacing nuclear capability without detection, of how we were caught unaware of a large and flourishing black market in nuclear material--and of how we discovered these developments before they got completely out of hand and have put in place promising corrective processes. The question of Iraq's presumed stockpile of weapons will be answered, but that answer, however it comes out, will not affect the fully justifiable and necessary action that the coalition has undertaken to bring an end to Saddam Hussein's rule over Iraq. As Dr. David Kay put it in a Feb. 1 interview with Chris Wallace, "We know there were terrorist groups in state still seeking WMD capability. Iraq, although I found no weapons, had tremendous capabilities in this area. A marketplace phenomena was about to occur, if it did not occur; sellers meeting buyers. And I think that would have been very dangerous if the war had not intervened."
When asked by Mr. Wallace what the sellers could have sold if they didn't have actual weapons, Mr. Kay said: "The knowledge of how to make them, the knowledge of how to make small amounts, which is, after all, mostly what terrorists want. They don't want battlefield amounts of weapons. No, Iraq remained a very dangerous place in terms of WMD capabilities, even though we found no large stockpiles of weapons."

Above all, and in the long run, the most important aspect of the Iraq war will be what it means for the integrity of the international system and for the effort to deal effectively with terrorism. The stakes are huge and the terrorists know that as well as we do. That is the reason for their tactic of violence in Iraq. And that is why, for us and for our allies, failure is not an option. The message is that the U.S. and others in the world who recognize the need to sustain our international system will no longer quietly acquiesce in the take-over of states by lawless dictators who then carry on their depredations--including the development of awesome weapons for threats, use, or sale--behind the shield of protection that statehood provides. If you are one of these criminals in charge of a state, you no longer should expect to be allowed to be inside the system at the same time that you are a deadly enemy of it.

Sept. 11 forced us to comprehend the extent and danger of the challenge. We began to act before our enemy was able to extend and consolidate his network.

If we put this in terms of World War II, we are now sometime around 1937. In the 1930s, the world failed to do what it needed to do to head off a world war. Appeasement never works. Today we are in action. We must not flinch. With a powerful interplay of strength and diplomacy, we can win this war.

Mr. Shultz, a former secretary of state, is a distinguished fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. This is adapted from his Kissinger Lecture, given recently at the Library of Congress.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 09, 2004, 12:00:40 AM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

08 April 2004

Gaming Out Iraq


The United States is involved in its greatest military crisis
since the fall of Baghdad a year ago. This is the convergence of
two separate processes. The first is the apparent re-emergence of
the Sunni guerrillas west of Baghdad; the second is a split in
the Shiite community and an internal struggle that has targeted
the United States. In the worst-case scenario, these events could
have a disastrous outcome for the United States, but there are
reasons to think that the worst case is not the most likely at
this point.


The United States is experiencing its greatest military crisis in
Iraq since the fall of Baghdad on April 9, 2003. On the one hand,
the Sunni guerrillas that the United States appeared to have
defeated after the Ramadan offensive of October and November 2003
have not been destroyed. Although their role in triggering the
March 31 attack against U.S. civilian contractors in Al Fallujah
is an open question, they have benefited politically from the
U.S. cordon around the city and have taken shots at distracted
U.S. forces in the area, such as the U.S. Marines in Ar Ramadi.
On the other hand, a Shiite militia led by young cleric Moqtada
al-Sadr has launched an offensive in Baghdad and in a number of
cities in Iraq's south. U.S. intelligence expected none of this;
L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, had scheduled a
trip to Washington that he had to cancel hurriedly.

The offensives appear to challenge two fundamental strategic
assumptions that were made by U.S. planners. The first was that,
due to penetrations by U.S. intelligence, the Sunni insurgency
was deteriorating and would not restart. The second, much more
important assumption was that the United States had a strategic
understanding with the Shiite leadership that it would contain
anti-American military action south of Baghdad, and that -- and
this is critical -- they would under no circumstances collaborate
with the Sunnis.

It now appears that these basic premises are being rendered

Obviously, the Sunni guerrillas are still around, at least in the
Al Fallujah-Ar Ramadi corridor. U.S. efforts in that area of the
Sunni Triangle are aimed at finding those responsible for the
deaths and subsequent public mutilation of four U.S. civilian
contractors March 31. Current U.S. operations might be in
offensive mode -- suggesting that the Baathist guerrillas have
yet to fully regroup -- but as the siege of Al Fallujah drags on,
the potential grows for the insurgency to acquire sympathetic
recruits. Equally obviously, some of the Shia have taken up arms
against the United States, spreading the war to the region south
of Iraq. Finally, there are some reports of Sunni-Shiite
collaboration in the Baghdad area.

We might add that the outbreak west of Baghdad and the uprising
in the south could have been coincidental, but if so, it was one
amazing coincidence. Not liking coincidences ourselves -- and
fully understanding the contingent events that led to al-Sadr's
decision to strike -- we have to wonder about the degree to which
the events of the past week or so were planned.

If current trends accelerate, the United States faces a serious
military challenge that could lead to disaster. The United States
does not have the forces necessary to put down a broad-based
Shiite rising and crush the Sunni rebellion as well. Even the
current geography of the rising is beyond the capabilities of
existing deployments or any practicable number of additional
forces that might be made available. The United States is already
withdrawing from some cities. The logical outcome of all of this
would be an enclave strategy, in which the United States
concentrates its forces -- in a series of fortified locations --
perhaps excluding Iraqi nationals -- and leaves the rest of the
country to the guerrillas. That, of course, would raise the
question of why the United States should bother to remain in
Iraq, since those forces would not be able to exert effective
force either inside the country or beyond its borders.

That would force a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The consequences of
such a withdrawal would be catastrophic for the U.S. grand
strategy in the war against militant Islamists. One of the
purposes of the war was to disprove al Qaeda's assertion that the
United States was actually militarily weak and that it could not
engage in close combat in the Islamist world, certainly not in
the face of a mass uprising. An American withdrawal would prove
al Qaeda's claims and would energize Islamists not only with
hatred of the United States, but also -- and worse -- with
contempt for American power. It would create the worst of all
possible worlds for the United States.

It follows that the United States is going to do everything it
can to abort this process.

It also might well be that the process -- as we have laid it out
-- is faulty. The uprising in the Al Fallujah-Ar Ramadi corridor
might have peaked already. The al-Sadr rising perhaps does not
represent a reversal of Shiite strategic orientation, but is
primarily a self-contained, internal event about al-Sadr's
relationship with other Shiite clergy. The reports of
collaboration between Shia and Sunnis could be false or represent
a small set of cases.

These are the issues on which the conflict and the future of the
U.S. presence in Iraq turn. It is the hope of the guerrillas --
Sunni and Shiite -- to create a situation that compels a U.S.
withdrawal, either from the country or into fortified enclaves;
it is obviously the intention of the United States to prevent

The Sunni Threat

The Sunni part of the equation is the least threatening. If Sunni
guerrillas have managed to regroup, it is disturbing that U.S.
intelligence was unable to prevent the reorganization. But there
is a very real silver lining in this: One of the ways the
guerrillas might have been able to regroup without being detected
was by doing it on a relatively small scale, limiting their
organization to hundreds or even dozens of members.

Certainly, they have many more sympathizers than that, but a
careful distinction must be drawn -- and is not being drawn by
the media -- between sympathizers and guerrillas. Sympathizers
can riot -- they can even generate an intifada -- but that is not
the same as conducting guerrilla war. Guerrillas need a degree of
training, weapons and organization.

The paradox of guerrilla war is that the more successful a
guerrilla offensive, the more it opens the guerrillas to
counteraction by the enemy. In order to attack, they must
communicate, come out of hiding and converge on the target. At
that moment, they can be destroyed and -- more important --
captured. Throwing a large percentage of a guerrilla force into
an attack either breaks the enemy or turns into a guerrilla

The U.S. Marines west of Baghdad are not about to be broken.
Therefore, if our assumption about the relative size of the
guerrilla force and the high percentage that have been thrown
into this operation is correct, this force will not be able to
sustain the current level of operations much longer. If the
guerrilla force is large enough to sustain such operations, then
the U.S. intelligence failure is so huge as to be difficult to
comprehend. Protests and riots are problems and create a strain
on resources, but they do not fundamentally affect the ability of
the United States to remain engaged in Iraq.

The Shiite Threat

It is not the Sunni offensive that represents a threat, it is the
Shia. The question is simple: Does al-Sadr's rising represent a
fundamental shift in the Shiite community as a whole, or is it
simply a small faction of the Shia that has risen? The U.S.
command in Iraq has argued that al-Sadr represents a marginal
movement, at odds with the dominant Shiite leadership, lashing
out in a desperate attempt to change the internal dynamics of the
Shiite community.

For this analysis to be correct, a single fact must be true: Ali
al-Sistani, the grand ayatollah of the Iraqi Shia, is not only
opposed to al-Sadr, but also remains committed to carrying out
his basic bargain with the United States. If that is true, then
all will be well for the Americans in the end. If it is wrong,
then the worst-case scenarios have to be taken seriously.

The majority Iraqi Shiite population suffered greatly under the
regime of Saddam Hussein, which was dominated by the Sunni
minority. After the fall of Hussein, the Shia's primary interest
was in guaranteeing not only that a Sunni government would not
re-emerge, but also that the future of Iraq would be in the hands
of the Shia. This interest was shared by the Shia in Iran, who
also wanted to see a Shiite government emerge in order to secure
Iran's frontier from its historical enemy, Iraq.

The first U.S. impulse after the fall of Baghdad was that
Americans would govern Iraq indefinitely, on their terms -- and
without compromising with Iranian sympathizers. That plan was
blown out of the water by the unexpected emergence of a Sunni
guerrilla force. The United States needed indigenous help. Even
more than help, it needed guarantees that the Shia would not rise
up and render the U.S. presence in Iraq untenable.

The United States and the Shiite elites -- Iranian and Iraqi --
reached an accommodation: The United States guaranteed the Shia a
democratic government, which meant that the majority Shia would
dominate -- and the Shia maintained the peace in the south. They
did not so much collaborate with the Americans as maintain a
peace that permitted the United States to deal with the Sunnis.
The end state of all of this was to be a Shiite government that
would permit some level of U.S. forces to remain indefinitely in

As the Sunni rising subsided, the United States felt a decreased
dependency on the Shia. The transitional Iraqi government that is
slated to take power June 30 would not be an elected government,
but rather a complex coalition of groups -- including Shia, Kurds
and Sunnis, as well as small ethnic groups -- that would be
constituted so as to give all the players a say in the future. In
other words, the Shia would not get a Shiite-dominated government
June 30.

It was for this reason that al-Sistani began to agitate for
direct elections. He knew that the Shia would win that election
and that this was the surest path to direct Shiite power.
Washington argued there was not enough time for direct elections
-- a claim that was probably true -- but which the Shia saw as
the United States backpedaling on fundamental agreements. The
jury-rigged system the Americans wanted in place for a year would
give the Sunnis a chance to recover -- not the sort of recovery
the Shia wanted to see. Moreover, the Shia observed the quiet
romance between the United States and some key Sunni tribal
leaders after the capture of Hussein, and their distrust of long-
term U.S. motives grew.

Al-Sistani made it clear that he did not trust the transitional
plan and that he did not believe it protected Shiite interests or
represented American promises. The United States treated al-
Sistani with courtesy and respect but made it clear that it was
not planning to change its position.

In the meantime, a sea change had taken place in Iranian
politics, with a conservative government driving the would-be
reformers out of power. The conservatives did not object to the
deal with the United States, but they wanted to be certain that
the United States did not for a moment believe that the Iranians
were acting out of weakness. The continual hammering by the
United States on the nuclear issue with Iran convinced the
Iranians that the Washington did not fully appreciate the
position it was in.

As Iranian Expediency Council chief and former President Ali
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani bluntly put it Feb. 24: "They continue
to send us threatening messages and continue to raise the four
questions," referring to Washington's concerns about Iran's
nuclear program, opposition to the Middle East peace process,
alleged support of militant groups and human rights. "But they
are stuck in the mud in Iraq, and they know that if Iran wanted
to, it could make their problems even worse."

Al-Sistani did not want the June 30 transition to go forward on
U.S. terms. The Iranians did not want the United States to think
it had Iran on the defensive. A confrontation with the United
States under these circumstances was precisely what was in both
al-Sistani and Iran's interests. Both wanted to drive home to the
Americans that they held power in Iraq and that the United States
was there at the sufferance of the Shia. The United States had
forgotten its sense of desperation during the Sunni Ramadan
offensive, and the Shia needed to remind them -- but they needed
to do so without a rupture with Washington, which was, after all,
instrumental to their long-term plans.

Al-Sadr was the perfect instrument. He was dangerous, deniable
and manageable. U.S. officials have expressed surprise that al-
Sadr -- who they did not regard highly -- was able to create such
havoc. Obviously, al-Sistani could have dealt with al-Sadr if and
when he wished. But for the moment, al-Sistani didn't wish. He
wanted to show the Americans the abyss they faced if they
continued on the path to June 30 without modifying the plan.

The Americans have said al-Sistani has not been helpful in this
crisis. He is not ready to be helpful and won't be until a more
suitable understanding is reached with the United States. He will
act in due course because it is not in al-Sistani's interests to
allow al-Sadr to become too strong. Quite the contrary: Al-
Sistani runs the risk that the situation will get so far out of
hand that he will not be able to control it either. But al-
Sistani is too strong for al-Sadr to undermine, and al-Sadr is,
in fact, al-Sistani's pawn. Perhaps more precisely, al-Sadr is
al-Sistani's ace in the hole. Having played him, al-Sistani will
be as interested in liquidating al-Sadr's movement as the United
States is -- once Washington has modified its plans for a postwar

The worst-case scenario is not likely to happen. The Sunni
guerrillas are not a long-term threat. The Shia are a long-term
threat, but their interests are not in war with the United
States, but in achieving a Shiite-dominated Iraqi state as
quickly as possible -- without giving the United States an
opportunity to double-cross them. Al-Sistani demanded elections
and didn't get them. What he really wants is a different
transition process that gives the Shia more power. After the past
week, he is likely to get it. And Washington will not soon forget
who controls Iraq.

This will pass. But the strategic reality of the U.S. forces in
Iraq is permanent. Those forces are there because of the
sufferance of the Iraqi Shia. The Shia know it, and they want the
Americans to know it. With Washington planning an offensive in
Pakistan, the last thing it needs is to pump more forces into
Iraq. In due course, al-Sistani will become helpful, but the
price will be even higher than before.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 13, 2004, 05:23:50 AM

Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, April 13, 2004

A tenuous cease-fire between U.S. forces and Sunni militants in Al Fallujah more or less held April 12, and Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army pulled out of police stations in An Najaf, Karbala and Kufa. The slight reduction in clashes resulted from a series of bilateral negotiations -- arranged by members of the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and other civic and religious organizations -- between the coalition forces and various Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq.

For the United States, the respite is welcome after a week of intense
clashes across the country that appeared to be headed toward plunging the U.S. Iraq strategy into an abyss. But short-term solutions to the recently intensified fighting could have longer-term repercussions for U.S.
strategy -- an uncertainty Washington appears more willing to live with than the near certainty of chaos that was evolving last week.

For Washington, sending a clear, strong message to the militants in Al
Fallujah took a back seat to dealing with the rising of Shiite forces under
the leadership of al-Sadr. U.S. Marines last week surrounded Al Fallujah and were prepared to hunt down and kill those responsible for the late March deaths and mutilations of four U.S. civilian contractors. The message was to be clear and unmistakable: Such actions were unacceptable and anyone participating in them -- or sheltering those who participated -- would be punished to the maximum.

Just before U.S. forces moved into the city, clashes erupted elsewhere in
Iraq between al-Sadr's Mehdi Army and coalition forces. While the Al
Fallujah operation began, it was with a wary eye toward the larger threat of an apparent uprising among the Shia. In both cases, the U.S. military -- restricted by existing troop deployments and rules of engagement calling for minimal civilian casualties -- decided to call cease-fires and negotiate.

As Stratfor mentioned previously, the negotiations with the Sunnis -- via a
member of the IGC -- were a new step for the coalition, which had treated the Sunni militants as loosely organized bands of thugs with some foreign jihadists thrown in, not as a cohesive political-military entity with which it could negotiate. Even with the start of negotiations, it is not clear
that there is a cohesive unit representing the Sunni militants, much less
all of Iraq's minority Sunni population.

The point of negotiations is not so much to end all fighting with Sunni
militants -- no one expects that to happen anytime soon -- as to bring a
pause in the current fighting and to give the coalition forces a chance to
reassess the situation, particularly regarding al-Sadr and Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani. U.S. forces could not afford to face down the militants in
Al Fallujah and all of Iraq's Shia if they had risen up over the weekend.
The trickle of signs that Shiite and Sunni forces were joining -- at least
on a neighborhood level in some areas of the country -- presented a serious potential challenge to U.S. operations.

Although the short-term need to stem the fighting required negotiations with the Sunnis in Al Fallujah, the message it sends could be counterproductive in the long run. When the Marines began the operation in Al Fallujah, they used a strong show of force, calling in AC-130 gunships, helicopters and an air strike that employed 500-pound bombs. There was a systematic movement of Marines into areas of the city, sweeping buildings and hunting down anyone believed to be linked to militants.

Going partway in and then offering a pause -- for humanitarian or other
reasons -- is likely to be interpreted by foreign jihadists and local Sunni
militants as a sign of weakness on the part of the United States. The
negotiations under way now do not appear to have any element of requiring the people or leaders of Al Fallujah to give up those responsible for the March attack on the U.S. contractors -- one of the stated reasons for the current operation -- nor do they seem to require the surrender of all foreign jihadists.

The message is clear in the city: The United States might threaten and come in hard, but its aversion to civilian casualties -- and to taking casualties of its own -- will leave it weak in the end. As Sun Tzu said in "The Art of War," "One who is at first excessively brutal and then fears the masses is the pinnacle of stupidity." While Sun Tzu was talking about the command of troops, and the U.S. was not "excessively brutal" in its assault on Al Fallujah, the sense is clear. If you are going to make a show of strength, don't follow it with the appearance that you fear the consequences.

While the militants in Al Fallujah could calm down with the involvement of
IGC negotiators, ultimately, the underlying issue has not been resolved.
There is still a city that serves as a haven for anti-coalition forces, and
punishment has not been meted out -- leaving the militants convinced that
the harder they hit the U.S. forces, the more averse the United States will
be to engaging in urban warfare. This could come back to haunt coalition
efforts in the future.

When al-Sadr's forces rose up over the last week, it was clear that he was
counting on U.S. fear to press his case. In October 2003, when his followers clashed with coalition troops, it took only the threat of his arrest to calm him down. This time around, the threat of arrest was taken as a challenge and a rallying cry. There was little belief by al-Sadr and his top team that the U.S. forces would go through with it this time because they did not follow through last time.

Beyond the battlefield, the joint bilateral negotiations have one more
significant impact on U.S. plans for Iraq. The deals being offered to the
Sunni and Shiite factions are being made with a short-term goal in mind: to stem the current flare-up of violence. But when it comes to negotiating the makeup of the transitional government, Washington is unlikely to be able to keep whatever promises it has made to both the Shia and the Sunnis -- rivals for political control of Iraq. That will leave Washington once again in a position where it is unwilling and unable to satisfy all sides -- and a repeat of last week's violence could be in the offing.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 15, 2004, 09:26:44 AM
Woof All:

This one is quite long.  I recommend it highly.


The Fruits of Appeasement
Victor Davis Hanson

Imagine a different November 4, 1979, in Teheran. Shortly after Iranian terrorists storm the American embassy and take some 90 American hostages, President Jimmy Carter announces that Islamic fundamentalism is not a legitimate response to the excess of the Shah but a new and dangerous fascism that threatens all that liberal society holds dear. And then he issues an ultimatum to Teheran?s leaders: Release the captives or face a devastating military response.

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran?s assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the UN, Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini may well have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Iranian-backed Hezbollah would take four years later in a single day in Lebanon). And there may well have been the sort of chaos in Teheran that we now witness in Baghdad. But we would have seen it all in 1979?and not in 2001, after almost a quarter-century of continuous Middle East terrorism, culminating in the mass murder of 3,000 Americans and the leveling of the World Trade Center.

The twentieth century should have taught the citizens of liberal democracies the catastrophic consequences of placating tyrants. British and French restraint over the occupation of the Rhineland, the Anschluss, the absorption of the Czech Sudetenland, and the incorporation of Bohemia and Moravia did not win gratitude but rather Hitler?s contempt for their weakness. Fifty million dead, the Holocaust, and the near destruction of European civilization were the wages of ?appeasement??a term that early-1930s liberals proudly embraced as far more enlightened than the old idea of ?deterrence? and ?military readiness.?

So too did Western excuses for the Russians? violation of guarantees of free elections in postwar Eastern Europe, China, and Southeast Asia only embolden the Soviet Union. What eventually contained Stalinism was the Truman Doctrine, NATO, and nuclear deterrence?not the United Nations?and what destroyed its legacy was Ronald Reagan?s assertiveness, not Jimmy Carter?s accommodation or Richard Nixon?s d?tente.

As long ago as the fourth century b.c., Demosthenes warned how complacency and self-delusion among an affluent and free Athenian people allowed a Macedonian thug like Philip II to end some four centuries of Greek liberty?and in a mere 20 years of creeping aggrandizement down the Greek peninsula. Thereafter, these historical lessons should have been clear to citizens of any liberal society: we must neither presume that comfort and security are our birthrights and are guaranteed without constant sacrifice and vigilance, nor expect that peoples outside the purview of bourgeois liberalism share our commitment to reason, tolerance, and enlightened self-interest.

Most important, military deterrence and the willingness to use force against evil in its infancy usually end up, in the terrible arithmetic of war, saving more lives than they cost. All this can be a hard lesson to relearn each generation, especially now that we contend with the sirens of the mall, Oprah, and latte. Our affluence and leisure are as antithetical to the use of force as rural life and relative poverty once were catalysts for muscular action. The age-old lure of appeasement?perhaps they will cease with this latest concession, perhaps we provoked our enemies, perhaps demonstrations of our future good intentions will win their approval?was never more evident than in the recent Spanish elections, when an affluent European electorate, reeling from the horrific terrorist attack of 3/11, swept from power the pro-U.S. center-right government on the grounds that the mass murders were more the fault of the United States for dragging Spain into the effort to remove fascists and implant democracy in Iraq than of the primordial al-Qaidist culprits, who long ago promised the Western and Christian Iberians ruin for the Crusades and the Reconquista.

What went wrong with the West?and with the United States in particular?when not just the classical but especially the recent antecedents to September 11, from the Iranian hostage-taking to the attack on the USS Cole, were so clear? Though Americans in an election year, legitimately concerned about our war dead, may now be divided over the Iraqi occupation, polls nevertheless show a surprising consensus that the many precursors to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings were acts of war, not police matters. Roll the tape backward from the USS Cole in 2000, through the bombing of the Khobar Towers and the U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998, the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the destruction of the American embassy and annex in Beirut in 1983, the mass murder of 241 U.S. Marine peacekeepers asleep in their Lebanese barracks that same year, and assorted kidnappings and gruesome murders of American citizens and diplomats (including TWA Flight 800, Pan Am 103, William R. Higgins, Leon Klinghoffer, Robert Dean Stethem, and CIA operative William Francis Buckley), until we arrive at the Iranian hostage-taking of November 1979: that debacle is where we first saw the strange brew of Islamic fascism, autocracy, and Middle East state terrorism?and failed to grasp its menace, condemn it, and go to war against it.

That lapse, worth meditating upon in this 25th anniversary year of Khomeinism, then set the precedent that such aggression against the United States was better adjudicated as a matter of law than settled by war. Criminals were to be understood, not punished; and we, not our enemies, were at fault for our past behavior. Whether Carter?s impotence sprang from his deep-seated moral distrust of using American power unilaterally or from real remorse over past American actions in the cold war or even from his innate pessimism about the military capability of the United States mattered little to the hostage takers in Teheran, who for some 444 days humiliated the United States through a variety of public demands for changes in U.S. foreign policy, the return of the exiled Shah, and reparations.

But if we know how we failed to respond in the last three decades, do we yet grasp why we were so afraid to act decisively at these earlier junctures, which might have stopped the chain of events that would lead to the al-Qaida terrorist acts of September 11? Our failure was never due to a lack of the necessary wealth or military resources, but rather to a deeply ingrained assumption that we should not retaliate?a hesitancy al-Qaida perceives and plays upon.

Along that sad succession of provocations, we can look back and see particularly critical turning points that reflected this now-institutionalized state policy of worrying more about what the enemy was going to do to us than we to him, to paraphrase Grant?s dictum: not hammering back after the murder of the marines in Lebanon for fear of ending up like the Israelis in a Lebanese quagmire; not going to Baghdad in 1991 because of paranoia that the ?coalition? would collapse and we would polarize the Arabs; pulling abruptly out of Somalia once pictures of American bodies dragged through the streets of Mogadishu were broadcast around the world; or turning down offers in 1995 from Sudan to place Usama bin Ladin into our custody, for fear that U.S. diplomats or citizens might be murdered abroad.

Throughout this tragic quarter-century of appeasement, our response usually consisted of a stern lecture by a Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, or Bill Clinton about ?never giving in to terrorist blackmail? and ?not negotiating with terrorists.? Even Ronald Reagan?s saber-rattling ?You can run but not hide? did not preclude trading arms to the Iranian terrorists or abruptly abandoning Lebanon after the horrific Hezbollah attack.

Sometimes a half-baked failed rescue mission, or a battleship salvo, cruise missile, or air strike followed?but always accompanied by a weeklong debate by conservatives over ?exit strategies? and ?mission creep,? while liberals fretted about ?consultations with our allies and the United Nations.? And remember: these pathetic military responses were the hawkish actions that earned us the resignation of a furious Cyrus Vance, the abrogation of overflight rights by concerned ?allies? such as France, and a national debate about what we did to cause such animosity in the first place.

Our enemies and Middle Eastern ?friends? alike sneered at our self-flagellation. In 1991, at great risk, the United States freed Kuwait from Iraq and ended its status as the 19th satrapy of Saddam Hussein?only to watch the restored kingdom ethnically cleanse over a third of a million Palestinians. But after the murder of 3,000 Americans in 2001, Kuwaitis, in a February 2002 Gallup poll (and while they lobbied OPEC to reduce output and jack up prices), revealed an overwhelming distaste for Americans?indeed the highest levels of anti-Americanism in the Arab world. And these ethnic cleansers of Palestinians cited America?s purportedly unfair treatment of the Palestinians (recipients of accumulated billions in American aid) as a prime cause of their dislike of us.

In the face of such visceral anti-Americanism, the problem may not be real differences over the West Bank, much less that ?we are not getting the message out?; rather, in the decade since 1991 the Middle East saw us as a great power that neither could nor would use its strength to advance its ideas?that lacked even the intellectual confidence to argue for our civilization before the likes of a tenth-century monarchy. The autocratic Arab world neither respects nor fears a democratic United States, because it rightly senses that we often talk in principled terms but rarely are willing to invest the time, blood, and treasure to match such rhetoric with concrete action. That?s why it is crucial for us to stay in Iraq to finish the reconstruction and cement the achievement of our three-week victory over Saddam.

It is easy to cite post-Vietnam guilt and shame as the likely culprit for our paralysis. After all, Jimmy Carter came in when memories of capsizing boat people and of American helicopters lifting swarms of panicked diplomats off the roof of the Saigon embassy were fresh. In 1980, he exited in greater shame: his effusive protestations that Soviet communism wasn?t something to fear all that much won him the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, while his heralded ?human rights? campaign was answered by the Ortegas in Nicaragua and the creation of a murderous theocracy in Iran. Yet perhaps President Carter was not taking the American people anywhere they didn?t want to go. After over a decade of prior social unrest and national humiliation in Vietnam, many Americans believed that the United States either could not or should not do much about things beyond its shores.

As time wore on and the nightmare of Vietnam began to fade, fear of the Soviet Union kept us from crushing the terrorists who killed our diplomats and blew up our citizens. These were no idle fears, given the Russians? record of butchering 30 million of their own, stationing 300 divisions on Europe?s borders, and pointing 7,000 nukes at the United States. And fear of their malevolence made eminent sense in the volatile Middle East, where the Russians made direct threats to the Israelis in both the 1967 and 1973 wars, when the Syrian, Egyptian, and Iraqi militaries?trained, supplied, and advised by Russians?were on the verge of annihilation. Russian support for Nasser?s Pan-Arabism and for Baathism in Iraq and Syria rightly worried cold warriors, who sensed that the Soviets had their geopolitical eyes on Middle East oil and a stranglehold over Persian Gulf commerce.

Indeed, these twin pillars of the old American Middle East policy?worry over oil and fear of communists?reigned for nearly half a century, between 1945 and 1991. Such realism, however understandable, was counterproductive in the long run, since our tacit support for odious anti-communist governments in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, and North Africa did not address the failure of such autocracies to provide prosperity and hope for exploding populations of increasingly poor and angry citizens. We kept Russians out of the oil fields and ensured safe exports of petroleum to Europe, Japan, and the United States?but at what proved to be the steep price of allowing awful regimes to deflect popular discontent against us.

Nor was realpolitik always effective. Such illegitimate Arab regimes as the Saudi royal family initiated several oil embargoes, after all. And meanwhile, such a policy did not deter the Soviets from busily selling high-tech weaponry to Libya, Syria, and Iraq, while the KGB helped to train and fund almost every Arab terrorist group. And indeed, immediately after the 1991 Iraqi takeover of Kuwait, U.S. intelligence officers discovered that Soviet-trained Abu Nidal, Abu Abbas, and Abu Ibrahim had flocked to Baghdad on the invitation of the Baathist Saddam Hussein: though the Soviet Union did not interrupt Western petroleum commerce, its well-supplied surrogates did their fair share of murdering.

Neither thirst for petroleum nor fear of communists, then, adequately explains our inaction for most of the tumultuous late 1980s and 1990s, when groups like Hezbollah and al-Qaida came on to the world scene. Gorbachev?s tottering empire had little inclination to object too strenuously when the United States hit Libya in 1986, recall, and thanks to the growing diversity and fungibility of the global oil supply, we haven?t had a full-fledged Arab embargo since 1979.

Instead, the primary cause for our surprising indifference to the events leading up to September 11 lies within ourselves. Westerners always have had a propensity for complacency because of our wealth and freedom; and Americans in particular have enjoyed a comfortable isolation in being separated from the rest of the world by two oceans. Yet during the last four presidential administrations, laxity about danger on the horizon seems to have become more ingrained than in the days when a more robust United States sought to thwart communist intrusion into Arabia, Asia, and Africa.

Americans never viewed terrorist outlaw states with the suspicion they once had toward Soviet communism; they put little pressure on their leaders to crack down on Middle Eastern autocracy and theocracy as a threat to security. At first this indifference was understandable, given the stealthy nature of our enemies and the post?cold war relief that, having toppled the Soviet Union and freed millions in Eastern Europe, we might be at the end of history. Even the bloodcurdling anti-American shouts from the Beirut street did not seem as scary as a procession of intercontinental missiles and tanks on an average May Day parade in Moscow.

Hezbollah, al-Qaida, and the PLO were more like fleas on a sleeping dog: bothersome rather than lethal; to be flicked away occasionally rather than systematically eradicated. Few paid attention to Usama bin Ladin?s infamous February 1998 fatwa: ?The rule to kill Americans and their allies?civilians and military?is a sacred duty for any Muslim.? Those who noticed thought it just impotent craziness, akin to Sartre?s fatuous quip during the Vietnam War that he wished for a nuclear strike against the United States to end its imperial aspirations. No one thought that a raving maniac in an Afghan cave could kill more Americans in a single day than the planes of the Japanese imperial fleet off Pearl Harbor.

But still, how did things as odious to liberal sensibilities as Pan-Arabism, Islamic fundamentalism, and Middle Eastern dictatorship?which squashed dissent, mocked religious tolerance, and treated women as chattel?become reinvented into ?alternate discourses? deserving a sympathetic pass from the righteous anger of the United States when Americans were murdered overseas? Was it that spokesmen for terrorist regimes mimicked the American Left?in everything from dress, vocabulary, and appearances on the lecture circuit?and so packaged their extremism in a manner palatable to Americans? Why, after all, were Americans patient with remonstrations from University of Virginia alumna Hanan Ashrawi, rather than asking precisely how such a wealthy Christian PLO apparatchik really felt about the Palestinian Authority?s endemic corruption, the spendthrift Parisian Mrs. Arafat, the terrorists around Arafat himself, the spate of ?honor killings? of women in the West Bank, the censorship of the Palestinian press, suicide murdering by Arafat affiliates, and the lynching of suspects by Palestinian police?

Rather than springing from realpolitik, sloth, or fear of oil cutoffs, much of our appeasement of Middle Eastern terrorists derived from a new sort of anti-Americanism that thrived in the growing therapeutic society of the 1980s and 1990s. Though the abrupt collapse of communism was a dilemma for the Left, it opened as many doors as it shut. To be sure, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, few Marxists could argue for a state-controlled economy or mouth the old romance about a workers? paradise?not with scenes of East German families crammed into smoking clunkers lumbering over potholed roads, like American pioneers of old on their way west. But if the creed of the socialist republics was impossible to take seriously in either economic or political terms, such a collapse of doctrinaire statism did not discredit the gospel of forced egalitarianism and resentment against prosperous capitalists. Far from it.

If Marx receded from economics departments, his spirit reemerged among our intelligentsia in the novel guises of post-structuralism, new historicism, multiculturalism, and all the other dogmas whose fundamental tenet was that white male capitalists had systematically oppressed women, minorities, and Third World people in countless insidious ways. The font of that collective oppression, both at home and abroad, was the rich, corporate, Republican, and white United States.

The fall of the Soviet Union enhanced these newer post-colonial and liberation fields of study by immunizing their promulgators from charges of fellow-traveling or being dupes of Russian expansionism. Communism?s demise likewise freed these trendy ideologies from having to offer some wooden, unworkable Marxist alternative to the West; thus they could happily remain entirely critical, sarcastic, and cynical without any obligation to suggest something better, as witness the nihilist signs at recent protest marches proclaiming: ?I Love Iraq, Bomb Texas.?

From writers like Arundhati Roy and Michel Foucault (who anointed Khomeini ?a kind of mystic saint? who would usher in a new ?political spirituality? that would ?transfigure? the world) and from old standbys like Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre (?to shoot down a European is to kill two birds with one stone, to destroy an oppressor and the man he oppresses at the same time?), there filtered down a vague notion that the United States and the West in general were responsible for Third World misery in ways that transcended the dull old class struggle. Endemic racism and the legacy of colonialism, the oppressive multinational corporation and the humiliation and erosion of indigenous culture brought on by globalization and a smug, self-important cultural condescension?all this and more explained poverty and despair, whether in Damascus, Teheran, or Beirut.

There was victim status for everybody, from gender, race, and class at home to colonialism, imperialism, and hegemony abroad. Anyone could play in these ?area studies? that cobbled together the barrio, the West Bank, and the ?freedom fighter? into some sloppy global union of the oppressed?a far hipper enterprise than rehashing Das Kapital or listening to a six-hour harangue from Fidel.

Of course, pampered Western intellectuals since Diderot have always dreamed up a ?noble savage,? who lived in harmony with nature precisely because of his distance from the corruption of Western civilization. But now this fuzzy romanticism had an updated, political edge: the bearded killer and wild-eyed savage were not merely better than we because they lived apart in a pre-modern landscape. No: they had a right to strike back and kill modernizing Westerners who had intruded into and disrupted their better world?whether Jews on Temple Mount, women in Westernized dress in Teheran, Christian missionaries in Kabul, capitalist profiteers in Islamabad, whiskey-drinking oilmen in Riyadh, or miniskirted tourists in Cairo.

An Ayatollah Khomeini who turned back the clock on female emancipation in Iran, who murdered non-Muslims, and who refashioned Iranian state policy to hunt down, torture, and kill liberals nevertheless seemed to liberal Western eyes as preferable to the Shah?a Western-supported anti-communist, after all, who was engaged in the messy, often corrupt task of bringing Iran from the tenth to the twentieth century, down the arduous, dangerous path that, as in Taiwan or South Korea, might eventually lead to a consensual, capitalist society like our own.

Yet in the new world of utopian multiculturalism and knee-jerk anti-Americanism, in which a Noam Chomsky could proclaim Khomeini?s gulag to be ?independent nationalism,? reasoned argument was futile. Indeed, how could critical debate arise for those ?committed to social change,? when no universal standards were to be applied to those outside the West? Thanks to the doctrine of cultural relativism, ?oppressed? peoples either could not be judged by our biased and ?constructed? values (?false universals,? in Edward Said?s infamous term) or were seen as more pristine than ourselves, uncorrupted by the evils of Western capitalism.

Who were we to gainsay Khomeini?s butchery and oppression? We had no way of understanding the nuances of his new liberationist and ?nationalist? Islam. Now back in the hands of indigenous peoples, Iran might offer the world an alternate path, a different ?discourse? about how to organize a society that emphasized native values (of some sort) over mere profit.

So at precisely the time of these increasingly frequent terrorist attacks, the silly gospel of multiculturalism insisted that Westerners have neither earned the right to censure others, nor do they possess the intellectual tools to make judgments about the relative value of different cultures. And if the initial wave of multiculturalist relativism among the elites?coupled with the age-old romantic forbearance for Third World roguery?explained tolerance for early unpunished attacks on Americans, its spread to our popular culture only encouraged more.

This nonjudgmentalism?essentially a form of nihilism?deemed everything from Sudanese female circumcision to honor killings on the West Bank merely ?different? rather than odious. Anyone who has taught freshmen at a state university can sense the fuzzy thinking of our undergraduates: most come to us prepped in high schools not to make ?value judgments? about ?other? peoples who are often ?victims? of American ?oppression.? Thus, before female-hating psychopath Mohamed Atta piloted a jet into the World Trade Center, neither Western intellectuals nor their students would have taken him to task for what he said or condemned him as hypocritical for his parasitical existence on Western society. Instead, without logic but with plenty of romance, they would more likely have excused him as a victim of globalization or of the biases of American foreign policy. They would have deconstructed Atta?s promotion of anti-Semitic, misogynist, Western-hating thought, as well as his conspiracies with Third World criminals, as anything but a danger and a pathology to be remedied by deportation or incarceration.

It was not for nothing that on November 17, 1979?less than two weeks after the militants stormed the American embassy in Teheran?the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the release of 13 female and black hostages, singling them out as part of the brotherhood of those oppressed by the United States and cloaking his ongoing slaughter of Iranian opponents and attacks on United States sovereignty in a self-righteous anti-Americanism. Twenty-five years later, during the anti-war protests of last spring, a group called ?Act Now to Stop War and End Racism? sang the same foolish chorus in its call for demonstrations: ?Members of the Muslim Community, Antiwar Activists, Latin-American Solidarity Groups and People From All Over the United States Unite to Say: ?We Are All Palestinians!? ?

The new cult of romantic victimhood became gospel in most Middle East departments in American universities. Except for the courageous Bernard Lewis, Daniel Pipes, and Fouad Ajami, few scholars offered any analysis that might confirm more astute Americans in their vague sense that in the Middle East, political autocracy, statism, tribalism, anti-intellectualism, and gender apartheid accounted for poverty and failure. And if few wished to take on Islamofascism in the 1990s?indeed, Steven Emerson?s chilling 1994 documentary Jihad in America set off a storm of protest from U.S. Muslim-rights groups and prompted death threats to the producer?almost no one but Samuel Huntington dared even to broach the taboo subject that there might be elements within doctrinaire Islam itself that could easily lead to intolerance and violence and were therefore at the root of any ?clash of civilizations.?

Instead, most experts explained why violent fanatics might have some half-legitimate grievance behind their deadly harvest each year of a few Americans in the wrong place at the wrong time. These experts cautioned that, instead of bombing and shooting killers abroad who otherwise would eventually reach us at home, Americans should take care not to disturb Iranian terrorists during Ramadan?rather than to remember that Muslims attacked Israel precisely during that holy period. Instead of condemning Wahhabis for the fascists that they were, we were instead apprised that such holy men of the desert and tent provided a rapidly changing and often Western-corrupted Saudi Arabia with a vital tether to the stability of its romantic nomadic past. Rather than recognizing that Yasser Arafat?s Tunisia-based Fatah organization was a crime syndicate, expert opinion persuaded us to empower it as an indigenous liberation movement on the West Bank?only to destroy nearly two decades? worth of steady Palestinian economic improvement.

Neither oil-concerned Republicans nor multicultural Democrats were ready to expose the corrupt American relationship with Saudi Arabia. No country is more culpable than that kingdom in funding extremist madrassas and subsidizing terror, or more antithetical to liberal American values from free speech to religious tolerance. But Saudi propagandists learned from the Palestinians the value of constructing their own victimhood as a long-oppressed colonial people. Call a Saudi fundamentalist mullah a fascist, and you can be sure you?ll be tarred as an Islamophobe.

Even when Middle Easterners regularly blew us up, the Clinton administration, unwilling to challenge the new myth of Muslim victimhood, transformed Middle Eastern terrorists bent on destroying America into wayward individual criminals who did not spring from a pathological culture. Thus, Clinton treated the first World Trade Center bombing as only a criminal justice matter?which of course allowed the United States to avoid confronting the issue and taking on the messy and increasingly unpopular business the Bush administration has been engaged in since September 11. Clinton dispatched FBI agents, not soldiers, to Yemen and Saudi Arabia after the attacks on the USS Cole and the Khobar Towers. Yasser Arafat, responsible in the 1970s for the murder of a U.S. diplomat in the Sudan, turned out to be the most frequent foreign visitor to the Clinton Oval Office.

If the Clintonian brand of appeasement reflected both a deep-seated tolerance for Middle Eastern extremism and a reluctance to wake comfortable Americans up to the danger of a looming war, he was not the only one naive about the threat of Islamic fascism. Especially culpable was the Democratic Party at large, whose post-Vietnam foreign policy could not sanction the use of American armed force to protect national interests but only to accomplish purely humanitarian ends as in the interventions in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia.

Indeed, the recent Democratic primaries reveal just how far this disturbing trend has evolved: the foreign-policy positions of John Kerry and Howard Dean on Iraq and the Middle East were far closer to those of extremists like Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich than to current American policy under George W. Bush. Indeed, buffoons or conspiracy theorists like Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Al Franken often turned up on the same stage as would-be presidents. When Moore, while endorsing Wesley Clark, called an American president at a time of war a ?deserter,? when the mendacious Sharpton lectured his smiling fellow candidates on the Bush administration?s ?lies? about Iraq, and when Al Gore labeled the president?s action in Iraq a ?betrayal? of America, the surrender of the mainstream Democrats to the sirens of extremism was complete. Again, past decorum and moderation go out the window when the pretext is saving indigenous peoples from American oppression.

The consensus for appeasement that led to September 11, albeit suppressed for nearly two years by outrage over the murder of 3,000, has reemerged in criticism over the ongoing reconstruction of Iraq and George Bush?s prosecution of the War on Terror.

The tired voices that predicted a litany of horrors in October 2001?the impassable peaks of Afghanistan, millions of refugees, endemic starvation, revolution in the Arab street, and violations of Ramadan?now complain, incorrectly, that 150,000 looted art treasures were the cost of guarding the Iraqi oil ministry, that Halliburton pipelines and refineries were the sole reason to remove Saddam Hussein, and that Christian fundamentalists and fifth-columnist neoconservatives have fomented a senseless revenge plot against Muslims and Arabs. Whether they complained before March 2003 that America faced death and ruin against Saddam?s Republican Guard, or two months later that in bullying fashion we had walked over a suddenly impotent enemy, or three months later still that, through incompetence, we were taking casualties and failing to get the power back on, leftist critics? only constant was their predictable dislike of America.

Military historians might argue that, given the enormity of our task in Iraq?liberating 26 million from a tyrant and implanting democracy in the region?the tragic loss of more than 500 Americans in a year?s war and peace was a remarkable sign of our care and expertise in minimizing deaths. Diplomats might argue that our past efforts at humanitarian reconstruction, with some idealistic commitment to consensual government, have a far better track record in Germany, Japan, Korea, Panama, and Serbia than our strategy of exiting Germany after World War I, of leaving Iraq to Saddam after 1991, of abandoning Afghanistan to the Taliban once the Russians were stopped, of skipping out from Haiti or of fleeing Somalia. Realist students of arms control might argue that the recent confessions of Pakistan?s nuclear roguery, the surrender of the Libyan arsenal, and the invitation of the UN inspectors into Iran were the dividends of resolute American action in Iraq. Colonel Khadafy surely came clean not because of Jimmy Carter?s peace missions, UN resolutions, or EU diplomats.

But don?t expect any sober discussion of these contentions from the Left. Their gloom and doom about Iraq arises precisely from the anti-Americanism and romanticization of the Third World that once led to our appeasement and now seeks its return. When John Kerry talks of mysterious prominent Europeans he has met (but whose names he will not divulge) who, he says, pray for his election in hopes of ending George Bush?s Iraqi nightmare, perhaps he has in mind people like the Chamberlainesque European Commission president Romano Prodi, who said in the wake of the recent mass murder in Spain: ?Clearly, the conflict with the terrorists is not resolved with force alone.? Perhaps he has in mind, also, the Spanish electorate, which believes it can find security from al-Qaida terrorism by refuting all its past support for America?s role in the Middle East. But of course if the terrorists understand that, in lieu of resolve, they will find such appeasement a mere 48 hours after a terrorist attack, then all previously resolute Western democracies?Italy, Poland, Britain, and the United States?should expect the terrorists to murder their citizens on the election eve in hopes of achieving just such a Spanish-style capitulation.

In contrast, George W. Bush, impervious to such self-deception, has, in a mere two and a half years, reversed the perilous course of a quarter-century. Since September 11, he has removed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, begun to challenge the Middle East through support for consensual government, isolated Yasser Arafat, pressured the Europeans on everything from anti-Semitism to their largesse to Hamas, removed American troops from Saudi Arabia, shut down fascistic Islamic ?charities,? scattered al-Qaida, turned Pakistan from a de facto foe to a scrutinized neutral, rounded up terrorists in the United States, pressured Libya, Iran, and Pakistan to come clean on clandestine nuclear cheating, so far avoided another September 11?and promises that he is not nearly done yet. If the Spanish example presages further terrorist attacks on European democracies at election time, at least Mr. Bush has made it clear that America?alone if need be?will neither appease nor ignore such killers but in fact finish the terrible war that they started.

As Jimmy Carter also proved in November 1979, one man really can make a difference.
Title: "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste."
Post by: Russ on April 19, 2004, 02:00:39 PM
April 18, 2004
      Kicking Over the Chessboard

      At first, I thought I'd write a column that just ripped President Bush
for declaring that the United States ? after decades of neutrality ? has
decided to oppose the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel as
part of any final peace settlement. Why is the president dragging America
into the middle of this most sensitive Israeli-Palestinian issue? You're
telling me that just because Ariel Sharon has to persuade the right-wing
lunatics in his cabinet to undo the lunatic settlement mess that Mr. Sharon
himself created, America has to pay for it with its own standing in the Arab

      And while I was at it, I also thought I'd write that it is an
abomination for Mr. Bush to say that Palestinians had to recognize "the new
realities on the ground" in the West Bank ? the massive Israeli settlement
blocks ? without even mentioning the fact that those "new realities" were
built in defiance of stated U.S. policy and they have been just devastating
to Palestinian civilians, who've seen their lands confiscated, olive groves
uprooted and community fragmented.

      But then I thought I also had to write to the Arab leaders wailing
over the Bush statements and ask them a simple question: Where have you
been? Saudi Arabia's crown prince comes up with one peace plan, one time,
for one day. That was it. There's been no follow-up ? not a single
imaginative, or even pedestrian, Saudi, Arab or Palestinian initiative to
sell this peace plan to the Israeli people. And what did the Palestinians
think? That years of insane suicide bombing of Israelis wouldn't drive
Israel to act unilaterally?

      But after I got all these prospective columns off my chest, I decided
what I really wanted to say was this: I'm fed up with the Middle East, or
more accurately, I'm fed up with the stalemate in the Middle East. All it
has produced is death, destruction and endless "he hit me first" debates on
cable television. Arabs, Israelis, Americans ? everyone is sick of it.

      So now President Bush has stepped in and thrown the whole frozen
Middle East chessboard up in the air. I don't like his style, but it's done.
The status quo was no better. So, frankly, now I'm only interested in three

      First, will Mr. Sharon win the backing of his right-wing coalition for
his Gaza withdrawal plan ? which has set off the biggest ideological split
in the Jewish right since Camp David? If Mr. Sharon really does split his
party and manages to withdraw all Israeli settlements and forces from Gaza,
there will only be a far right in Israel and a far left, and a huge center ?
which is what stable, sane politics requires. That would be a sea change in
Israeli politics. Israelis will prove to themselves and to the Arabs that
they can, under the right conditions, break the grip of the settlers. The
Arabs will never again be able to say: "Why should we do anything? Israel
will never leave the settlements anyway." Moreover, Israel will very likely
have to form a national unity government ? of Labor and Likud ? to pull this
off, and only such a coalition could reach a negotiated final peace with the

      Second, will the Bush team make sure that Mr. Sharon, or his
successor, fully withdraws from Gaza as promised? The Bush folks are experts
at throwing up chessboards and then leaving the room, with the pieces
bouncing all over the floor, and not doing the follow-up (see Iraq) because
it interferes with their domestic political agenda. Having given up real
U.S. negotiating assets to get Mr. Sharon to move, if Mr. Bush turns a blind
eye to any Sharon stalling, U.S. interests will be badly damaged.

      Finally, if Mr. Sharon does pull out of Gaza, the Palestinians will
have a chance to reposition themselves in the eyes of Israelis. They will
have a chance to build a decent ministate of their own in Gaza that will
prove to Israelis they can live in peace next to Israel. It will be hard and
they will need help. Gaza is dirt poor. But if the Palestinians show they
can build a decent state, it will do more to persuade Israelis to give up
more of the West Bank, or swap land there for parts of Israel, than any Bush
statements or Hamas terror. This is the best chance Palestinians have ever
had to run their own house without the Israelis around. I wish them well,
because if they do well, everything will be on the table.

      This is a real crisis for all parties. And as Paul Romer, the Stanford
economist, remarked to me the other day about a different issue: "A crisis
is a terrible thing to waste."

Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on April 20, 2004, 07:05:26 AM
I respect Friedman and enjoy reading his pieces, but in a couple of ways I found this one wide of the mark.

The "right of return" has been a non-starter for a long, long time and even more so now.  With the murderous frenzy of the killer bombers, ever growing since Arafat rejected a fine peace offer and started the most recent Intifada, the Israelis would have to be insane to consider such a thing.  

As for the settlements, the first thing to be noted is that when Egypt gave peace, it got the Sinai back.  For a long time after the 1973 War, Israel wanted to do the same with the West Bank but, well, we see what they have been dealing with.

Question:  Why is the West Bank no longer part of Jordan?  Why do most people not even know that it was?

Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 23, 2004, 08:55:31 AM
22 April 2004

The Al Fallujah Cease-Fire and the Three-Way Game


U.S. forces have reached a written cease-fire agreement with Sunni guerrillas operating in Al Fallujah. More than ending -- or at least suspending -- the battles in Al Fallujah, the cease-fire has turned the political situation in Iraq on its head, with the United States now positioned strategically between the majority Shia and the Sunni insurgents.


The United States and the Sunni guerrillas in Iraq agreed to an extended cease-fire in Al Fallujah on April 19. Most media treated the news as important. It was, in fact, extraordinary. The fact that either force -- U.S. or Iraqi -- would have considered negotiating with the other represents an astounding evolution on both sides. For the first time in the guerrilla war, the United States and the guerrillas went down what a Marine general referred to as a "political track." That a political track has emerged between these two adversaries represents a stunning evolution. Even if it goes no further -- and even if the cease-fire in Al Fallujah collapses -- it represents a massive shift in policy on both sides.

To be precise, the document that was signed April 19 was between U.S. military forces and civilian leaders in the city. That distinction having been made, it is clear that the civilian leaders were authorized by the guerrillas to negotiate a cease- fire. The proof of that can be found in the fact that the leaders are still alive and were not executed by the guerrillas for betraying the purity of their cause. It is also clear that the Americans believe these leaders speak for the guerrillas in some definitive way; otherwise, there would have been no point to the negotiations. Thus the distinction between civilian and guerrilla in Al Fallujah is not entirely meaningful.

The willingness of the United States to negotiate with the guerrillas is the most significant evolution. If we recall the U.S. view of the guerrilla movement in May and June 2003, the official position was that there was no guerrilla movement, that there were only the uncoordinated remnants of the old regime, bandits and renegades. The idea of negotiating anything with this group was inconceivable for both ideological and practical reasons. A group as uncoordinated as Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld portrayed them could not negotiate -- or be negotiated with -- under any circumstances. We believed then that the Sunni guerrillas were an organized movement preplanned by the Iraqis, and we believe now -- obviously -- that their organization has improved over time. It has certainly become an army that can be addressed as a cohesive entity and negotiated with.

More important is the fact that both sides felt constrained -- at least in this limited circumstance -- to negotiate. In that sense, each side was defeated by the other. The United States conceded that it could not unilaterally impose its will on Al Fallujah. There are political and military reasons for this. Politically, the collateral damage of house-to-house fighting would have had significant political consequences for Iraq, the alliance and the United States. The guerrillas could not have been defeated without a significant number of civilian casualties. Militarily, the United States has no desire to engage in urban combat. Casualties among U.S. troops would have been high, and the forces doing the fighting would have been exhausted. At a time of substantial troop shortages, the level of effort needed to pacify Al Fallujah would have represented a substantial burden. The guerrillas had posed a politico-military problem that could not readily be solved unilaterally.

It was also a defeat for the guerrillas. Their political position has been unalterable opposition to the United States, and an uncompromising struggle to defeat the Americans. They have presented themselves not only as ready to die, but also as representing an Iraq that was ready to die with them. At the very least, it is clear that the citizens of Al Fallujah were ready neither to die nor to endure the siege the United States was prepared to impose. At most, the guerrillas themselves, trapped inside Al Fallujah, chose to negotiate an exit, even if it meant surrendering heavy weapons -- including machine guns -- and even if it meant that they could no longer use Al Fallujah as a battleground. Whether it was the civilians or the guerrillas that drove for settlement, someone settled -- and the settlement included the guerrillas.

The behavior of the guerrillas indicates to us that their numbers and resources are not as deep as it might appear. The guerrillas are not cowards. Cowards don't take on U.S. Marines. Forcing the United States into house-to-house fighting would have been logical -- unless the guerrillas in Al Fallujah represented a substantial proportion of the guerrilla fighting force and had to be retained. If that were the case, it would indicate that the guerrillas are afraid of battles of annihilation that they cannot recover from. Obviously, there is strong anti-American feeling in Iraq, but the difference between throwing a rock or a grenade and carrying out the effective, coordinated warfare of the professional guerrilla is training. Enthusiasm does not create soldiers. Training takes time and secure bases. It is likely that the guerrillas have neither, so -- with substantial forces trapped in Al Fallujah -- they had to negotiate their way out.

In short, both sides have hit a wall of reality. The American belief that there was no guerrilla force -- or that the guerrillas had been crushed in December 2003 -- is simply not true. If the United States wants to crush the guerrillas, U.S. troops will have to go into Al Fallujah and other towns and fight house to house. On the other hand, the guerrilla wish for a rising wave of unrest to break the American will simply has not come true. The forces around Al Fallujah were substantial, were not deterred by political moves and could come in and wipe them out. That was not an acceptable prospect.

Al Fallujah demonstrates three things: First, it demonstrates that under certain circumstances, a political agreement --however limited -- can be negotiated between the United States and the guerrillas. Second, it demonstrates that the United States is aware of the limits of its power and is now open, for the first time, to some sort of political resolution -- even if it means dealing with the guerrillas. Third, it demonstrates that the guerrillas are aware of the limits of their power, and are implicitly prepared for some solution short of complete, immediate victory. The question is where this all goes.

To begin with, it could go nowhere. First, the cease-fire could be a guerrilla trap. As U.S. forces begin the joint patrols with Iraqi police that were agreed to, the guerrillas could hit them, ending the cease-fire. Second, the cease-fire could break down because of a lack of coordination among the guerrillas, dissident groups, or a U.S. decision to use the cease-fire as a cover for penetrating the city and resuming operations. Third, the cease-fire could work in Al Fallujah but not be applied anywhere else. The whole thing could be a flash in the pan. On the other hand, if the Al Fallujah cease-fire holds, a precedent is set that could expand.

In 1973, after the cease-fire in the Arab-Israeli war, Israeli and Egyptian troops held positions too close to each other for comfort. A disengagement was necessary. In what was then an extraordinary event, Israeli and Egyptian military leaders met at a point in the road called Kilometer 101. In face-to-face negotiations, days after guns fell silent in a brutal war, the combatants -- not the politicians -- mediated by the United States, reached a limited technical agreement for disengaging forces in that particular instance, and only in that instance. In our view, the Camp David accords between Israel and Egypt were framed at Kilometer 101. If disengagement could be negotiated, the logic held that other things could be negotiated as well.

There were powerful political forces driving toward a settlement as well, and the military imperative was simply the cutting edge.  But there are also powerful political forces in Iraq. The United States clearly does not want an interminable civil war in Iraq.  The jihadists -- the foreign Islamist militants -- obviously do want that. But the view of the Sunni guerrillas might be different. They have other enemies besides the Americans -- they have the Shia. The Sunnis have as little desire to be dominated by the Shia as the Shia have to be dominated by the Sunnis. In that aversion, there is political opportunity. Unlike the foreign jihadists, the native Sunni guerrillas are not ideologically opposed to negotiating with the Shia -- or the Americans.

The Role of the Shia

The United States has banked heavily on the cooperation of the Shia. It reached agreement with the Shia to allow them a Shiite-dominated government. After the December 2003 suppression of the Sunni guerrillas, Washington cooled a bit on the deal. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani demanded elections, which he knew the Shia would win. Washington insisted on a prefabricated government that limited Shiite power and would frame the new constitution, leading to elections. Al-Sistani suspected that the new constitution would be written so as to deny the Shia what the United States had promised.

Al-Sistani first demanded elections. The United States refused to budge. He then called huge demonstrations. The United States refused to budge. Then Muqtada al-Sadr -- who is either al-Sistani's mortal enemy, his tool or both -- rose up in the south.  Al-Sistani was showing the United States that -- without him and the Shia -- the U.S. position in Iraq would become untenable. He made an exceptionally good case. The United States approached al-Sistani urgently to intercede, but -- outstanding negotiator that he is -- al-Sistani refused to budge for several days, during which it appeared that all of Iraq was exploding. Then, he quietly interceded and al-Sadr -- trapped with relatively limited forces, isolated from the Shiite main body and facing the United States -- began to look for a way out. Al-Sistani appeared to have proven his point to the United States: Without the Shia, the United States cannot remain in Iraq. Without al-Sistani, the Shia will become unmanageable.

From al-Sistani's point of view, there was a three-player game in Iraq -- fragments notwithstanding -- and the Shia were the swing players, with the Sunnis and Americans at each other's throats.  In any three-player game, the swing player is in the strongest position. Al-Sistani, able to swing between the Americans and the Sunnis, was the most powerful figure in Iraq. So long as the Americans and Sunnis remained locked in that position, al-Sistani would win.

The Sunnis did not want to see a Shiite-dominated Iraq. So long as al-Sistani was talking to the Americans and they were not, the choice was between a long, difficult, uncertain war and capitulation. The Sunnis had to change the terms of the game. What they signaled to al-Sistani was that if he continued to negotiate with the United States and not throw in with the guerrillas, they would have no choice but to open a line of communication with the Americans as well. Al Fallujah proved not only that they would -- but more importantly -- that they could.

From the U.S. point of view, the hostility between Sunnis and Shia is the bedrock of the occupation. They cannot permit the two players to unite against them. Nor can they allow the Shia to become too powerful or for the Americans to become their prisoners. While al-Sistani was coolly playing his hand, it became clear to the Americans that they needed additional options. Otherwise, the only two outcomes they faced here were a Sunni-Shiite alliance against them or becoming the prisoner of the Shia.

By opening negotiations with the Sunnis, the Americans sent a stunning message to the Shia: The idea of negotiation with the Sunnis is not out of the question. In fact, by completing the cease-fire agreement before agreement was reached over al-Sadr's forces in An Najaf, the United States pointed out that it was, at the moment, easier to deal with the Sunnis than with the Shia. This increased pressure on al-Sistani, who saw for the first time a small indicator that his position was not as unassailably powerful as he thought.

The New Swing Player

The Al Fallujah cease-fire has started -- emphasis on "started" -- a process whereby the United States moves to become the swing player, balancing between Sunnis and Shia. Having reached out to the Sunnis to isolate the Americans and make them more forthcoming, the Shia now face the possibility of "arrangements" -- not agreements, not treaties, not a settlement -- between U.S. and Sunni forces that put realities in place, out of which broader understandings might gradually emerge.

In the end, the United States has limited interest in Iraq, but the Iraqis -- Sunnis and Shia alike -- are not going anywhere. They are going to have to deal with each other, although they do not trust each other -- and with good reason. Neither trusts the United States, but the United States will eventually leave. In the meantime, the United States could be exceedingly useful in cementing Sunni or Shiite power over each other. Neither side wants to wind up dominated by the other. Neither wants the Americans to stay in Iraq permanently, but the United States does not want to stay permanently either. A few years hardly makes a major difference in an area where history is measured in millennia.

The simple assumption is that most Iraqis want the Americans out. That is a true statement, but not a sufficient one. A truer statement is this: Most Iraqis want the Americans out, but are extremely interested in what happens after they leave. Given that, the proper statement is: Most Iraqis want the Americans out, but are prepared to use the Americans toward their ends while they are there, and want them to leave in a manner that will maximize their own interests in a postwar Iraqi world.

That is the lever that the Americans have, and that they seem to have been playing in the past year. It is a long step down from the days when the Department of Defense skirmished with the State Department about which of them would govern postwar Iraq, on the assumption that those were the only choices. Unpleasant political choices will have to be made in Iraq, but the United States now has a standpoint from which to manipulate the situation and remain in Iraq while it exerts pressure in the region. In the end -- grand ambitions notwithstanding -- that is what the United States came for in the first place.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on April 30, 2004, 03:48:57 PM
Al-Sadr and the Law of Diminishing Returns
April 29, 2004   1712 GMT


Muqtada al-Sadr's Iran-based mentor appears to be distancing himself from his prot?g?. Chronic chaos in Iraq is highly unpalatable from Iran's perspective, and this move could signal an agreement among Washington, Tehran and Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani over the standoff in An Najaf.


Muqtada al-Sadr's Iran-based mentor, Grand Ayatollah Kazem Hossein Haeri, no longer supports al-Sadr's uprising against U.S. forces in An Najaf. In an interview with AFP in Qom, Haeri's younger brother, Ayatollah Mohammed Hossein Haeri, said, "For us to approve of the activities of Muqtada al-Sadr, he would need to coordinate with our office in An Najaf, something he has not been doing. Neither Ayatollah Haeri nor any other Iraqi religious leader has declared jihad, so one cannot attack the occupation forces -- unless they attack Iraqis, then they have the right to defend themselves."

This is the first clear statement separating the mainstream Shiite leadership from the actions of al-Sadr, whose forces are engaged in a standoff with U.S. forces in An Najaf.

At its core, the statement signals that the Iranians still want to work with the United States in managing Iraq. This is no small achievement for Washington. Since Iraq's population is majority Shia, any permanent resolution in Iraq will be colored by U.S.-Iranian relations.

Second, the statement makes clear that the portion of the Islamic leadership most tightly affiliated with al-Sadr feels he is overstepping his religious and political bounds. Haeri's statement could mean Iran will try to rein in al-Sadr; if they fail, they will not interfere when the United States moves against him.

Finally, and more speculatively, it is possible that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is nearing an agreement with the United States to defuse the situation in An Najaf. The recent U.S. agreement with the Sunnis of Al Fallujah is likely a key factor pushing al-Sistani's negotiations with Washington. Al-Sistani will not be outflanked by the Sunnis if he can help it, which is exactly why Washington made the Al Fallujah deal in the first place. Iran wants an Iraq that is whole, at peace, Shiite-controlled and Iranian influenced -- not one that resembles the wrong side of the gates of hell. They do, after all, live next door.

The best way to make the 30-year-old al-Sadr simmer down is to send him a blunt message from his mentor -- the same mentor whose backing allowed al-Sadr to advance his position to its current level.

In short, this move demonstrates that Iran -- despite all posturing -- continues to work with the United States to attain its goals of a unified Iraq dominated by its Arab Shiite allies. While Iran and the Iraqi Shia might be able to achieve most of what they had hoped for, the real winner in this latest round is the United States. Sunnis are patrolling Sunnis in Al Fallujah, Iranian Shia are reining in Iraqi Shia, and for the first time in weeks, there is a serious possibility that no major combat will take place anywhere in the country.

Al Fallujah: New Deal More Than a Cease-Fire?
April 29, 2004   1624 GMT


U.S. Marines announced an agreement to quell the fighting in Al Fallujah. This accord represents not only a cease-fire on the ground, but also a broader willingness by the United States to deal directly with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq at the expense of its alliance with the Shiite majority.


U.S. military officials April 29 outlined an accord to end -- at least temporarily -- fighting in Al Fallujah. This is not the first time a cease-fire has been announced during the nearly month-old standoff with Sunni insurgents.

The last cease-fire occurred earlier in April and was the result of the first negotiations between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents -- albeit through Al Fallujah city officials. Stratfor noted at the time that such talks amounted to the "Great Satan" sitting down and chatting with "terrorists," something that both sides repeatedly had sworn would never happen.

At that point, Stratfor raised the question: "If an agreement can be reached -- and enforced -- in Al Fallujah, then why not in the Sunni Triangle? Why not in Iraq? Why not elsewhere?" We also pointed out that the player who would be most upset -- and isolated -- by the cease-fire would be Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the de facto leader of Iraq's Shiite community. Until that cease-fire, al-Sistani's influence allowed him to play hardball with the United States. The cease-fire raised the possibility that the United States was just as capable of working with the Sunnis as it was with the Shia. If that were to be the case, al-Sistani's currency would plummet.

The United States essentially has agreed in the new accord to cede responsibility for Al Fallujah's security to an all-Iraqi force comprised of soldiers and policemen, and commanded by a former general identified only as "Gen. Salah" -- three generals by that name served under Saddam Hussein -- from the old Iraqi regime. This force, known as the Fallujah Protection Army (FPA), will be wholly responsible for patrolling and securing Al Falljuah, but will remain under the command of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Marines will not wholly abandon Al Fallujah, but will withdraw from the city proper and not engage in cordoning it off. They will remain in the area. The pullout began today with Marines in the city's southern industrial district being told to pack up their gear and disengage. As of this writing, there were no new reports of fighting.

The terms of this deal represent a sea change in the U.S. attitude toward the Sunni insurgency. Not only did the United States not make any substantive demands -- at least publicly -- on the insurgents, but also they appear willing to entrust the fate of the city to an all-Iraqi force commanded by a man who served as a general for Saddam. The deal brings tentative stability to Al Fallujah, but on a much larger scale, it brings another element to the coalition's national strategy in Iraq.

From the U.S. point of view -- and more importantly, al-Sistani's -- this is much more than a cease-fire. This agreement with Sunni insurgents comes at a time when U.S. forces are poised to strike into An Najaf in order to root out rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Sunnis remain a force to be reckoned with, but a deal is done that has a strong prognosis. The only way it would seem it could break down in the next few days is if the Al Fallujah insurgents are feeling extremely frisky in large numbers -- and decide to charge across open ground to engage dug-in U.S. Marines.

The Shia, however, are faced with a United States that not only has freed a military hand to employ elsewhere, but also feels secure enough to trust a Sunni force to patrol a Sunni city that has displayed a tendency, even a desire, to kill Americans. Such a state of affairs forces al-Sistani to seriously reassess his position.


 Al Fallujah: New Deal More Than a Cease-Fire?
April 29, 2004   1624 GMT


U.S. Marines announced an agreement to quell the fighting in Al Fallujah. This accord represents not only a cease-fire on the ground, but also a broader willingness by the United States to deal directly with the Sunni insurgents in Iraq at the expense of its alliance with the Shiite majority.


U.S. military officials April 29 outlined an accord to end -- at least temporarily -- fighting in Al Fallujah. This is not the first time a cease-fire has been announced during the nearly month-old standoff with Sunni insurgents.

The last cease-fire occurred earlier in April and was the result of the first negotiations between U.S. forces and Sunni insurgents -- albeit through Al Fallujah city officials. Stratfor noted at the time that such talks amounted to the "Great Satan" sitting down and chatting with "terrorists," something that both sides repeatedly had sworn would never happen.

At that point, Stratfor raised the question: "If an agreement can be reached -- and enforced -- in Al Fallujah, then why not in the Sunni Triangle? Why not in Iraq? Why not elsewhere?" We also pointed out that the player who would be most upset -- and isolated -- by the cease-fire would be Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the de facto leader of Iraq's Shiite community. Until that cease-fire, al-Sistani's influence allowed him to play hardball with the United States. The cease-fire raised the possibility that the United States was just as capable of working with the Sunnis as it was with the Shia. If that were to be the case, al-Sistani's currency would plummet.

The United States essentially has agreed in the new accord to cede responsibility for Al Fallujah's security to an all-Iraqi force comprised of soldiers and policemen, and commanded by a former general identified only as "Gen. Salah" -- three generals by that name served under Saddam Hussein -- from the old Iraqi regime. This force, known as the Fallujah Protection Army (FPA), will be wholly responsible for patrolling and securing Al Falljuah, but will remain under the command of the U.S. 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

The Marines will not wholly abandon Al Fallujah, but will withdraw from the city proper and not engage in cordoning it off. They will remain in the area. The pullout began today with Marines in the city's southern industrial district being told to pack up their gear and disengage. As of this writing, there were no new reports of fighting.

The terms of this deal represent a sea change in the U.S. attitude toward the Sunni insurgency. Not only did the United States not make any substantive demands -- at least publicly -- on the insurgents, but also they appear willing to entrust the fate of the city to an all-Iraqi force commanded by a man who served as a general for Saddam. The deal brings tentative stability to Al Fallujah, but on a much larger scale, it brings another element to the coalition's national strategy in Iraq.

From the U.S. point of view -- and more importantly, al-Sistani's -- this is much more than a cease-fire. This agreement with Sunni insurgents comes at a time when U.S. forces are poised to strike into An Najaf in order to root out rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

The Sunnis remain a force to be reckoned with, but a deal is done that has a strong prognosis. The only way it would seem it could break down in the next few days is if the Al Fallujah insurgents are feeling extremely frisky in large numbers -- and decide to charge across open ground to engage dug-in U.S. Marines.

The Shia, however, are faced with a United States that not only has freed a military hand to employ elsewhere, but also feels secure enough to trust a Sunni force to patrol a Sunni city that has displayed a tendency, even a desire, to kill Americans. Such a state of affairs forces al-Sistani to seriously reassess his position.
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 12, 2004, 01:15:06 AM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

11 May 2004

The Edge of the Razor


The strategy of the United States in its war with radical Islam is in a state
of crisis. The global strategic framework is in much better shape than the
tactical situation in the Iraq theater of operations -- but this is of only
limited comfort to Washington because massive tactical failure in Iraq could lead to strategic collapse. The situation is balanced on the razor's edge. The United States could recover from its tactical failures, or suffer a
massive defeat if it fails to do so. One thing is certain: The United States
cannot remain balanced on the razor's edge indefinitely.


Most wars reach a moment of crisis, when the outcome hangs in the balance and in which weakness and errors, military or political, can shape victory or put it permanently out of reach. Sometimes these moments of crisis come suddenly and are purely military, such as the Battle of Midway. Sometimes they are a long time brewing and are primarily political in nature, like the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. These are moments when planning, judgment and luck can decide victors -- and when bad planning, lack of judgment and bad luck can undermine the best and brightest. It is the moment when history balances on the razor's edge. The U.S.-Islamist war is now, it seems to us, balanced on that edge.

There are some who argue that it is not reasonable to speak of the
confrontation between the United States and al Qaeda as a war. It certainly does not, in any way, resemble World War II. It is nevertheless very much a war. It consists of two sides that are each making plans, using violence and attempting to shape the political future of a major region of the globe -- the Muslim world. One side masses large forces, the other side disperses much smaller forces throughout the globe. But the goals are the goals of any war: to shape the political future. And the means are the same as in any war: to kill sufficient numbers of the enemy in order to break his will to fight and resist. It might not look like wars the United States has fought in the past, but it is most certainly a war -- and it is a war whose outcome is in doubt.

On a strategic level, the United States has been the victor since the Sept.
11 attacks. Yet strategic victories can be undermined by massive tactical
failures, and this is what the United States is facing now. Iraq is a single
campaign in a much broader war. However, as frequently occurs in wars,
unintended consequences dominate the battlefield. The United States intended to occupy Iraq and move on to other campaigns -- but failures in planning, underestimation of the enemy and command failures have turned strategic victory into a tactical nightmare. That tactical nightmare is now threatening to undermine not only the Iraqi theater of operations, but also the entire American war effort. It is threatening to reverse a series of al Qaeda defeats. If the current trend continues, the tactical situation will undermine U.S. strategy in Iraq, and the collapse of U.S. strategy in Iraq could unravel the entire U.S. strategy against al Qaeda and the Islamists. The question is whether the United States has the honesty to face the fact that it is a crisis, the imagination to craft a solution to the problems in Iraq and the luck that the enemy will give it the time it needs to regroup.

That is what war looks like on the razor's edge.

The Strategic Situation

In the midst of the noise over Iraq, it is essential to grasp the strategic
balance and to understand that on that level, the United States has done
relatively well. To be more precise, al Qaeda has done quite poorly. It is
one of the paradoxes of American war-fighting that, having failed to
articulate coherent goals, the Bush administration is incapable of pointing
to its real successes. But this is an excruciatingly great failure on the
part of the administration. It was Napoleon who said, "The moral is to the
physical as 3-1," by which he meant that how a nation or army views its
successes is more important than what its capabilities are. The failure to
tend to the morale of the nation, to articulate a strategy and demonstrate
progress, is not a marginal failure. It is the greatest possible failure of
political leadership in wartime.

Nevertheless al Qaeda has failed in its most fundamental goal. There has been no mass rising in the Islamic world, nor has a single Muslim government fallen. Nor, for that matter, has a single Islamic government shifted its position in support of al Qaeda. To the contrary, a series of Muslim governments -- the most important of which is Saudi Arabia -- have shifted their positions toward active and effective opposition to al Qaeda. The current attacks by al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia are a reflection of the shift in Saudi policy that has occurred since just before the invasion of Iraq.

Saudi Arabia is far from the only country to have shifted its strategy. Iran
-- for all of its bombast -- has, through complex back-channel negotiations
with the United States as well as a complex re-evaluation of its strategic
position, changed its behavior since January 2002. Syria, while still not
fully in control, has certainly become more circumspect in its behavior.
Prior to the Iraq war, these governments ranged from hostile to
uncooperative; they since have shifted to a spectrum ranging from minimally cooperative to fully cooperative.

Since the United States could not hunt down al Qaeda, cell by cell and
individual by individual, it devised an alternative strategy that is less
effective in the short run but more effective in the long run -- and the only
strategy available. Washington sought to change the behavior of enabling
countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, by making the potential threat from the United States greater than the potential threat from al Qaeda. By occupying Iraq and surrounding Saudi Arabia with military forces, the United States compelled a reluctant and truculent Riyadh to comply with American wishes.

In the long run, changes in the behavior of these governments -- and of other Muslim governments, from Islamabad to Tripoli -- represent the only way to defeat al Qaeda. To the simplistic American question of, "Are we safer today than we were a year ago?" the answer is, "Probably not." To the question of whether the United States is on a path that might make it safer in five years, the answer is "Probably yes," assuming the U.S. effort doesn't collapse under the weight of its pyramiding mistakes in Iraq.

We would argue that the political shifts in the Muslim world that have helped the United States were aided significantly by the invasion of Iraq. We would certainly agree that Islamic opposition to the United States solidified -- we doubt that there was much room for intensification -- but we would also argue that opinion is significant to the extent to which it turns into war-fighting capability. The Poles despised the Germans and the Japanese were not fond of the Americans, but neither could expel the occupier simply on the strength of public opinion. It is the shifts in government policy that contained radical Islamist tendencies that should be the focal point, and the invasion of Iraq served that purpose.

Tactical Failures?

It is at that point that things started to go wrong -- not with the grand
strategy of the United States, but with the Iraq strategy itself. A string of
intelligence failures, errors in judgment and command failures have conspired to undermine the U.S. position in Iraq and reverse the strategic benefits. These failures included:

* A failure to detect that preparations were under way
for a guerrilla war in the event that Baghdad fell.

* A failure to quickly recognize that a guerrilla war was under way in Iraq,
and a delay of months before the reality was recognized and a strategy
developed for dealing with it.

* A failure to understand that the United States did not have the resources
to govern Iraq if all Baathist personnel were excluded.

* A failure to understand the nature of the people the United States was
installing in the Iraqi Governing Council -- and in particular, the complex
loyalties of Ahmed Chalabi and his relationship to Iraq's Shia and the
Iranian government. The United States became highly dependent on individuals about whom it lacked sufficient intelligence.

* A failure to recognize that the Sunni guerrillas were regrouping in
February and March 2004, after their defeat in the Ramadan offensive.

* Completely underestimating the number of forces needed for the occupation of Iraq, and cavalierly dismissing accurate Army estimates in favor of lower estimates that rapidly became unsupportable.

* Failing to step up military recruiting in order to increase the total
number of U.S. ground forces available on a worldwide basis. Failing to
understand that the difference between defeating an army and occupying a country had to be made up with ground forces.

These are the particular failures. The general failures are a compendium of every imaginable military failing:

* Failing to focus on the objective. Rather than remembering why U.S. forces were in Iraq and focusing on that, the Bush administration wandered off into irrelevancies and impossibilities, such as building democracy and eliminating Baath party members. The administration forgot its mission.

* Underestimating the enemy and overestimating U.S. power. The enemy was intelligent, dedicated and brave. He was defending his country and his home. The United States was enormously powerful but not omnipotent. The casual dismissal of the Iraqi guerrillas led directly to the failure to anticipate and counter enemy action.

* Failure to rapidly identify errors and rectify them through changes of
plans, strategies and personnel. Error is common in war. The measure of a military force is how honestly errors are addressed and rectified. When a command structure begins denying that self- evident problems are facing them, all is lost. The administration's insistence over the past year that no fundamental errors were committed in Iraq has been a cancer eating through all layers of the command structure -- from the squad to the office of the president.

* Failing to understand the political dimension of the war and permitting
political support for the war in the United States to erode by failing to
express a clear, coherent war plan on the broadest level. Because of this
failure, other major failures -- ranging from the failure to find weapons of
mass destruction to the treatment of Iraqi prisoners -- have filled the space that strategy should have occupied. The persistent failure of the president to explain the linkage between Iraq and the broader war has been symptomatic of this systemic failure.

Remember the objective; respect the enemy; be your own worst critic; exercise leadership at all levels -- these are fundamental principles of warfare. They have all been violated during the Iraq campaign.

The strategic situation, as of March 2004, was rapidly improving for the
United States. There was serious, reasonable discussion of a final push into Pakistan to liquidate al Qaeda's leadership. Al Qaeda began a global
counterattack -- as in Spain -- that was neither unexpected nor as effective as it might have been. However, the counterattack in Iraq was both unexpected and destabilizing -- causing military and political processes in Iraq to separate out, and forcing the United States into negotiations with the Sunni guerrillas while simultaneously trying to manage a crisis in the Shiite areas. At the same time that the United States was struggling to stabilize its position in Iraq, the prison abuse issue emerged. It was devastating not only in its own right, but also because of the timing. It generated a sense that U.S. operations in Iraq were out of control. From Al Fallujah to An Najaf to Abu Ghraib, the question was whether anyone had the slightest idea what they were trying to achieve in Iraq.

Which brings us back to the razor's edge. If the United States rapidly
adjusts its Iraq operations to take realities in that country into account,
rather than engaging on ongoing wishful thinking, the situation in Iraq can
be saved and with it the gains made in the war on al Qaeda. On the other
hand, if the United States continues its unbalanced and ineffective
prosecution of the war against the guerrillas and continues to allow its
relations with the Shia to deteriorate, the United States will find itself in
an untenable position. If it is forced to withdraw from Iraq, or to so limit
its operations there as to be effectively withdrawn, the entire dynamic that
the United States has worked to create since the Sept. 11 attacks will
reverse itself, and the U.S. position in the Muslim world -- which was fairly
strong in January 2004 -- will deteriorate, and al Qaeda's influence will
increase dramatically.

The Political Crisis

It is not clear that the Bush administration understands the crisis it is
facing. The prison abuse pictures are symptomatic -- not only of persistent
command failure, but also of the administration's loss of credibility with
the public. Since no one really knows what the administration is doing, it is
not unreasonable to fill in the blanks with the least generous assumptions.
The issue is this: Iraq has not gone as planned by any stretch of the
imagination. If the failures of Iraq are not rectified quickly, the entire
U.S. strategic position could unravel. Speed is of the essence. There is no
longer time left.

The issue is one of responsibility. Who is responsible for the failures in
Iraq? The president appears to have assumed that if anyone were fired, it
would be admitting that something went wrong. At this point, there is no one who doesn't know that many things have gone wrong. If the president insists on retaining all of his senior staff, Cabinet members and field commanders, no one is going to draw the conclusion that everything is under control; rather they will conclude that it is the president himself who is responsible for the failures, and they will act accordingly.

The issue facing Bush is not merely the prison pictures. It is the series of
failures in the Iraq campaign that have revealed serious errors of judgment and temperament among senior Cabinet-level officials. We suspect that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is finished, and with him Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Vice President Dick Cheney said over the weekend that everyone should get off of Rumsfeld's case. What Cheney doesn't seem to grasp is that there is a war on and that at this moment, it isn't going very well. If the secretary of defense doesn't bear the burden of failures and misjudgments, who does? Or does the vice president suggest a no-fault policy when it comes to war? Or does he think that things are going well?

This is not asked polemically. It is our job to identify emerging trends, and
we have, frequently, been accused of everything from being owned by the
Republicans to being Iraq campaign apologists. In fact, we are making a non-partisan point: The administration is painting itself into a corner that will cost Bush the presidency if it does not deal with the fact that there is no one who doesn't know that Iraq has been mismanaged. The administration's only option for survival is to start managing it effectively, if that can be done at this point.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 12, 2004, 04:28:01 PM
News has been very glum of late.  This is not.-- Crafty (in Bern, Switzerland)


Geopolitical Diary: Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The confrontation in An Najaf appears to be coming to an end, the tactical
outcome similar to Al Fallujah. Qais al-Khazali, chief aide to Muqtada
al-Sadr, said, "Agreement has been reached on all points of contention. This agreement represents all shades of the Shiite political spectrum." Under the agreement, the United States would hand over security in An Najaf to a locally based force that could include some members of al-Sadr's militia.   Maj. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey-- who commands the 1st Armored Division, which has responsibility over An Najaf -- said inclusion of al-Sadr's brigades in the security force would be acceptable.

There are now two cases in which the U.S. solution to an Iraqi insurgency
has been to decline combat in the city, create an Iraqi security force with
an ambiguous relationship to the guerrillas and withdraw from responsibility for the city. One case is an event. Two cases make a policy. Having established this solution in both Sunni and Shiite areas, two things are obvious. The guerrillas can, if they choose, force similar arrangements in other cities simply by digging in and holding on. Second, the United States is not averse to giving control of Iraqi cities to Iraqis, regardless of their political persuasion.

In Al Fallujah and An Najaf, the politics of the situation were extremely
complicated. The insurgents had complex relationships with the residents and civilian leaders in the cities. No one wanted the Americans inside the
cities, but on the other hand, there was deep distrust of the guerrillas'
intentions and the consequences of continued fighting. By withdrawing from Al Fallujah and An Najaf, the United States unleashed forces that led to the containment of the guerrillas by indigenous political forces.

This makes sense. The United States has no interest in governing Iraq -- or logically should not. Iraq is a base of operations in the region. The idea
that the United States would reshape Iraqi political life was predicated
upon the assumption that after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq would be a blank page on which the United States could sketch whatever it wished. But Iraq is a complex nation -- and certainly not a blank page. Washington does not have the power to redefine its political culture.

Nor, for that matter, should Washington have been interested in doing so. In the final analysis, the United States has no national interest in Iraqi
life. It has an interest in destroying al Qaeda and therefore an interest in
being in a position to affect the behavior toward al Qaeda of countries in
the region. The United States wants its troops in Iraq. But the ultimate
form of mission creep was the move from invading and using Iraqi territory for follow-on operations to occupying and redefining the nature of Iraqi society. The United States is enormously powerful. It is not omnipotent.

What happens inside Iraqi society -- and therefore inside Iraq's cities --
is of interest to the United States in only two senses: first, whether Iraq
facilitates operations by al Qaeda and related groups; second, whether the
United States can influence events in surrounding countries. There is a
basis for a political settlement here. The Shia are not friends of the
Wahhabi-influenced al Qaeda. The United States has no interest in internal
Islamic affairs.

Iraq is a large country. Most of the population is located to the north and
east of the Euphrates River. To the south and west are lightly inhabited
regions bordering Syria and Saudi Arabia. There is a line of supply to
Kuwait, and another one can be established into Turkey. On this side of the river, you can see guerrillas coming. You can also see -- and be seen -- by the Saudis and Syrians, who are at this point far more significant than the Iraqis.

The An Najaf-Al Fallujah model should be seen as a model for a broader
settlement. The populated urban areas of Iraq, north and east of the
Euphrates, can be left to the Iraqis to deal with, using native security
forces mixed as the Iraqis see fit. U.S. forces can move out of this area to
the other side of the Euphrates, where they can use their presence to
influence events in surrounding countries without causing friction with the
Iraqis. Even if the guerrillas want to get to the U.S. forces, it will be a
lot harder. Moreover, the leadership of the Iraqi communities -- which are
not all that fond of Iraqi guerrillas, let alone foreign jihadists -- can be
left to deal with the situation, requesting help when they need it and
getting it if the United States wants to send it.

In this scenario, there need be no handover of sovereignty, no
constitutional convention, to complicate negotiations. There is an
established local leadership throughout Iraq. The United States announces
victory, turns over the keys and gets out of the way. This does not carry
the grandeur of building democracy in Iraq, but it has the virtue of
actually being possible.

This -- or something like it -- is where the United States is going to come
out. Washington is re-evaluating its Iraq strategy. It cannot simply leave.
It cannot remain in the urban areas. If we take An Najaf and Al Fallujah and turn them into a general model for Iraq, a solution emerges. It solves the core problem: No amount of troops can impose peace on Iraq. Peace is the Iraqis' problem. The U.S. problem is to assure that no nation state provides support for al Qaeda so that it can be slowly strangled.
Title: Dancing Alone
Post by: Russ on May 13, 2004, 06:52:13 AM
May 13, 2004
      Dancing Alone

      It is time to ask this question: Do we have any chance of succeeding
at regime change in Iraq without regime change here at home?

      "Hey, Friedman, why are you bringing politics into this all of a
sudden? You're the guy who always said that producing a decent outcome in
Iraq was of such overriding importance to the country that it had to be kept
above politics."

      Yes, that's true. I still believe that. My mistake was thinking that
the Bush team believed it, too. I thought the administration would have to
do the right things in Iraq ? from prewar planning and putting in enough
troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence ? because
surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country.
But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd
than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to
the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the
Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they
spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history. That is why, I'll
bet, Karl Rove has had more sway over this war than Assistant Secretary of
State for Near Eastern Affairs Bill Burns. Mr. Burns knew only what would
play in the Middle East. Mr. Rove knew what would play in the Middle West.

      I admit, I'm a little slow. Because I tried to think about something
as deadly serious as Iraq, and the post- 9/11 world, in a nonpartisan
fashion ? as Joe Biden, John McCain and Dick Lugar did ? I assumed the Bush
officials were doing the same. I was wrong. They were always so slow to
change course because confronting their mistakes didn't just involve
confronting reality, but their own politics.

      Why, in the face of rampant looting in the war's aftermath, which dug
us into such a deep and costly hole, wouldn't Mr. Rumsfeld put more troops
into Iraq? Politics. First of all, Rummy wanted to crush once and for all
the Powell doctrine, which says you fight a war like this only with
overwhelming force. I know this is hard to believe, but the Pentagon crew
hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than
Saddam. Second, Rummy wanted to prove to all those U.S. generals whose Army
he was intent on downsizing that a small, mobile, high-tech force was all
you needed today to take over a country. Third, the White House always knew
this was a war of choice ? its choice ? so it made sure that average
Americans never had to pay any price or bear any burden. Thus, it couldn't
call up too many reservists, let alone have a draft. Yes, there was a
contradiction between the Bush war on taxes and the Bush war on terrorism.
But it was resolved: the Bush team decided to lower taxes rather than raise
troop levels.

      Why, in the face of the Abu Ghraib travesty, wouldn't the
administration make some uniquely American gesture? Because these folks have
no clue how to export hope. They would never think of saying, "Let's close
this prison immediately and reopen it in a month as the Abu Ghraib Technical
College for Computer Training ? with all the equipment donated by Dell, H.P.
and Microsoft." Why didn't the administration ever use 9/11 as a spur to
launch a Manhattan project for energy independence and conservation, so we
could break out of our addiction to crude oil, slowly disengage from this
region and speak truth to fundamentalist regimes, such as Saudi Arabia?
(Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) Because that might have
required a gas tax or a confrontation with the administration's oil
moneymen. Why did the administration always ? rightly ? bash Yasir Arafat,
but never lift a finger or utter a word to stop Ariel Sharon's massive
building of illegal settlements in the West Bank? Because while that might
have earned America credibility in the Middle East, it might have cost the
Bush campaign Jewish votes in Florida.

      And, of course, why did the president praise Mr. Rumsfeld rather than
fire him? Because Karl Rove says to hold the conservative base, you must
always appear to be strong, decisive and loyal. It is more important that
the president appear to be true to his team than that America appear to be
true to its principles. (Here's the new Rummy Defense: "I am accountable.
But the little guys were responsible. I was just giving orders.")

      Add it all up, and you see how we got so off track in Iraq, why we are
dancing alone in the world ? and why our president, who has a strong moral
vision, has no moral influence.

      Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company | Home | Privacy Policy |
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Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 13, 2004, 03:32:02 PM
Woof Russ:

The piece you post is not without power.  To the list of shortcomings, I would add the drip drip drip of funds to work projects and the like.  People getting paid fairly to build something their country needs are what we want and they needed and the top of the chain of command should have seen to it that this was happening instead of the usual bureaucratic SNAFU.  

Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 15, 2004, 01:08:32 PM
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Improvements in Western Intelligence

By Fred Burton

Western tensions over the safety of corporate assets in the
Middle East -- particularly in Saudi Arabia -- have ratcheted
higher during the past month amid a stream of government security
warnings and several deadly attacks and militant shootouts.

Though the concerns and the level of violence within Saudi Arabia
are hardly unprecedented, the credibility of alerts issued by the
United States and other Western governments is on the rise.
Consider the following examples:

*  April 13: The United States issued a Warden Message cautioning
Westerners about threats against diplomatic and other official
facilities and neighborhoods in Riyadh. Two days later, a U.S.
travel warning "strongly urged" Americans to leave the kingdom.
On April 19 and 20, Saudi officials announced seizures of
vehicles carrying explosives. On April 21, a car bomb was
detonated in front of a Saudi intelligence facility in Riyadh,
killing several people.

*  April 27: Jordanian officials claimed to have foiled an al
Qaeda chemical bomb plot targeting the country's intelligence
services. The plot allegedly involved trucks packed with 20 tons
of explosives.

*  April 29: The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide
caution, warning of deep concerns over the safety of U.S.
interests abroad -- and noting that government officials have not
ruled out a nonconventional al Qaeda attacks in the United States
or elsewhere. On May 1, gunmen killed five Westerners --
including two Americans -- at the offices of Swiss oil contractor
ABB Lummus in Yanbu. The shooters later were praised in a
statement, purportedly from al Qaeda's top official in Saudi
Arabia, carried on the Islamist Web site Sawt al-Jihad.

*  European security services recently have announced several
militant roundups and "foiled plots" against specific targets. On
April 21, British newspapers reported the discovery of a bombing
plot against a football stadium -- possibly the field used by
Manchester United -- and the arrest of 10 suspects. A well-placed
counterterrorism source later told Stratfor that the sweep -- the
second major roundup in Britain in less than a month -- was
conducted less to thwart a specific attack than as a very public
pre-emptive action to reassure citizens of their safety. On May
4, Turkish police said they detained 16 suspected members of the
al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Islam, accused of planning bombing
attacks against the NATO summit that is scheduled to take place
in Istanbul in June.

The contrast with past intelligence warnings is stark: In
December 2003, the State Department authorized the voluntary
departure of diplomats' family members -- but more than a month
after the bombing of a Western housing compound in Riyadh killed
17 people. A similar communique, which ordered the departure of
nonessential U.S. personnel and their dependents, was issued May
13, 2003 -- a day after another housing compound bombing that
claimed 34 lives.

Taken together, the recent incidents indicate the United States
and its allies are armed with increasingly actionable
intelligence from their sources in the Middle East, Pakistan and
elsewhere. Although al Qaeda might remain, in the intelligence
community's words, a "ghost" or an elusive hydra, the community's
failures prior to the Sept. 11 attacks no longer can justify
ongoing complacency toward its warnings about the risks of
attacks. The government alerts also cannot be dismissed merely as
attempts to elicit "chatter" or otherwise improve officials' view
into the threat from radical Islam.

These events indicate that at least some parts of the U.S.
counterterrorism community have reached a crucial milestone in
their operational and analytical capabilities -- which aids their
ability to predict al Qaeda's next moves and other emerging
threats. It is in light of this assessment that threats issued
specifically against the domestic United States, in addition to
Western assets overseas, could be viewed as credible.

Security Cooperation: An Improving View

One of the first questions this assessment raises is whether this
same level of intelligence capability exists globally, or merely
in a few isolated regions?

While it is clear some weaknesses remain -- for example,
Washington had no warning prior to the March 11 train bombings in
Madrid -- it appears that U.S. counterterrorism collection has
improved greatly in the past few months. Sources in Washington
tell Stratfor that both human intelligence and technical
collection capabilities -- such as wiretaps and other methods --
significantly have increased in conjunction with coordinated
intelligence and law enforcement efforts around the world.
Western intelligence services and analytical think tanks -- such
as MI6, the Center for Strategic International Studies and the
Australian Security Intelligence Organisation -- along with the
services of "friendly" Middle Eastern nations such as Jordan,
specifically have aided Washington's tactical and strategic
capabilities and helped in interdicting attacks.

Moreover, foiled attacks and post-op investigations in other
countries, such as Britain and Spain, have yielded a flurry of
data: Pocket litter from detainees, phone numbers, forensic
evidence, fingerprints, travel documents and other items can be
shared with allied intelligence services to generate new leads
for counterterrorism officials to run down.

It is conceivable these achievements prompted the allegedly
planned or actual attacks against the allied intelligence
services in Riyadh and Amman in recent weeks.

The U.S. Risk Environment

For its part, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also has
grown increasingly proactive in the wake of the March 11 attacks
in Spain, turning its passenger screening efforts to the nation's
rail system -- doubtless armed with intelligence that indicated
rail and bus lines were vulnerable to a Madrid-style strike.
Trusted law enforcement sources tell Stratfor they are watching
for threats to bomb buses during the summer travel season (likely
as the result of human intelligence reports or interrogation of
al Qaeda suspects), though some commercial bus lines still do not
employ luggage-screeners.

Stratfor previously predicted that a terrorist attack is
possible, if not likely, within the United States prior to the
November presidential elections. Logic reinforces this view from
both a geostrategic and tactical standpoint.

Though it has not achieved its goal of ousting any secular
governments within the Muslim world, al Qaeda learned in Spain
that it is possible, with a well-timed attack, to overturn a
sitting government in the Western Hemisphere; in its view, few
prizes could be greater than forcing U.S. President George W.
Bush out of office. U.S. government officials appear to support
this view: National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice recently
said the opportunity for terrorists to impact the presidential
election would "be too good to pass up," and the April 29 warning
issued by the State Department also concludes that al Qaeda might
attempt "a catastrophic attack" within the United States.

Where might such an attack occur?

In light of the recent plots targeting the Jordanian and Saudi
intelligence services, it would seem that CIA headquarters in
Langley, Va., or Britain's MI6 headquarters could be targets --
though they would not be easily struck. Langley, for example, has
an excellent standoff perimeter to protect it from Oklahoma City-
style truck bombings. Militants would need some way of getting
past those defenses -- such as a fuel-laden aircraft or a Jordan-
style tactical operation, using a designated team to eliminate
guards and move the truck bomb within striking distance of the

Much more vulnerable targets, in our view, are likely to be found
in Washington, D.C. (a symbolic city, where the brain trust of
"Crusader" actions against the Middle East is found); New York
City (the nation's economic hub, and home to a large Jewish
population); and Texas -- Bush's backyard -- though visible
targets are more easily found in major cities such as Houston or
Dallas than in the capital city of Austin.

West Coast cities such as Los Angeles -- where several plots
reportedly have been foiled -- also cannot be discounted as
targets: Al Qaeda has shown a propensity in the past to return
time and again to favored fishing holes. Such cities also are
home to major corporations, which carry political, symbolic and
strategic value: Al Qaeda believes that if the U.S. economy
crashes, the war effort overseas could not continue. In one of
the most recent tape recordings attributed to him, Osama bin
Laden specifically mentioned some American corporations as likely

Though there is no hard evidence, logic argues that the next
major attack within the United States or allied countries could
just as easily be a "dirty bomb" -- a possibility noted in the
April 29 State Department warning as well as by foreign security
services -- as a Madrid-style transportation bombing. Trusted
U.S. government sources say this is a viable attack scenario; and
it is not inconceivable that some type of chemical agent could be
dispersed through the use of an improvised explosive device. The
Jordanian authorities and the alleged leader of the foiled plot
in Amman claimed that attack was to have a chemical component,
though that claim is questionable. At any rate, chemicals such as
ammonia, chlorine or sodium cyanide are easily obtained when
compared to radioactive material or even anthrax, with its proven
panic potential.

The "shock and awe" psychological effects of such an attack would
ripple throughout the country and resonate as a great success
with Islamist radicals around the world -- a credibility coup for
which al Qaeda has been searching in order to further its own
political goals in the Middle East.

The point is not that al Qaeda could have new means or motives to
launch a dirty bomb attack -- this has been a U.S. fear, and
perceived risk, since Sept. 11. Rather, it is that the U.S.
intelligence community's increasingly proactive track record --
combined with the specificity of targets mentioned in recent
warnings and growing consensus about the window of opportunity
for a fresh attack -- lend a new aura of credibility and urgency
to ongoing warnings.

In the war against militant Islam, it seems the United States no
longer is flying completely blind.

Counterterrorism and security expert Fred Burton recently joined
Stratfor's executive staff. Click here
( for more details
about his background and new role with Stratfor.
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 16, 2004, 03:52:28 PM
Iraqi General Urges Support of U.S. Troops

Sun May 16, 2:54 PM ET  Add Top Stories - AP to My Yahoo!

By KATARINA KRATOVAC, Associated Press Writer

FALLUJAH, Iraq - A former Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)-era general appointed by the Americans to lead an Iraqi security force in the rebellious Sunni stronghold of Fallujah urged tribal elders and sheiks Sunday to support U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq (news - web sites).

AP Photo

 Slideshow: Iraq


Retired Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdul-Latif rose to prominence after nearly monthlong battles last month between the Marines monthlong battles in April between the Marines and insurgents hunkered down in Fallujah's neighborhoods.

"We can make them (Americans) use their rifles against us or we can make them build our country, it's your choice," Latif told a gathering of more than 40 sheiks, city council members and imams in an eastern Fallujah suburb.

The siege of this city of 200,000 people, located about 40 miles west of Baghdad, was lifted when top Marine officers announced the creation of the Fallujah Brigade ? a force made exclusively of former Iraqi army officers.

The Marines withdrew from Fallujah into the rural hinterland and far-flung suburbs, allowing the Iraqi force to take up positions and start patrols inside the city. The brigade is expected to number about 1,500 men, many of them conscripts or noncommissioned officers under Saddam.

They are expected to fight the guerrillas, although some of the same insurgents who fought the Marines last month will likely join the brigade.

On Sunday, Marines of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment provided security for the gathering in Kharma.

Latif, 66, a native of Baghdad, urged the elders to talk freely, citing the Muslim holy book, the Quran.

"The Quran says we should sit together, discuss and make a decision, but let it be the right decision," the silver-haired Latif ? a slim figure wearing a blue shirt and dark blue tie and pants ? told the sheiks.

The venue offered a rare insight into Latif's interactions and influence over Fallujah elders. As he spoke, many sheiks nodded in approval and listened with reverence to his words. Later, they clasped his hands and patted Latif on the back.

Latif, speaking in Arabic to the sheiks, defended the Marines and the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

"They were brought here by the acts of one coward who was hunted out of a rathole ? Saddam ? who disgraced us all," Latif said. "Let us tell our children that these men (U.S. troops) came here to protect us.

"As President Bush (news - web sites) said, they did not come here to occupy our land but to get rid of Saddam. We can help them leave by helping them do their job, or we can make them stay ten years and more by keeping fighting."

Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne, the Marine battalion commander, said, "No truer words have been spoken here today than those by General Latif."

Latif also told the insurgents to "stop doing stupid things."

"Those bullets that are fired will not get the Americans out, let them finish their job here so that they can return to their country," Latif said.

"Our country is precious, stop allowing the bad guys to come from outside Iraq to destroy our country."


Latif, a former military intelligence officer said to have been imprisoned by Saddam and exiled, praised the former Iraqi army.

"The army used to be honest until Saddam made the men turn into beasts, take bribes, betray their own country," he said. "The real army is the army that works hard to serve its own citizens, with courage and strength."

After the meeting, Latif told The Associated Press that the situation in Fallujah has greatly improved, that "winds of peace" prevail in the city and the people that fled the fighting have returned. He would not elaborate on the size or current activities of the Fallujah Brigade.

"Let us speak about peace," Latif said in English. "Fallujah was an open wound, now it's healing."

posted by Tommy Paine
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 18, 2004, 01:53:41 AM
17 May 2004

Iraq: New Strategies

By George Friedman

Last week, Stratfor published an analysis, "The Edge of the
Razor," that sketched out the problems facing the United States
in Iraq. In an avalanche of responses, one important theme stood
out: Readers wanted to know what we would do, if we were in a
position to do anything. Put differently, it is easy to catalogue
problems, more difficult to provide solutions.

The point is not only absolutely true, but lies at the heart of
intelligence. Intelligence organizations should not give policy
suggestions. First, the craft of intelligence and state-craft are
very different things. Second, and far more important,
intelligence professionals should always resist the temptation to
become policy advocates because, being mostly human, intelligence
analysts want to be right -- and when they are advocates of a
strategy, they will be tempted to find evidence that proves that
policy to be correct and ignore evidence that might prove the
policy in error. Advocating policies impairs the critical
faculties. Besides, in a world in which opinions are commonplace,
there is a rare value in withholding opinions. Finally,
intelligence, as a profession, should be neutral. Now, we are far
from personally neutral in any affecting our country, but in our
professional -- as opposed to our personal lives -- our task is
look at the world through the eyes of all of the players.
Suggesting a strategy for defeating one side makes that obviously

That said, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures.
We normally try to figure out what is going to happen, what other
people are going to do -- whether they know it or not -- and
explain the actions of others. At times, people confuse
Stratfor's analysis for our political position. This time -- this
once -- we will write for ourselves -- or more precisely, for
myself, since at Stratfor our views on the war range even wider
than those among the general public.

The Mission

The United States' invasion of Iraq was not a great idea. Its
only virtue was that it was the best available idea among a
series of even worse ideas. In the spring of 2003, the United
States had no way to engage or defeat al Qaeda. The only way to
achieve that was to force Saudi Arabia -- and lesser enabling
countries such as Iran and Syria -- to change their policies on
al Qaeda and crack down on its financial and logistical systems.
In order to do that, the United States needed two things. First,
it had to demonstrate its will and competence in waging war --
something seriously doubted by many in the Islamic world and
elsewhere. Second, it had to be in a position to threaten follow-
on actions in the region.

There were many drawbacks to the invasion, ranging from the need
to occupy a large and complex country to the difficulty of
gathering intelligence. Unlike many, we expected extended
resistance in Iraq, although we did not expect the complexity of
the guerrilla war that emerged. Moreover, we understood that the
invasion would generate hostility toward the United States within
the Islamic world, but we felt this would be compensated by
dramatic shifts in the behavior of governments in the region. All
of this has happened.

The essential point is that the invasion of Iraq was not and
never should have been thought of as an end in itself. Iraq's
only importance was its geographic location: It is the most
strategically located country between the Mediterranean and the
Hindu Kush. The United States needed it as a base of operations
and a lever against the Saudis and others, but it had no interest
-- or should have had no interest -- in the internal governance
of Iraq.

This is the critical point on which the mission became complex,
and the worst conceivable thing in a military operation took
place: mission creep. Rather than focus on the follow-on
operations that had to be undertaken against al Qaeda, the Bush
administration created a new goal: the occupation and
administration of Iraq by the United States, with most of the
burden falling on the U.S. military. More important, the United
States also dismantled the Iraqi government bureaucracy and
military under the principle that de-Baathification had to be
accomplished. Over time, this evolved to a new mission: the
creation of democracy in Iraq.

Under the best of circumstances, this was not something the
United States had the resources to achieve. Iraq is a complex and
multi-layered society with many competing interests. The idea
that the United States would be able to effectively preside over
this society, shepherding it to democracy, was difficult to
conceive even in the best of circumstances. Under the
circumstances that began to emerge only days after the fall of
Baghdad, it was an unachievable goal and an impossible mission.
The creation of a viable democracy in the midst of a civil war,
even if Iraqi society were amenable to copying American
institutions, was an impossibility. The one thing that should
have been learned in Vietnam was that the evolution of political
institutions in the midst of a sustained guerrilla war is

The administration pursued this goal for a single reason: From
the beginning, it consistently underestimated the Iraqis'
capability to resist the United States. It underestimated the
tenacity, courage and cleverness of the Sunni guerrillas. It
underestimated the political sophistication of the Shiite
leadership. It underestimated the forms of military and political
resistance that would limit what the United States could achieve.
In my view, the underestimation of the enemy in Iraq is the
greatest failure of this administration, and the one for which
the media rarely hold it accountable.

This miscalculation drew the U.S. Army into the two types of
warfare for which it is least suited.

First, it drew the Army into the cities, where the work of
reconstruction -- physical and political -- had to be carried
out. Having dismantled Iraqi military and police institutions,
the Army found itself in the role of policing the cities. This
would have been difficult enough had there not been a guerrilla
war. With a guerrilla war -- much of it concentrated in heavily
urbanized areas and the roads connecting cities -- the Army found
itself trapped in low-intensity urban warfare in which its
technical advantages dissolved and the political consequences of
successful counterattacks outweighed the value of defeating the
guerrillas. Destroying three blocks of Baghdad to take out a
guerrilla squad made military sense, but no political sense. The
Army could neither act effectively nor withdraw.

Second, the Army was lured into counterinsurgency warfare. No
subject has been studied more extensively by the U.S. Army, and
no subject remains as opaque. The guerrilla seeks to embed
himself among the general population. Distinguishing him is
virtually impossible, particularly for a 20-year-old soldier or
Marine who speaks not a word of the language nor understands the
social cues that might guide him. In this circumstance, the
soldier is simply a target, a casualty waiting to happen.

The usual solution is to raise an indigenous force to fight the
guerrillas. The problem is that the most eager recruits for this
force are the guerrillas themselves: They not only get great
intelligence, but weapons, ammunition and three square meals a
day. Sometimes, pre-existing militias are used, via a political
arrangement. But these militias have very different agendas than
those of the occupying force, and frequently maneuver the
occupier into doing their job for them.


The United States must begin by recognizing that it cannot
possibly pacify Iraq with the force available or, for that
matter, with a larger military force. It can continue to patrol,
it can continue to question people, it can continue to take
casualties. However, it can never permanently defeat the
guerrilla forces in the Sunni triangle using this strategy. It
certainly cannot displace the power and authority of the Shiite
leadership in the south. Urban warfare and counterinsurgency in
the Iraqi environment cannot be successful.

This means the goal of reshaping Iraqi society is beyond the
reach of the United States. Iraq is what it is. The United
States, having performed the service of removing Saddam Hussein
from power, cannot reshape a society that has millennia of
layers. The attempt to do so will generate resistance -- while
that resistance can be endured, it cannot be suppressed.

The United States must recall its original mission, which was to
occupy Iraq in order to prosecute the war against al Qaeda. If
that mission is remembered, and the mission creep of reshaping
Iraq forgotten, some obvious strategic solutions re-emerge. The
first, and most important, is that the United States has no
national interest in the nature of Iraqi government or society.
Except for not supporting al Qaeda, Iraq's government does not
matter. Since the Iraqi Shia have an inherent aversion to Wahabbi
al Qaeda, the political path on that is fairly clear.

The United States now cannot withdraw from Iraq. We can wonder
about the wisdom of the invasion, but a withdrawal under pressure
would be used by al Qaeda and radical Islamists as demonstration
of their core point: that the United States is inherently weak
and, like the Soviet Union, ripe for defeat. Having gone in,
withdrawal in the near term is not an option.

That does not mean U.S. forces must be positioned in and near
urban areas. There is a major repositioning under way to reduce
the size of the U.S. presence in the cities, but there is,
nevertheless, a more fundamental shift to be made. The United
States undertook responsibility for security in Iraq after its
invasion. It cannot carry out this mission. Therefore, it has to
abandon the mission. Some might argue this would leave a vacuum.
We would argue there already is a vacuum, filled only with
American and coalition targets. It is not a question of creating
anarchy; anarchy already exists. It is a question of whether the
United States wishes to lose soldiers in an anarchic situation.

The geography of Iraq provides a solution.

Click here to see Potential U.S. Basing Locations

The bulk of Iraq's population lives in the Tigris and Euphrates
valleys. To the south and west of the Euphrates River, there is a
vast and relatively uninhabited region of Iraq -- not very hospitable,
but with less shooting than on the other side. The western half of
Iraq borders Saudi Arabia and Syria, two of the countries about
which the United States harbors the most concern. A withdrawal
from the river basins would allow the United States to carry out
its primary mission -- maintaining regional pressure -- without
engaging in an impossible war. Moreover, in the Kurdish regions
of the northeast, where U.S. Special Forces have operated for a
very long time, U.S. forces could be based -- and supplied -- in
order to maintain a presence on the Iranian border.

Iraq should then be encouraged to develop a Shiite-dominated
government, the best guarantor against al Qaeda and the greatest
incentive for the Iranians not to destabilize the situation. The
fate of the Sunnis will rest in the deal they can negotiate with
the Shia and Kurds -- and, as they say, that is their problem.

The United States could supply the forces in western and southern
Iraq from Kuwait, without the fear that convoy routes would be
cut in urban areas. In the relatively uninhabited regions,
distinguishing guerrillas from rocks would be somewhat easier
than distinguishing them from innocent bystanders. The force
could, if it chose, execute a broad crescent around Iraq,
touching all the borders but not the populations.

The Iraqi government might demand at some point that the United
States withdraw, but they would have no way to impose their
demand, as they would if U.S. forces could continue to be picked
off with improvised explosive devices and sniper fire. The
geographical move would help to insulate U.S. forces from even
this demand, assuming political arrangements could not be made.
Certainly the land is inhospitable, and serious engineering and
logistical efforts would be required to accommodate basing for
large numbers of troops. However, large numbers of troops might
not be necessary -- and the engineering and logistical problems
certainly will not make headlines around the world.

Cutting Losses

Certainly, as a psychological matter, there is a retreat. The
United States would be cutting losses. But it has no choice. It
will not be able to defeat the insurgencies it faces without
heavy casualties and creating chaos in Iraqi society. Moreover, a
victory in this war would not provide the United States with
anything that is in its national interest. Unless you are an
ideologue -- which I am not -- who believes bringing American-
style democracy to the world is a holy mission, it follows that
the nature of the Iraqi government -- or chaos -- does not affect

What does affect me is al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is trying to kill me.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia permitted al Qaeda to flourish.
The presence of a couple of U.S. armored divisions along the
kingdom's northern border has been a very sobering thought. That
pressure cannot be removed. Whatever chaos there is in Saudi
Arabia, that is the key to breaking al Qaeda -- not Baghdad.

The key to al Qaeda is in Riyadh and in Islamabad. The invasion
of Iraq was a stepping-stone toward policy change in Riyadh, and
it worked. The pressure must be maintained and now extended to
Islamabad. However, the war was never about Baghdad, and
certainly never about Al Fallujah and An Najaf. Muqtada al-Sadr's
relationship to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and the makeup of
the elders in Al Fallujah are matters of utter and absolute
indifference to the United States. Getting drawn into those
fights is in fact the quagmire -- a word we use carefully and

But in the desert west and south of the Euphrates, the United
States can carry out the real mission for which it came. And if
the arc of responsibility extends along the Turkish frontier to
Kurdistan, that is a manageable mission creep. The United States
should not get out of Iraq. It must get out of Baghdad, Al
Fallujah, An Najaf and the other sinkholes into which the
administration's policies have thrown U.S. soldiers.

Again, this differs from our normal analysis in offering policy
prescriptions. This is, of course, a very high-level sketch of a
solution to an extraordinarily complex situation. Nevertheless,
sometimes the solution to complex situations is to simplify them.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 20, 2004, 12:21:54 PM

1158 GMT -- IRAN -- Iran dismissed May 20 the possibility of an Israeli
attack against its nuclear facilities. Iranian Minister of Defense Rear Adm.
Ali Shamkhani said, "Israel is too vulnerable to materialize its threat."
The remarks from Shamkhani come after recent reports that Israeli Prime
Minister Ariel Sharon during his trip to Washington last month discussed
with U.S. President George W. Bush possible Israeli plans to attack Iran's
nuclear facilities if Tehran gets close to developing a nuclear weapon.


Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, May 20, 2004

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz admitted today what everyone has known for months: The United States underestimated the determination of Saddam Hussein and his intelligence service to resist the occupation in Iraq. Wolfowitz said, "I would say of all the things that were underestimated, the one that almost no one that I know of predicted was to
properly estimate the resilience of the regime that had abused this country
for 35 years."

This is an extraordinarily important statement. Wolfowitz is one of the key
American strategists. Until Wolfowitz -- and by implication Rumsfeld --
publicly acknowledged their miscalculation of the regime's resilience, there
was no possibility of a serious adjustment of strategy. That and the
admission that the United States did not know how many troops would be
required and for how long set the two poles in place for a strategic
re-evaluation. Having been wrong about the enemy's capabilities and
intentions, prior strategic estimates are out the window. There is no valid
forecast at this point. In the world of strategy, the lack of a forecast on
something as basic as troop levels means there must be a comprehensive
review. No one can argue any longer that what the United States is doing is
working. That opens the door to the inevitable strategic re-evaluation.

While Wolfowitz's statement finally opens the door to the future, we will
permit ourselves one final look at the past. Wolfowitz said that almost no
one he knew "properly" estimated the level of resistance. That is certainly
true, if by "properly" you mean describing the nature of the guerrilla war.
But there were many -- Stratfor included -- who argued that the Hussein
regime was not going to go quietly into that good night if they had a
choice. We also argued that they had prepared for this moment for years, and certainly had a postwar plan.

The issue therefore is if the core question is whether others precisely
estimated the type of resistance, or whether they estimated that there would probably be substantial resistance. The criticism of the administration is not that it failed to anticipate the exact type of resistance, but that it dismissed the idea of significant resistance -- in the short and long term -- at all. Statements from the Department of Defense prior to the war were dismissive of the Iraqis in the extreme as a fighting force, and the kind of plans DOD made for the postwar world indicated it did not anticipate any serious problems.

There are two charges to be leveled at Wolfowitz. The first is that he
failed to allow for any resilience in the Iraqi resistance. The far more
serious charge is that he continued to deny the seriousness of the
resistance for months after it was a problem -- in fact, denying it publicly
up to this point. This directly led to a strategy that could not succeed
because it was based on a fundamental misreading of the situation.

With that said, let us now all agree that Wolfowitz has conceded the
obvious. The question therefore is: What will he do about it? Uncertainty is
embedded in war. The craft of the strategist, however, is to minimize
uncertainty using planning that begins with a precise estimate of the
situation on the ground and proceeds from that to a plan based on the
resources available. The uncertainty about troop levels is rooted at this
point in the fact that a precise appreciation of the situation is only now
developing, and that no strategy will emerge until that is in place.

The challenge is this. The appreciation of the situation must be developed
from U.S. intelligence services: CIA, Defense Intelligence and Army Military Intelligence. These are the same organizations that failed to provide an accurate appreciation of the situation in the first place. However blame is allocated among them, the collective outcome was unacceptable. The question that will have to be asked is this: In what way have these intelligence organizations changed their practices so that strategists can have confidence that their estimates are reliable? Or put differently, what changes is Wolfowitz making in his own staff to ensure, first, that the estimates are reliable, and second, that they are properly utilized?

We are now back where we began. What is the mission? What is the situation on the ground? What are the available resources? What is the strategy?  Wolfowitz said that he did not expect the current troop levels in Iraq at this point. An honest answer, but incomplete. The complete answer is that he did not expect to be grappling with these questions a year later. Wolfowitz is a student of Thucydides. A careful reading of "The History of the Peloponnesian War" would be appropriate, not so much to understand what will happen, but to understand what can happen when expectations and reality diverge.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 22, 2004, 04:43:43 PM
Season of Apologies
It?s time for reckless critics to own up.

Victor Hansen; National Review Online

President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld were both asked to apologize recently for the illegal and amoral behavior of a few miscreant soldiers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. They did so without qualifications, despite the fact the military had itself uncovered the transgressions and already prepared a blistering indictment of such reprehensible acts. Media scrutiny was intense; a general has already been removed from command; court trials are scheduled; and more resignations, demotions, and jail time loom.

But since we are in the season of apologies, we might as well continue it to the bitter end. Here I do not mean the buffoons like Michael Moore whose remorse would be as spurious as the original slander was lunatic, but rather serious commentators and statesmen who have crossed the line and need to step back. So here it goes.

Ted Kennedy is the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts. He wields enormous influence and has appointed himself as surrogate spokesman for the Democratic opposition. Yet here is how he recently weighed in about Abu Ghraib: "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management ? U.S. management."

This slander is both untrue and dangerous at a time when thousands of Americans are under fire in the field from commandos and criminals without uniforms who often pose as innocent civilians. The slur, pompously and publicly aired, is a morally reprehensible pronouncement in almost every way imaginable inasmuch as Saddam murdered tens of thousands with the full sanction of the Iraqi state apparatus. In contrast, a few rogue U.S. soldiers may have tortured and sexually humiliated some Iraqi prisoners ? evoking audit and censure at the highest levels of "U.S. management" and inevitable court martial for those directly involved. There is no evidence that the "torture chambers" that disemboweled, shredded, and hung prisoners on meat hooks are now "reopened" for similar procedures on orders of the American government.

Mr. Kennedy should apologize. His reckless and feeble attempts at moral equivalence are wrong in matters of magnitude, government responsibility, and public disclosure, remorse, and accountability. Worse still, his silly comments ? printed around the Arab world ? suggest to the those on the battlefield that a high-ranking official of their own American government believes that his own soldiers are fighting for a cause no different from that which murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Thomas L. Friedman is the chief New York Times columnist now writing about foreign affairs. Millions at home and abroad read what he writes, and trust him to be both sober and judicious in his criticism. We have all read him with profit at times. But in a particularly angry opinion editorial on May 13 he leveled the following baffling charge: "I know this is hard to believe, but the Pentagon crew hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than Saddam."

That charge is simply untrue, and is nearly as reckless as Mr. Kennedy's remarks. Mr. Rumsfeld and his aides do not "hate" Mr. Powell. No one has expressed such venom. But what is truly reprehensible is to imply that officials of the United States government wished far worse for their own decorated Secretary of State than they did for a mass murderer with whom they were then currently at war. Once more such a malicious remark will do untold damage abroad. If Mr. Friedman cannot produce a reputable source or direct quotation for such an unfortunate attribution that borders on character assassination, he should apologize for being both wrong and incendiary.

So far we know as much about the Oil-for-Food mess as we do the Abu Ghraib prisoner scandal. Other than the sensational pictorial evidence from the prisons, the only difference in the respective ongoing audits is that the U.S. military is fully investigating its own while the U.N. is stonewalling. But if dozens of Iraqis may have been humiliated and perhaps even tortured by renegade American soldiers, tens of thousands of women and children faced starvation while corrupt U.N. officials at the highest levels knew about billions of needed dollars in illegal kickbacks skimmed off hand-in-glove with a mass murderer.

So far Kofi Annan ? whose own son, Kojo, was at one time associated with the Swiss Cotecna consortium involved in the shameful profiteering ? has not apologized to the Iraqi people. He should. Again, his agency's wrongdoing did not result in humiliation for some, but probably cost the lives of thousands while under his watch.

What is going on? The months of April and May have been surreal ? scandals at Abu Ghraib, decapitations and desecrations of those killed from Gaza to Iraq, and insurrections in Fallujah and Najaf. The shock of the unexpected has led to hysteria and cheap TV moralizing by critics of the war, fueled by election-year politics at home, apparent embarrassment for some erstwhile supporters of the intervention who are angry that democracy in Iraq has not appeared fully-formed out of the head of Zeus, and a certain amnesia about the recent dark history of the United Nations.

Yet there are historical forces still in play that bode well for Iraq ? aid pouring in, oil revenues increasing, Iraqi autonomy nearing, and radical terrorists failing to win public support ? all of which we are ignoring amid the successive 24-hour media barrages. The combat deaths of 700 soldiers are tragic. We in our postwar confusion have also made a number of mistakes: not storming into the Sunni Triangle at war's end, not shooting the first 500 looters that started the mass rampage of theft, not keeping some of the Iraqi army units intact, not bulldozing down Saddam Hussein's notorious prisons, not immediately putting at war's end Iraqi officials into the public arena, not storming Fallujah, and not destroying al Sadr and his militias last spring.

Still, in just a year the worst mass murderer in recent history is gone and a consensual government is scheduled to assume power in his place in just a few weeks. Postwar Iraq is not a cratered Dresden or the rubble of Stalingrad ? it is seeing power, water, and fuel production at or above prewar levels. For all the recent mishaps, two truths still remain about Iraq ? each time the American military forcibly takes on the insurrectionists, it wins; and each time local elections are held, moderate Iraqis, not Islamic radicals, have won.

So let us calm down and let events play out. If it were not an election year, Mr. Kennedy would dare not say such reprehensible things. In two or three months when there is a legitimate Iraqi government in power, Mr. Friedman may not wish to level such absurd charges. And when the truth comes out about the U.N.'s past role in Iraq, both Iraqis and Americans may not be so ready to entrust the new democracy's future to an agency that has not only done little to save Bosnians or Rwandans, but over the past decade may well have done much to harm Iraqis.

But in the meantime, let these who have transgressed all join the president and the secretary of defense and say they are sorry for what they have recklessly said and the untold harm that they have done.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 28, 2004, 11:28:54 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Friday, May 28, 2004

Muqtada al-Sadr has agreed to pull out of An Najaf without receiving any
official guarantee of amnesty on murder charges and without agreeing to
disband his militia. The withdrawal was not negotiated by the United States, but by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's representatives. This action
promotes the April rising that nearly wrecked U.S. strategy in Iraq toward

The rising -- both Sunni and Shia -- has created a new reality in Iraq. The
United States has refused to become deeply engaged in two cities: Al
Fallujah and An Najaf. In Al Fallujah, it has negotiated with the Sunnis,
allowing de facto control over the city and permitting guerrillas to
participate in governance. In An Najaf, a Shiite city, the United States has
refused to engage al-Sadr in any way that would damage Shiite shrines.
Instead, it has essentially created a situation where al-Sistani would
either take care of the matter or leave al-Sadr permanently in place. Now
that al-Sadr is withdrawing, we can expect forces under al-Sistani to take
control of the city.

The United States has created a similar situation on two occasions -- it is
no longer an isolated incident -- and is not prepared to take responsibility
for controlling urban areas in the face of sustained resistance. The United
States is prepared to allow local forces -- regardless of composition -- to
work out the political and security situation for themselves. Where there
are lower levels of resistance, the United States is prepared to take part
in patrolling, but it is no longer prepared to take responsibility for all
of Iraq under any and all circumstances.

This is a huge change in U.S. thinking about Iraq since this time last year.
This tactic also has become an inevitable change. There were no options. The United States was not in a position, politically or in terms of forces, to
engage in a massive urban counterinsurgency. The capitulation to reality -- which is precisely what this is -- relies on primary and practicable
missions, rather than on secondary and impossible missions. This shift
ultimately is far more important than any scheduled change in sovereignty June 30. The new Iraqi government will have no power over the situation on the ground; that will be in the hand of local forces.

The other change in strategy was al-Sistani's, who believed he had the
Americans in the bag when he stimulated the al-Sadr rising and then leaned back to watch Americans wipe him out. He was stunned when Americans refused to play their role in his drama, instead doing the unthinkable and negotiating a deal with the Sunni guerrillas. Al-Sistani's move caused the United States to completely reconsider its relationship with the Shia. The entire set of Iraqi National Congress official Ahmed Chalabi's revelations was designed to make it clear to al-Sistani that U.S. tolerance of his maneuvers had reached an end. Al-Sistani was left to clean up his own mess, with no better -- or no worse -- deal than the Sunnis received. But the core message was this: Al-Sistani will not have Iraq handed to him on a silver platter by the Americans. If he wants it, he will have to fight for it -- and not with the Americans.

We have seen two cycles in which attacks against the Americans surged and died away in Iraq. It is impossible to say that there will not be a third.
It is possible to say this cycle is being closed out. Given emerging
realities, the United States could reduce its exposure before the next wave can be organized.

Of potentially greater significance was the news that a top al Qaeda leader has called for an urban guerrilla war in Saudi Arabia, according to a statement on several jihadist Web sites. Abdel Aziz al-Muqrin offered a
detailed list of steps that militants should follow to succeed in a fight
against Riyadh. Depending on how this situation breaks in the coming months, the situation in Saudi Arabia could become far more important than the situation in Iraq.


(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 28, 2004, 08:55:18 PM
My second post today:

Overdoing Chalabi

By George Friedman

On Feb. 19, in a piece entitled "Ahmed Chalabi and His Iranian
Connection," Stratfor laid out the close relationship Chalabi had
with the Iranians, and the role that relationship played in the
flow of intelligence to Washington prior to the war. This week,
the story of Chalabi, accused of being an Iranian agent by U.S.
intelligence, was all over the front pages of the newspapers. The
media, having ignored Chalabi's Iranian connections for so long,
went to the other extreme -- substantially overstating its

The thrust of many of the stories was that the United States was
manipulated by Iran -- using Chalabi as a conduit -- into
invading Iraq. The implication was that the United States would
have chosen a different course, except for Chalabi's
disinformation campaign. We doubt that very much. First, the
United States had its own reasons for invading Iraq. Second, U.S.
and Iranian interests were not all that far apart in this case.
Chalabi was certainly, in our opinion, working actively on behalf
or Iranian interests -- as well as for himself -- but he was
merely a go-between in some complex geopolitical maneuvering.

Iran wanted the United States to invade Iraq. The Iranians hated
Saddam Hussein more than anyone did, and they feared him. Iran
and Iraq had fought a war in the 1980s that devastated a
generation of Iranians. More than Hussein, Iraq represented a
historical threat to Iran going back millennia. The destruction
of the Iraqi regime and army was at the heart of Iranian national
interest. The collapse of the Soviet Union had for the first time
in a century secured Iran's northern frontiers. The U.S. invasion
of Afghanistan secured the Shiite regions of Afghanistan as a
buffer. If the western frontier could be secured, Iran would
achieve a level of national security it had not known in

What Iran Wanted

Iran knew it could not invade Iraq and win by itself. Another
power had to do it. The failure of the United States to invade
and occupy Iraq in 1991 was a tremendous disappointment to Iran.
Indeed, the primary reason the United States did not invade Iraq
was because it knew the destruction of the Iraqi army would leave
Iran the dominant power native to the Persian Gulf. Invading Iraq
would have destroyed the Iraq-Iran balance of power that was the
only basis for what passed for stability in the region.

The destruction of the Iraqi regime would not only have made Iran
secure, but also would have opened avenues for expansion. First,
the Persian Gulf region is full of Shia, many of them oriented
toward Iran for religious reasons. For example, the loading
facilities for Saudi oil is in a region dominated by the Shia.
Second, without the Iraqi army blocking Iran, there was no
military force in the region that could stop the Iranians. They
could have become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf, and
only the permanent stationing of U.S. troops in the region would
have counterbalanced Iran. The United States did not want that,
so the conquest of Kuwait was followed by the invasion -- but not
the conquest -- of Iraq. The United States kept Iraq in place to
block Iran.

Iran countered this policy by carefully and systematically
organizing the Shiite community of Iraq. After the United States
allowed a Shiite rising to fail after Desert Storm, Iranian
intelligence embarked on a massive program of covert organization
of the Iraqi Shia, in preparation for the time when the Hussein
regime would fall. Iranian intentions were to create a reality on
the ground so the fall of Iraq would inevitably lead to the rise
of a Shiite-dominated Iraq, allied with Iran.

What was not in place was the means of destroying Hussein.
Obviously, the Iranians wanted the invasion and Chalabi did
everything he could to make the case for invasion, not only
because of his relationship with Iran, but also because of his
ambitions to govern Iraq. Iran understood that an American
invasion of Iraq would place a massive U.S. Army on its western
frontier, but the Iranians also understood that the United States
had limited ambitions in the area. If the Iranians cooperated
with U.S. intelligence on al Qaeda and were not overly aggressive
with their nuclear program, the two major concerns of the United
States would be satisfied and the Americans would look elsewhere.

The United States would leave Iraq in the long run, and Iran
would be waiting patiently to reap the rewards. In the short run,
should the United States run into trouble in Iraq, it would
become extremely dependent on the Iranians and their Shiite
clients. If the Shiite south rose, the U.S. position would become
untenable. Therefore if there was trouble -- and Iranian
intelligence was pretty sure there would be -- Shiite influence
would rise well before the Americans left.

Chalabi's job was to give the Americans a reason to invade, which
he did with stories of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But he
had another job, which was to shield two critical pieces of
information from the Americans: First, he was to shield the
extent to which the Iranians had organized the Shiite south of
Iraq. Second, he was to shield any information about Hussein's
plans for a guerrilla campaign after the fall of Baghdad. These
were the critical things -- taken together, they would create the
dependency the Iranians badly wanted.

What the United States Wanted

The Americans were focused on another issue. The balance of power
in the Persian Gulf was not a trivial matter to them, but it had
taken on a new cast after Sept. 11. For the United States, the
central problem in the Persian Gulf -- and a matter of urgent
national security -- was the unwillingness of Saudi intelligence
and security services to move aggressively against al Qaeda
inside the kingdom. From the U.S. viewpoint, forcing Saudi Arabia
to change its behavior was the overriding consideration; without
that, no progress against al Qaeda was possible.

The United States did not see itself as having many levers for
manipulating the situation in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were
convinced that ultimately the United States would not be able to
take decisive action against the Saudis, and the Saudi government
was more concerned about the internal political consequences of a
crackdown on al Qaeda, than it was about the United States. It
felt confident it could manage the United States as it had in the

The United States did not want to invade Saudi Arabia. The House
of Saud was the foundation of Saudi stability, and the United
States did not want it to fall. It wanted to change the Saudi
strategy. Invading Saudi Arabia could have led to global economic
disaster if oil shipments were disrupted. Finally, the invasion
of Saudi Arabia, given its size, terrain and U.S. resources, was
a difficult if not impossible task. The direct route would not
work. The United States would take an indirect route.

If you wanted to frighten Saudi Arabia into changing its behavior
without actually launching military operations against it, the
way to do that would be: (a) demonstrate your will by staging an
effective military campaign; and (b) wind up the campaign in a
position to actually invade and take Saudi oil fields if they did
not cooperate. The Saudis doubted U.S. will and military capacity
to do them harm (since Kuwait would never permit its territory to
be used to invade Saudi Arabia). The solution: an invasion of

The United States wanted to invade Iraq as an indirect route to
influence Saudi Arabia. As in any military operation, there were
also subsidiary political goals. The United States wanted to get
rid of Hussein's regime, not because it was complicit with al
Qaeda, but because it might later become complicit. Secondly, it
wanted to use Iraqi territory as a base to pressure Syria and
Iran as well.

Chalabi's claims about Iraqi WMD did not instigate the invasion,
because the United States did not invade Iraq to get rid of WMD.
An invasion would be the most dangerous route for doing that,
because the other side might actually surprise you and use the
weapons on your troops. You would use air strikes and special
operations troops. What Chalabi did by providing his intelligence
was, however, not insignificant. The administration had two
goals: the destruction of al Qaeda and protection of the United
States from WMD. By producing evidence of WMD in Iraq, Chalabi
gave Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz the tool they needed. By
introducing evidence of WMD, they triggered an automatic policy
against Iraq having them, which closed off an argument -- not
really a raging argument -- in the administration. It was
important, but not earth shattering.

There was a deeper dimension to this. The strategic planners in
the administration were old enough to remember when Richard Nixon
began the process that broke the back of the Soviet Union -- his
alliance with China against the Soviets. During World War II, the
United States allied with Stalin against Hitler, preventing a
potential peace agreement by Stalin. The United States had a
known policy of using fault lines among potential enemies to
split them apart, allying with the weaker against the stronger.
If the United States allying with Stalin or Mao was not
considered beyond the pale, then the Bush administration planners
had another alliance in mind.

The fault line in the Islamic world is between Sunni and Shia.
The Sunni are a much larger group than the Shia, but only if you
include countries such as Indonesia. Within the Persian Gulf
region, the two groups are highly competitive. Al Qaeda was a
Sunni movement. Following U.S. grand strategy, logic held that
the solution to the problem was entering into an alliance of
sorts with the Shia. The key to the Shia was the major Shiite
power -- Iran.

The United States worked with Iranian intelligence during the
invasion of Afghanistan, when the Iranians arranged relationships
with Shiite warlords like Ahmed Khan. The United States and Iran
had cooperated on a number of levels for years when it concerned
Iraq. Therefore there were channels open for collaboration.

The United States was interested not only in frightening Saudi
Arabia, but also in increasing its dependence on the United
States. The United States needed a lever strong enough to break
the gridlock in Riyadh. An invasion of Iraq would achieve the
goal of fear. An alliance with Iran would create the dependency
that was needed. The Saudis would do anything to keep the
Iranians out of their oil fields and their country. After the
invasion of Iraq, only the United States could stop them. The
Saudis were trapped by the United States.

What Chalabi Didn't Say

What is important to see here is how the Iranians were using the
Americans, and how the Americans were using the Iranians. Chalabi
was an important channel, but hardly the only one. It is almost
certain that his role was well known. Chalabi was probably left
in place to convince the Iranians that the United States was
naive enough to believe them, or he was there simply as a token
of good faith. But nothing he said triggered the invasion.

It was what he did not say that is significant. Chalabi had to
know that the Iranians controlled the Iraqi Shia. It is possible
that he even told the Pentagon that, since it wouldn't change
fundamental strategy much. But there is one thing that Chalabi
should have known that he certainly didn't tell the Americans:
that Hussein was going to wage a guerrilla war. On that point,
there is no question but that the Pentagon was surprised, and it
mattered a lot.

Chalabi did not share intelligence that the Iranians almost
certainly had because the Iranians wanted the Americans to get
bogged down in a guerrilla war. That would increase U.S.
dependence on the Shia and Iran, and would hasten the American

Iranian intelligence had penetrated deep into Iraq. The
preparations for the guerrilla war were extensive. Iran knew --
and so did Chalabi. The United States would still have invaded,
but would have been much better prepared, militarily and
politically. Chalabi did not tell the Pentagon what he knew and
that has made a huge difference in the war.

We suspect that the Pentagon intelligence offices and the CIA
both knew all about Chalabi's relation to Iranian intelligence.
The argument was not over that, but over whether this
disqualified his intelligence. The Pentagon had made up its mind
for strategic reasons to invade Iraq. Chalabi's intelligence was
of use in internal disputes in the administration, but decided
nothing in terms of policy. The CIA, understanding that Chalabi
was not really a source in the conventional sense but was a
geopolitical pawn, did not like the game, but didn't call the
Department of Defense on it until after DOD got into trouble in
Iraq -- and the CIA wanted to make certain that everyone knew it
wasn't their mistake.

Chalabi was a minor player in a dance between Iran and the United
States that began on Sept. 11 and is still under way. The United
States wants a close relationship with Iran in order to split the
Islamic world and force the Saudis to collaborate with the
Americans. The Iranians want to use the United States in order to
become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. Each wants the
other to be its hammer. In all of this, Chalabi was only an actor
in a bit part.

The one place in which he was significant was negative -- he kept
the United States in the dark about the impending guerrilla war.
That was where he really helped Iran, because it was the
guerrilla war that locked the United States into a dependency on
the Iraqi Shia that went much farther than the United States
desired, and from which the United States is only now starting to
extricate itself. That is a major act of duplicity, but it is a
sin of omission, not commission.

In a way, the Americans and the Iranians used Chalabi for their
own purposes. The Iranians used him to screen information from
the Americans more than to give false information. The Americans
used him to try to convince the Iranians that they had a
sufficient degree of control over the situation that it was in
their interests to maintain stability in the Shiite regions. At
this point, it is honestly impossible to tell who got the better
of whom. But this much is certain. Chalabi, for all his
cleverness, is just another used up spook, trusted by no one,
trusting even fewer. Geopolitics trumps conspiracy every time.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on May 30, 2004, 08:58:53 AM
Hey Crafty Dog... I think people are smart enough to go to that website and read all about it themselves, rather then you post every single bit of information from that website here.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on May 30, 2004, 12:29:36 PM
Wrong time of the month?
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 03, 2004, 06:47:50 PM
Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia
June 03, 2004   2217 GMT

By George Friedman


The United States has clearly entered a new phase of the Iraq campaign in which its relationship with the Iraqi Shia has been de-emphasized while relationships with Sunnis have been elevated. This has an international effect as well. It obviously affects Iranian ambitions. It also helps strengthen the weakening hand of the Saudi government by reducing the threat of a Shiite rising in strategic parts of the kingdom that could threaten the flow of oil. The United States is creating a much more dynamic and fluid situation, but it is also enormously more complicated and difficult to manage.


The United States has fully entered the fourth phase of the Iraq campaign. The first phase consisted of the invasion of Iraq and the fall of Baghdad. The second was the phase in which the United States believed that it had a free hand in Iraq. It ended roughly July 1, 2003. The third phase was the period of commitment to control events in Iraq, intense combat with the Sunni guerrillas and collaboration with the Shia in Iraq and the Iranians. The fourth phase began in April with the negotiated settlement in Al Fallujah, and became official this week with the formation of the interim Iraqi government.

The new government represents the culmination of a process that began during the April uprising by Muqtada al-Sadr -- and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's unwillingness to intervene to stop the fighting and the kidnappings. Al-Sistani's behavior caused the Bush administration to reconsider a strategic principle that had governed U.S. strategy in Iraq since July 2003: the assumption that the United States could not afford to alienate al-Sistani and the Shiite community and remain in Iraq.

The problem was that the understanding the United States thought it had with the Shia was very different from the one the Shia thought they had with the United States. It would take a microscope to figure out how the disconnect occurred and how it widened into an abyss, but the basic outlines are obvious. Al-Sistani believed that by controlling the Shia during the Sunni Ramadan offensive of October-November 2003, the Shia had entered into an agreement with the United States that the sovereign government of Iraq would pass into Shiite hands as rapidly as possible.

Whether the United States had a different understanding -- or given its intelligence that the Sunni rebellion had been broken -- the fact was that by January, the United States was backing off the deal. In pressing for an interim government selected by the United States and containing heavy Sunni and Kurdish representation, and by putting off direct elections for at least a year, the United States let al-Sistani know that he was not getting what he wanted. Al-Sistani first transmitted his unhappiness through several channels, including Ahmed Chalabi. He then called for mass demonstrations. When that did not work, he maneuvered al-Sadr into rising against the Americans at the same time as the Sunnis launched an offensive west of Baghdad, particularly in Al Fallujah. Al-Sistani's goal was to demonstrate that the United States was utterly dependent on the Shia and that it had better change its thinking about the future Iraqi government.

Al-Sistani badly miscalculated. The United States did not conclude that it needed a deal with the Shia. It concluded instead that the Shia -- including Chalabi and al-Sistani -- were completely undependable allies. By striking at a moment of extreme vulnerability, the Shia crippled the U.S. Defense Department faction that had argued not only in favor of Chalabi but also in favor of alignment with the Shia. Instead, the CIA and State Department, which had argued that the Shiite alignment was a mistake, now argued -- convincingly -- that al-Sistani was maneuvering the United States into a position of complete dependency, and that the only outcome would be the surrender of power to the Shia, whose interests lay with Iran, not the United States. Following the al-Sadr rising, and al-Sistani's attempt to maneuver the United States into simultaneously protecting al-Sistani from al-Sadr and being condemned by al-Sistani for doing it, the defenders of the Shiite strategy were routed.

A fourth strategy emerged, in which the United States is trying to maintain balanced relationships with Sunnis and Shia, while currently tilting toward the Sunnis. Al Fallujah is the great symbol of this. The United States negotiated with its mortal enemy, the Sunnis, and conceded control of the city to them. What would have been utterly unthinkable during the third phase from July to March became logical and necessary in April and May. The United States is now speaking to virtually all Iraqi factions, save the foreign jihadists linked to al Qaeda. Al-Sistani has gone from being the pivot of U.S. policy in Iraq, to being a competitor for U.S. favor. It is no accident that Chalabi was publicly destroyed by the CIA over the past few weeks, or that the new Iraqi government gives no significant posts to al-Sistani supporters -- and that Shia are actually underrepresented.

The United States has recognized that it will not be able to defeat the Sunni insurgents in war without becoming utterly dependent on the Shia for stabilizing the south. Since the United States does not have sufficient force available in either place to suppress both a Sunni and a Shiite rising -- and since it has lost all confidence in the Shiite leadership -- logic has it that it needs to move toward ending the counterinsurgency. That is a political process requiring the United States to recognize the guerrillas linked to the Saddam Hussein military and intelligence service as a significant political force in Iraq, and to use that relationship as a lever with which to control the Shia. That is what happened in Al Fallujah; that is what is happening -- with much more subtlety -- in the interim government, and that is what will be playing out for the rest of the summer.

In essence, in order to gain control of the military situation, the United States has redefined the politics of Iraq. Rather than allowing the Shia to be the swing player in the three-man game, the United States is trying to maneuver itself into being the swingman. Suddenly, as the war becomes gridlocked, the politics have become extraordinarily fluid. Every ball is in the air -- and it is the United States that has become the wild card.

Changes and Consequences

The redefinition of the U.S. role in Iraq has major international consequences. The U.S. relationship with Iran reached its high point during the Bam earthquake in December 2003. The United States offered aid, and the Iranians accepted. The United States offered to send Elizabeth Dole (and a player to be named later), and this was rejected by Iran. Iran -- viewing the situation in Iraq and the U.S. relationship with the Shia, and realizing that the United States needed Iranian help against al Qaeda -- sought to rigorously define its relationship with the Americans on its own terms. It thought it had the whip hand and was using it. The United States struggled with its relationship with Iran from January until March, accepting its importance, but increasingly uneasy with the views being expressed by Tehran.

By April, the United States had another important consideration on its plate: the deteriorating situation in Saudi Arabia. The United States was the primary cause of that deterioration. It had forced the Saudi government to crack down on al Qaeda in the kingdom, and the radical Islamists were striking back at the regime. An incipient civil war was under way and intensifying. Contrary to myth, the United States did not intervene in Iraq over oil -- anyone looking at U.S. behavior over the past year can see the desultory efforts on behalf of the Iraqi oil industry -- but the United States had to be concerned about the security of oil shipments from Saudi Arabia. If those were disrupted, the global economy would go reeling. It was one thing to put pressure on the Saudis; it was another thing to accept a civil war as the price of that pressure. And it was yet another thing to think calmly about the fall of the House of Saud. But taking Saudi oil off the market was not acceptable.

The Saudis could not stop shipping oil voluntarily. They needed the income too badly. That was never a risk. However, for the first time since World War II, the disruption of Saudi oil supplies because of internal conflict or external force became conceivable. The fact was that Saudi Arabia had a large Shiite population that lived around the oil shipment points. If those shipment points were damaged or became inaccessible, all hell would break loose in the global economy.

The Iranians had a number of mutually supporting interests. First, they wanted a neutral or pro-Iranian Iraq in order to make another Iran-Iraq war impossible. For this, they needed a Shiite-dominated government. Second, they were interested in redressing the balance of power in the Islamic world between Sunnis and Shia, in particular with the Saudi Wahhabis. Finally, they wanted -- in the long run -- to become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. Their relationship with the United States in Iraq was the linchpin for all of this.

The Saudis, having already felt the full force of American fury -- and now trapped between them and their own radicals -- faced another challenge. If the U.S. policy in Iraq remained on track, the power of Iran and the Shia would surge through the region. The Saudis had faced a challenge from the Shia right after the Khomeni revolution in Iran. They did not enjoy it, but they did have the full backing of the United States. Now they are in a position where they faced an even more intense challenge, and the United States might well stay neutral or, even worse, back the challenge. If the Shia in Saudi Arabia rose with the backing of Iran and a Shiite-dominated Iraq, the Saudi government would crumble.

From the Saudi point of view, they might be able to contain the radical Islamists using traditional tribal politics and payoffs, but facing the Wahhabis and the Shia at the same time would be impossible. The third-phase policy of entente between the United States and the Shiite-Iranian bloc seemed to guarantee a Shiite rising in Saudi Arabia in the not-too-distant future.

As U.S.-Iranian relations became increasingly strained during the winter, the Saudis increased their cooperation with the United States. They also made it clear to the Americans that they were in danger of losing their balance as the pressures on them mounted. The United States liked what it saw in the Saudi intensification of the war effort, even in the face of increased resistance. The United States did not like what it saw in Tehran, concerned that the relationship there was getting out of hand. Finally, in April, it became completely disenchanted with the Shiite leadership of Iraq.

There were therefore two layers to the U.S. policy shift. The first was internal to Iraq. The second had to do with increased concerns about the security of oil shipments from the kingdom if the Iranians encouraged a rising in Saudi Arabia. The United States did not lighten up at all on demanding full cooperation on al Qaeda. The Saudis supplied that. But the United States did not want oil shipments disrupted. In the end, the survival or demise of the House of Saud does not matter to the United States -- except to the degree that it affects the availability of oil.

The United States has to balance the pressure it puts on Saudi Arabia to fight al Qaeda against the threat of oil disruption. It cannot lighten up on either. From the American point of view, the right balance is a completely committed Saudi Arabia and freely flowing oil. The United States had moved much closer to the former, and it now needed to ensure the latter. Jerking the rug out from under the Iranians and the Shia was the U.S. answer.

Oil does not cost more than $40 a barrel because of China. It costs more than $40 a barrel because of fears that Saudi oil really could come off the market, and doubt that the complex U.S. maneuver can work. The obvious danger is an Iranian-underwritten rising in southern Iraq that spills over into Saudi Arabia. The United States has shut off its support for such an event, but the Iranians have an excellent intelligence organization with a strong covert capability. They are capable of answering in their own way.

The future at this moment is in the hands of Tehran and An Najaf. This is the point at which the degree of control the Iranians have over the Iraqi Shiite leadership will become clear. The Iranians obviously are not happy with the trends that have emerged over the past month. Their best lever is in Iraq. The Iraqi Shia are aware that the United States is increasingly limber and unpredictable -- and that it has more options than it had two months ago. The Iraqi Shia are in danger of being trapped between Washington and Tehran. It is extremely important to note that al-Sistani today tentatively endorsed the new government, clearly uneasy at the path events were taking. Therefore there are two questions: First, will the Iranians become more aggressive, abandoning their traditional caution? Second, can they get the Iraqi Shiite leaders to play their game, or will the old rift between Qom and An Najaf (the Iranian and Iraqi Shiite holy cities) emerge once again as the Shia scramble to get back into the American game.

The problem the Americans have is this: Wars are very complicated undertakings that require very simple politics. The more complicated the politics, the more difficult it is to prosecute a war. The politics of this war have become extraordinarily complicated. The complexity is almost mind-boggling. Fighting a war in this environment is tough at best -- and this is not the best. What the United States must achieve out of all of this maneuvering is a massive simplification of the war goals. This is getting way too complicated.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 05, 2004, 07:29:12 AM
This is an article from Life Magazine Jan 7 1946.  
Title is "Americans Are Losing the Victory in Europe"
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 07, 2004, 07:22:33 AM
A quick comment:  I am struck by Strat's lack of reference to the Iranian efforts to complete going nuke-- and by its comment about the US increasingly being seen as reacting to pressure instead of having a coherent plan.


Geopolitical Diary: Monday, June 7, 2004

The realignment in Iraq continues to have expected political repercussions
in the region, particularly in Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudi events are
getting more notice in the media, but the events in Iran are both more
interesting and more ominous. Over the long run, they could pose a problem to the United States in this war that is substantially less manageable than events in Saudi Arabia -- which is saying quite a lot.

Despite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani's reserved endorsement of the new
Iraqi government, Iran continues to leak ominous news. A few weeks ago, there was word that Iranian suicide squads were being trained to attack Western targets. That story went quiet for a while, but this weekend, the leaks began again. Agence France Presse moved a story on Sunday about a group called the Committee for the Commemoration of Martyrs of the World Islamic Movement -- citing an Iranian newspaper, Shargh, as the source. This time, the group had a spokesman, Mohammad Samadi, who reported that he has signed up 2,000 for the martyrs campaign. According to Samadi, "Suicide operations are the best way to fight the oppressors, and they have already shown their worth in Lebanon and during the war between Iran and Iraq."

Two things appear to be going on. First, the Iranians are letting the United
States know that al Qaeda is far from the only concern Washington will have if events continue along their current trend in Iraq. If Tehran is not going to get the deal leaders thought they had nailed down -- a neutral to
pro-Iranian government in Baghdad -- Iran will respond in exactly the way the United States doesn't want: opening a new front with suicide bombings.

Iran is also delivering a message to al Qaeda and Saudi fundamentalists.
These groups have criticized the Iranians and the Shia intensely for
collaborating with the United States, and Iran's radical credentials have
been tarnished. With these announcements, the Iranians are reasserting their claims as leaders of Islamic fundamentalism and reminding the Sunni Wahhabis that Iranians were carrying out such operations 20 years ago, while the Saudis were the ones collaborating with the Americans.

The leaks pose a difficult problem for the United States. If Washington
moves along the line of realignment with Sunnis in Iraq, it really could
wind up with another, even more dangerous version of al Qaeda. If the United States tries to placate the Iranians, it will have even more problems in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been doing all the things the Americans have  asked for, and they are now virtually in a civil war because of it. If the United States moves to placate the Iranian Shia, that would not only be another nail in the coffin of the Saudi government, but would increase the sense in the region that the United States is now simply responding to pressure and no longer has a serious plan.

Meanwhile, Fawaz bin Mohammed al-Nashmi, the leader of the Al Quds Brigade of the Arabian Peninsula, released a detailed description of the Khobar attacks that gave an interesting insight into the militants' thinking: "We were asking our brother Muslims, where are the Americans, and they showed us a building where companies have offices. We did find an American. I shot him in the head, [which] exploded. Then we found a South African and we shot him too. In our search for unbelievers, we had to exchange fire with the security forces."

It is important to note the use of the term "unbeliever." The primary
purpose of the attacks was an assault on Americans, but the mission extended to the execution of any nonbeliever. Al-Nashmi also discussed the killing of Philippine Roman Catholics and of Indians, referring to both as unbelievers. This is not new, but the intensity with which unbelievers are being targeted -- as opposed to Westerners or Americans -- is noteworthy. The language used matters.

If the view extends that al Qaeda's war is against all unbelievers, rather
than a war against American imperialism, and if it extends to include
Iranians and other Shia, things will get very interesting indeed. We are
getting the sense of a further radicalization in the Islamic world. We also
are sensing that this further radicalization might create non-Islamic
coalitions that do not currently exist. It is a process we will be watching


(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 15, 2004, 06:52:52 AM
Stratfor Morning Intelligence Brief -- June 15, 2004

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Geopolitical Intelligence Service, click here (
You can also find a link to the referral form on


, , ,

1124 GMT -- IRAQ -- A purported letter from top jihadist Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was posted on Islamist Web sites June 15. The letter says that al-Zarqawi's ability to continue to
conduct operations is dwindling and warns that if his group is unable to
assume control of Iraq, it would have to move to another country or the
members would have to die as martyrs. The authenticity of the letter has not
yet been verified.


Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, June 15, 2004

The situation with Iran continues to deteriorate, this time on the nuclear
axis. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported Monday that Iran is not fully cooperating with inspectors. IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei noted that the particular problem was with Iran's nuclear enrichment activities, saying, "It is essential for the integrity and credibility of the inspection process that we are able to bring these issues to a close within the next few months and provide the international community with the assurances it urgently seeks regarding Iran's nuclear activities."

The nuclear situation in Iran has been on the table for years, although its
significance was reduced during the period of relative detente with the
United States over the past year. It was assumed that the nuclear issue --although never fully handled -- would not be permitted by either Iran or the United States to become a major block to the broader strategic relationship being forged over Iraq. The Iranians certainly didn't want a nuclear device more than they wanted a neutralized Iraq.

However, the world Iran inhabits this June is very different. The strategic
agreement with Washington has collapsed. Iraq is not heading the way it was heading a few months ago, and it is altogether conceivable that -- at the end of the day -- Baathists will play a leading role in Baghdad. Whoever governs Iraq, the dream of alliance or neutralization is gone. Iran now must calculate its place in a much more dangerous world.

Iran has the nuclear card to play. Tehran has observed Washington's behavior with North Korea, where the essential policy has been to find some means to placate Pyongyang while making occasional threats. North Korea has used its potential nuclear capability as a tool to guarantee regime survival. Iran sees its nuclear program in two ways: First, if successful, it is a tool that guarantees that no one will mess with Iran -- and second, even before it is successful, it becomes an important bargaining chip.

Iran has become more aggressive in positioning its nuclear policy precisely because its arrangements with the United States have slipped away. The threat of a confrontation with Iran is the last thing the Bush
administration needs. First, a crisis of nuclear weapons that Iran denies it
has, prior to the presidential election in November, would not play well
after the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Second, the
administration does not need a new crisis with Iran at a time when it wants to portray the situation as quieting down. Therefore it is in Tehran's
interest to assert its nuclear plans -- by stonewalling the IAEA. The goal
is to improve its position for quiet bargaining with the United States over
Iraq. The United States wants to contain the situation; Iran can exploit it.

The danger is this: In order to make its position strong, Iran really needs
to have a nuclear program. Given U.S. intelligence failures, it is very
difficult to trust CIA evaluations. They may be right about Iran, but at
this point, who knows? If the Iranians are really pushing ahead with a
nuclear program, U.S. leaders have to assume the worst case. In the worst case, Iran is close to having a nuclear device or even a weapon. The United States could not tolerate a nuclear Iran, since that would represent a threat to fundamental American interests. It also could not be tolerated by Israel. Therefore there are two nuclear countries in whose interests it would be to take out Iran's capabilities before they become operational.

Tehran does not want this to happen, obviously. It is likely that Iran is
more interested in bluffing a nuclear capability than in having one, since
its use of a nuclear weapon would bring devastating retaliation. Iran is
playing a very carefully refined game.

This is where the weakness in U.S. intelligence becomes painful. Iranian
leaders must assume that the United States knows the status of Iran's
nuclear capability in order for the negotiating ploy not to get out of
control. The United States could well have a clear picture of Iran's
capabilities. However, U.S. policymakers cannot assume that the intelligence evaluation they receive from the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency are accurate. They cannot play a refined game themselves. That makes the situation much more dangerous.

The Iranians view U.S. intelligence as extremely capable and assume that the recent failures were merely political covers for the real policies. It is not clear that they accept the notion that U.S. intelligence is not fully
trusted at this point. They may therefore push ahead, assuming that the
United States understands the limits of what Tehran is doing. If Washington instead goes with a worst-case scenario, a massive collision occurs.

The threat of a U.S.-Iranian confrontation is climbing continually. The fact
that the Iranians are forcing a confrontation over nuclear weapons is
ominous -- and the fact that the normal controls on the progression of the
crisis are not fully in place is what makes it really scary.


(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on June 23, 2004, 07:48:05 PM
Stratfor Weekly: U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface


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directly to a friend or colleague by forwarding this email, or
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23 June 2004

U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface

By George Friedman

We are in a pattern of escalating confrontation between Iran and the United States and its allies. Two issues have surfaced. There is the question of Iran's nuclear program. And there is the more urgent  question of Iran's capture of three British patrol boats along the Iraq-Iran frontier. Neither of these surface issues is trivial, but the underlying issues are far more significant. The fact that they have surfaced indicates how serious the underlying questions are, and points to serious tensions between the Iranians and the United States.

Iran has historically faced two threats. Russia has pressed it from the
north; during and after World War II, the Soviets occupied a substantial part of Iran, as did the British. The other threat has come from the west -- from Iraq, from its predecessor states or from states that have occupied Iraq, including Britain. The collapse of the Soviet Union has gone a long way toward securing Iran's northern frontier. In fact, the instability to Iran's north has created opportunities for it to extend its influence in that direction.

Iraq, however, has remained a threat. Iraq's defeat in Desert Storm decreased the threat, with the weakening of Iraq's armed forces and constant patrolling of Iraqi skies by U.S. and British warplanes. But what Iran wanted most to see -- the collapse of the hated Saddam Hussein regime and its replacement by a government at least neutral toward Iran and preferably under Iranian influence -- did not materialize. One of the primary reasons the United States did not advance to Baghdad in 1991 was the fear that an Iraqi collapse would increase Iran's power and make it the dominant force in the  Persian Gulf.

Iran Develops a Strategy

Subsequently, Iran's goals were simple: First, Iraq should never pose a
threat to Iran; it never wanted to be invaded again by Iraq. Second, Iran
should be in a position to shape Iraqi behavior in order to guarantee that it would not be a threat. Iran was not in a position to act on this goal itself. What it needed was to induce outside powers -- the United States in
particular -- to act in a manner that furthered Iranian national interests.
Put somewhat differently, Iran expected the United States to invade Iraq or topple Hussein by other means. It intended to position itself to achieve its primary national security goals when that happened.

From the end of Desert Storm to the fall of Baghdad, Iran systematically and patiently pursued its goal. Following Desert Storm, Iran began a program designed both to covertly weaken Hussein's regime and to strengthen Iranian influence in Iraq -- focusing on Iraq's Shiite population. If Hussein fell under his own weight, if he were overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup or if the United States invaded Iraq, Iran intended to be in a position to neutralize the Iraqi threat.

There were three parts to the Iranian strategy:

1. Do nothing to discourage the United States from taking action against
Iraq. In other words: Mitigate threats from Iran so the United States would not leave Hussein in place again because it feared the consequences of a power vacuum that Iran could fill.

2. Create an information environment that would persuade the United States to topple Hussein. The Iranians understood the analytic methods of U.S. policy makers and the intelligence processes of the Central Intelligence Agency. Iran created a program designed to strengthen the position of those in the United States who believed that Iraq was a primary threat, while providing the United States with intelligence that maximized the perception of Hussein as a threat. This program preceded the 2003 invasion and the Bush administration as well. Desert Fox -- the air campaign launched by the Clinton administration in December 1998 -- was shaped by the same information environment as the 2003 invasion. The Iranians understood the nature of the intelligence channels the United States used, and fed information through those that intensified the American threat perception.

3. Prepare for the fall of Hussein by creating an alternative force in Iraq
whose primary loyalty was to Iran. The Shiite community -- long oppressed by Hussein and sharing religious values with the Iranian government -- had many of the same interests as Iran. Iranian intelligence services had conducted a long, patient program to organize the Iraqi Shiite community and prepare the Shia to be the dominant political force after the fall of Hussein.

As it became increasingly apparent in 2002 that the United States was
searching for a follow-on strategy after Afghanistan, the Iranians recognized their opportunity. They knew they could not manipulate the United States into invading Iraq -- or provide justification for it -- but they also knew they could do two things. The first was to reduce the threat the United States felt from Iran. The second was to increase, to the extent possible, the intelligence available to those in the Bush administration who supported the invasion.

They accomplished the first with formal meetings in Geneva and back-channel discussions around the world. The message they sent was that Iran would do nothing to hinder a U.S. invasion, nor would it seek to take advantage of it on a direct state basis. The second process was facilitated by filling the channels between Iraqi Shiite exiles and the United States with apparently solid information -- much of it true -- about conditions in Iraq. This is where Ahmed Chalabi played a role.

In our opinion, Iranian intelligence knew two things that it left out of the
channels. The first was that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
programs had been abandoned. The United States did not invade Iraq because of WMD, but used them as a justification. The Iranians knew none would be found, but were pleased that the United States would use this as a justification.  The second thing Iran kept from the United States was that Hussein and his key aides did not expect to defeat the United States in a conventional war, but had planned a guerrilla war to follow the fall of Baghdad.

The Iranians had a specific reason for leaving these things out. They knew the Americans would win the conventional war. They did not want the United States to have an easy time occupying Iraq. The failure to find WMD would create a crisis in the United States. The failure to anticipate a Baathist guerrilla war would create a crisis in Iraq. Iran wanted both to happen.

The worse the situation became in Iraq, the less the United States prepared for the real postwar environment -- and the more the credibility of President George W. Bush was questioned, the more eager the United States would be in seeking allies in Iraq. The only ally available -- apart from the marginal Kurds -- was the Shiite majority. As the situation deteriorated in the summer and fall of 2003, the United States urgently needed an accommodation with Iraq's Shia. The idea of a Shiite rising cutting lines of supply to Kuwait while there was a Sunni rising drove all U.S. thinking. It also pushed the United States toward an accommodation with the Shia -- and that meant an accommodation with Iran.

Such an accommodation was reached in the fall of 2003. The United States accepted that the government would be dominated by the Shia, and that the government would have substantial Iranian influence. During the Ramadan offensive, when the lid appeared to be flying off in Iraq, the United States was prepared to accommodate almost any proposal. The Iranians agreed to back-burner -- but not to shut down -- their nuclear proposal, and quiet exchanges of prisoners were carried out. Iran swapped al Qaeda prisoners for anti-Iranian prisoners held by the United States.

Things Fall Apart

Two things happened after the capture of Hussein in mid-December 2003. The first was that the Iranians started to make clear that they -- not the Americans -- were defining the depth of the relationship. When the United States offered to send representatives to Iran after an earthquake later in December, the Iranians rejected the offer, saying it was too early in the relationship. On many levels, the Iranians believed they had the Americans where they wanted them and slowly increased pressure for concessions.

Paradoxically, the United States started to suffer buyer's remorse on the
deal it made. As the guerrilla threat subsided in January and February, the Americans realized that the deal did not make nearly as much sense in January as it had in November. Rather than moving directly toward a Shiite government, the United States began talking to the Sunni sheikhs and thinking of an interim government in which Kurds or Sunnis would have veto power.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- who is an Iranian -- began to signal the
United States that trouble was brewing in Iraq. He staged major
demonstrations in January, calling for direct elections -- his code words for a Shiite government. The United States, no longer pressured and growing uneasy about the enormous power of the Iranians, did two things: They pressed ahead with plans for the interim government, and started leaking that they knew the game the Iranians were playing. The release of the news that Chalabi was an Iranian agent was part of this process.

The Iranians and al-Sistani -- seeing the situation slipping out of control
-- tried to convince the Americans that they were willing to send Iraq up in flames. During the Sunni rising in Al Fallujah, they permitted Muqtada
al-Sadr to rise as well. The United States went to al-Sistani for help, but
he refused to lift a finger for days. Al-Sistani figured the United States
would reverse its political plans and make concessions to buy Shiite support.

Just the opposite happened. The United States came to the conclusion that the Shia and Iran were completely unreliable -- and that they were no longer necessary. Rather than negotiate with the Shia, the Americans negotiated with the Sunni guerrillas in Al Fallujah and reached an agreement with them. The United States also pressed ahead with a political solution for the interim government that left the Shia on the margins.

The breakdown in U.S.-Iranian relations dates to this moment. The United
States essentially moved to reverse alliances. In addition, it made clear to
al-Sistani and others that they could be included in the coalition -- in a
favored position. In other words, the United States reversed the process by trying to drive a wedge between the Iranians and the Iraqi Shia. And it
appeared to be working, with al-Sistani and al-Sadr seeming to shift
positions so as not to be excluded.

Iran Roils the Surface

It was at that moment that the Iranians saw more than a decade of patient strategy going out the window. They took two steps. First, they created a crisis with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear weapons that was certain to draw U.S. attention. Second, they seized the British patrol boats. Their point? To let the United States know that it is on the verge of a major crisis with Iran.

The United States knows this, of course. Military planners are updating plans on Iran as we speak. The crisis is avoidable -- and we would expect it to wax and wane. But the fundamental question is this: Are American and Iranian national interests compatible and, if they are not, is either country in a position at this moment to engage in a crisis or a war? Iran is calculating that it can engage in a crisis more effectively than the United States. The United States does not want a crisis with Iran before the elections -- and certainly not over WMD.

But there is another problem. The Americans cannot let Iran get nuclear
weapons, and the Iranians know it. They assume that U.S. intelligence has a clear picture of how far weapons development has gone. But following the U.S. intelligence failure on WMD in Iraq -- ironically aided by Iran -- will any policy maker trust the judgment of U.S. intelligence on how far Iran's development has gone? Is the U.S. level of sensitivity much lower than Iran thinks? And since Israel is in the game -- and it certainly cannot accept an Iranian nuclear capability -- and threatens a pre-emptive strike with its  ownnuclear weapons, will the United States be forced to act when it does not want to?

Like other major crises in history, the situation is not really under
anyone's control. It can rapidly spin out of control and -- even if it is in
control -- it can become a very nasty crisis. This is not a minor
misunderstanding, but a clash of fundamental national interests that will not be easy to reconcile.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 04, 2004, 05:14:16 AM
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on July 07, 2004, 11:08:19 PM
By Rowan Scarborough
The Clinton administration talked about firm evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network years before President Bush made the same statements.

    The issue arose again this month after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported there was no "collaborative relationship" between the old Iraqi regime and bin Laden.

    Democrats have cited the staff report to accuse Mr. Bush of making inaccurate statements about a linkage. Commission members, including a Democrat and two Republicans, quickly came to the administration's defense by saying there had been such contacts.

    In fact, during President Clinton's eight years in office, there were at least two official pronouncements of an alarming alliance between Baghdad and al Qaeda. One came from William S. Cohen, Mr. Clinton's defense secretary. He cited an al Qaeda-Baghdad link to justify the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

    Mr. Bush cited the linkage, in part, to justify invading Iraq and ousting Saddam. He said he could not take the risk of Iraq's weapons falling into bin Laden's hands.

    The other pronouncement is contained in a Justice Department indictment on Nov. 4, 1998, charging bin Laden with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

    The indictment disclosed a close relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam's regime, which included specialists on chemical weapons and all types of bombs, including truck bombs, a favorite weapon of terrorists.

    The 1998 indictment said: "Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."

    Shortly after the embassy bombings, Mr. Clinton ordered air strikes on al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and on the Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.

    To justify the Sudanese plant as a target, Clinton aides said it was involved in the production of deadly VX nerve gas. Officials further determined that bin Laden owned a stake in the operation and that its manager had traveled to Baghdad to learn bomb-making techniques from Saddam's weapons scientists.

    Mr. Cohen elaborated in March in testimony before the September 11 commission.

    He testified that "bin Laden had been living [at the plant], that he had, in fact, money that he had put into this military industrial corporation, that the owner of the plant had traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program."

    He said that if the plant had been allowed to produce VX that was used to kill thousands of Americans, people would have asked him, " 'You had a manager that went to Baghdad; you had Osama bin Laden, who had funded, at least the corporation, and you had traces of [VX precursor] and you did what? And you did nothing?' Is that a responsible activity on the part of the secretary of defense?"

This article was mailed from The Washington Times (
For more great articles, visit us at

Copyright (c) 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Anonymous on July 20, 2004, 03:11:11 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The U.S.-Iranian relationship deteriorated further on Monday, as reports
leaked from the 9-11 commission saying there had been contacts between Iran and the hijackers prior to the Sept. 11 attacks. In addition, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) issued a report saying that the hijackers passed through Iranian territory. Not to be outdone, the Iranians also said the hijackers had passed through their territory. And U.S. President George W. Bush declared, "If the Iranians would like to have better relations with the United States there are some things they must do," such as not supporting terrorism or building nuclear weapons.

The deterioration in relations has now tracked back to Iran's relationship
with al Qaeda. It is not clear that Monday's revelations were deliberately
orchestrated. However, the Bush administration knew what would be in the 9-11 commission's report, and it knew of the Council on Foreign Relations report. Administration officials therefore were positioned to use these revelations to increase pressure on Iran. Tehran tried to deflect the
pressure last week by handing over a close associate of Osama bin Laden's to Saudi Arabia. In retrospect, this was partly a move to defuse this week's accusations. Rather than deny them, Iran is acknowledging them but demonstrating that it has shifted its position dramatically. Tehran is trying to decline a confrontation with Washington over its relationship with al Qaeda. It is not clear at the moment whether the United States is equally interested in avoiding a confrontation.

There is little surprise that al Qaeda used Iranian territory and had
relationships with individuals -- some in very senior positions -- in Iran.
Al Qaeda had a policy of cooperating at some level with all Islamic regimes. On close investigation, we will find that al Qaeda operatives were present in virtually every Islamic country and aided by officials in each. This was al Qaeda's strategy: forge relationships with governments or officials in every country that might be of use without becoming dependent on any of them. Therefore, al Qaeda might have used Iran, but it never relied on Iran -- a Shiite power distrusted by al Qaeda's Sunnis.

Iran, for its part, had a policy of maintaining links with all radical
Islamist groups, providing aid where appropriate to Iranian national
interest. In the case of al Qaeda, Iran had built-in mistrust of its Sunni
beliefs. For Iran, there were two separate questions. First, could al Qaeda
pose problems for the United States that would divert it from trying to
dominate Iran? And second, would al Qaeda strengthen or weaken the House of Saud, the religious and commercial rival of Iran? The answer to the first question was yes; the answer to the second was far more complex and difficult to answer. For Tehran, the logical outcome of this calculus would be very limited and careful support to al Qaeda: Safe passage across Iranian territory, plus some other limited support, would just about do it.

It is our view, barring further evidence, that the Iran-al Qaeda
relationship was real, and continued after the Sept. 11 attacks, but that it
never approached a level of mutual dependency or trust. As events unfolded in Iraq, Tehran began to shut down relations with al Qaeda, focusing more on cooperating with the United States. Then, when the United States reversed its policy on Iran in April, Tehran rewarmed its relationship with al Qaeda and started its own suicide-bombing program. The United States did not back off its political reversal, but transmitted some serious threats to Iran in the event that it did not back away from al Qaeda. Last week, the Iranians started to back off. The Bush administration is now using the 9-11 report, the CFR report and Iran's own admissions to maintain the pressure on Iran.

The United States is in no position to fight a war with Iran, whatever it
says privately to Tehran. Regime change is not an option -- but policy
change is. With the old arrangement gone, the United States is trying to
redefine its relationship with Iran on terms much less favorable than
before. As in any very bad marriage -- and the U.S.-Iranian entente was a really rotten one -- there is always time to dredge up past betrayals and
throw them in each other's faces.

Still, it is not all that simple. Iran is neither rejecting the accusations
nor acting defiantly. It is sounding worried, as though officials feel the
need to come clean. We find that extremely interesting. U.S. officials must
have said some very interesting things to the Iranians over the past month. We can't imagine what could be said that would make them so cautious, but that might simply be a failure of our imagination.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 03, 2004, 10:21:22 PM
Geopolitical Intelligence Report: Naming the War


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Naming the War
August 03, 2004

By George Friedman

Of the many things that were included in the 9/11 Commission's report,
perhaps none was more significant in the long run than its criticism of the
name the Bush administration has given the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001: the war on terrorism. The report argued that the idea of a struggle against an enemy called "terrorism" was too vague to be meaningful. It argued that the administration should shift away from fighting a "generic" evil and more precisely define the threat -- the threat from al Qaeda and a radical ideological movement in the Islamic world that "is gathering and will menace Americans and American interests long after" Osama bin Laden is gone.

The commission made two critical points. First, it asserted there was a war going on. There has been some doubt about this: Some have begun to argue that the Sept. 11 attacks were an isolated incident and that Americans should "get over it." Others have argued that it was primarily a criminal conspiracy and that the legal system should handle it. The commission made the unequivocal argument that it was a war and should be treated as such.

Wars are against enemies, and the commission makes the case that terrorism is not, by itself, a meaningful enemy. Rather, the enemy is -- according to the commission -- al Qaeda, and along with al Qaeda, radical Islam as an ideology. That means that, from the commission's viewpoint, this is a war between the United States and al Qaeda or, alternatively, a war between the United States and radical Islam. Given the gingerly way in which Americans have approached the question of the nature of the enemy, it is striking that the commission honed in on what has been one of the few aspects of delicacy in the Bush administration's approach to war -- completely rejecting the administration's attempt to subsume the war under the general rubric of

Terrorism is a military strategy: It is an attempt to defeat an enemy by
striking directly against its general population and thereby creating a sense of terror which, it is hoped, will lead the population to move against the government and force it to some sort of political acquiescence or accommodation. During World War II, for example, one of the primary uses of air power was to create terror among the population. The German bombardment of London, British nighttime area bombardment of German cities, American firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities -- all were terror attacks. They were explicitly designed to put the population at risk, in efforts to prompt the enemy's capitulation. It did not work at all against the British; there is debate over what role, if any, it played against the Germans; and it certainly had a massive, if not decisive, effect in the case of the Japanese.

Terror, of course, was not confined to World War II. It has been a frequent feature of warfare.

Many countries have used terror attacks. So have individuals and non-state groups. Timothy McVeigh's attack against the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was intended to generate some sort of political change. The attacks by the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany during the 1970s or the bombings of the Weather Underground in the United States were similarly intended to generate political change. That McVeigh, Ulriche Meinhoff and Mark Rudd had not the slightest idea of what they were trying to achieve nor of the relationship between their attacks and their strategy -- such as it was -- speaks to their own serious limitations. It says nothing about the potential uses of terror attacks in warfare, nor to the fact that terror attacks can be effective, given a clear strategy, planning and execution. Governments can be forced to change strategy when their populations are placed at risk.

This is the conceptual problem with terrorism: Like any sort of warfare, it
can be successful or not, depending on circumstances. However, terrorism in some form or another is among the most accessible types of warfare. What we mean by this is that while it is difficult for a handful of ideologues to secure a navy and impose a blockade, it is not impossible for a handful of people to carry out some limited attacks against a population, if it is no greater than firing a bullet into someone's kneecap or hijacking a plane. Terrorism provides a unique opportunity for small, non-state groups to wage war.

Historically, most of these non-state groups have consisted either of mental or emotional defectives or of individuals whose cause was so hopeless the act of terrorism could at best be considered a form of bloody theater rather than as a serious threat. It is extremely difficult to take the Basque separatist group ETA seriously in the sense of expecting that their attacks against the population will lead to a desired political evolution. It was certainly impossible to imagine how Rudd, Meinhoff or McVeigh possibly could have thought any strategic goal could have been reached through the use of terror attacks.

The general use of terror attacks by non-state actors has involved people
like this. The concept of terrorism, as it developed since the 1960s, has
focused not on terror as a potentially viable military strategy, but as an
inherently non-state activity. This is a serious historical error. But a more
serious error followed from this: If terrorism is something non-state actors use, and non-state actors tend in general to be imbeciles, posturers or lost causes looking for attention, then terrorism is no longer a serious military tool in the hands of strategists. It is, instead, a form of social and personal dysfunction, and therefore need not be taken seriously.

It was the secular Palestinian movement after 1967 that adopted the use of isolated counterpopulation attacks most effectively. Apart from attacks
against Israel and Israelis, where no significant political shift was
expected, terrorism was directed against allies of Israel, such as the United States. The strategy there -- not unlike the strategy in Iraq today -- was to impose costs for Israeli allies that would surpass the benefits of alliance.  In this case, terror attacks had a definite goal -- to change the
relationship between Israel and its allies. But the movement was hurt in
several ways. First, the Israelis struck back. Second, many Arab countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, worked actively against the Palestinian radicals. Finally, the Palestinians were engaged in an ongoing struggle in which the terrorist attacks became more focused on defining the relations among competing Palestinian factions than on any strategic political goal.

Terrorism, therefore, seemed to be a tool in the hands of the strategically
helpless. Some began and ended in hopeless confusion, succeeding in shedding blood for no purpose. However, the Palestinians who took terrorism as a tactic to the global stage themselves lost their strategic bearings by the 1980s, when it was no longer clear what they were trying to accomplish with some of their operations. Terrorism ceased to be regarded as a military option for nation-states, and it never was quite taken seriously as an effective strategic option for non-state actors. It became a form of moral derangement in the hands of the hopelessly confused and the strategically handicapped. It became a tool of losers.

Al Qaeda uses terrorism. This group pursues counterpopulation operations
designed to generate political evolutions that benefit its goals. By calling
the war against al Qaeda a war on terrorism, the Bush administration
committed two massive mistakes.

First, it lumped al Qaeda in with Mark Rudd and ETA. The latter two are not serious; the former is very serious. Both use the same tactics, but one has a strategic mission. In using this label, it became much more difficult for the administration itself to take al Qaeda seriously. How can you take something seriously that is part of such a collection of dunderheads? The Bush administration underestimated its enemy -- always dangerous in war.

Second, it confused the question of who the enemy was. If the war is against terrorism, then everyone who uses terrorism is the enemy. That's a lot of groups -- including on occasion, the United States. If one is waging a war against terrorism, one is at war against a tactic, not a personifiable enemy. Alternatively, the war must be waged against hundreds or thousands of enemy groups. The concept of terrorism is a wonderful way to get lost.

The most important problem is that if al Qaeda is simply part of a broader
spectrum of groups using terror operations, then the unique strategic
interests of al Qaeda disappear. Al Qaeda has clear strategic goals: It wants to foment a rising in the Islamic world that will topple one or more
governments, and replace them with regimes around which the reborn caliphate can be based. The Sept. 11 attacks were designed to trigger that rising. That has not happened, but al Qaeda is still there.

By ignoring the strategic goals of the attacks -- and this is critically
important -- the Bush administration lost its ability to measure success in
the war. The issue is not merely whether al Qaeda has lost the ability to
carry out terrorist attacks; the more important question is whether al Qaeda has achieved its strategic goals through the use of terrorist attacks. The answer to that is an emphatic no. Al Qaeda not only has not come close to achieving its goal, but has actually moved to a weaker position since 9/11 -- having lost its Afghan base and having had Saudi Arabia turn against it. By focusing on the tactic -- terrorism -- rather than on the strategy, the Bush administration has actually managed to confuse the issue so much that its own successes are invisible. The terror tactics remain, but al Qaeda's strategic goal is as far away as ever.

The administration has confused not only the situation but itself at all
levels by focusing on terrorism in general. It not only lost its ability to
measure strategic progress in the war, but also failed to understand the
unique characteristics of al Qaeda. In fairness, this has been a failure
going back to the Clinton administration, but the hangover remains. The term "terrorism" reminds everyone of hippies running wild and Palestinians attacking Olympic Games. It loses the particular significance of al Qaeda -- its unique intellectual and strategic coherence. It makes al Qaeda appear dumber than it is and causes miscalculation on the part of the United States.

It is interesting to remember why the Bush administration chose the name for the war that it did. Part of it had to do, of course, with the tendency of terrorism experts to treat al Qaeda as part of their domain. But the more important part had to do with not wanting to think in terms of a war against Islam -- radical or otherwise. From the beginning, the administration has not wanted to emphasize the connection between al Qaeda and Islam. Rather, it has tried to treat al Qaeda as an Islamic aberration. It was easier to do so by linking it with terrorism in some generic sense than by linking it with Islam.

The administration needed Islamic countries to participate in its coalition.
It did not want to appear in any way to be at war with any brand or style of Islam. In fighting al Qaeda, it was much easier to be at war with terrorism than with Islam. Stated differently, the administration was afraid that it would lose control of the war's definition if it focused on al Qaeda's Islamic links rather than on its terrorist tactics. It did not want pogroms against Muslims in the United States, and it sought to manage it relations with Islamic states very carefully.

The selection of the term "war on terror" was, therefore, not accidental. It
has been merely very confusing. It is this very confusion that the 9/11
Commission has pointed out. You cannot be at war with a type of military
operation; you have to be at war with a military actor -- and in this case,
the actor has been an organization that is part of a broader element of
radical Islam -- which is, in turn, fighting for dominance in the Islamic
world in general. That makes it a more important war, a more dangerous war and a much more complex one than merely a war against terrorism.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Whack Job on August 10, 2004, 04:01:21 PM

August 10, 2004 -- WHEN it comes to killing our enemies, Mom was right: Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. A year after he should have been removed from the Iraqi landscape, our troops are again engaged in combat with Muqtada al-Sadr's terrorist militia.
Intervening at the Iraqi government's request, the Marines fighting Sadr's thugs have been doing a superb job, killing at least 360 members of the renegade "Mahdi Army" and capturing hundreds more. Friendly casualties are almost nil. Our troops know how to do this work better than any other military in the world.

But the first question is: Will the Marines be called off before their quarry
is killed or locked in a cell, just as our Army was choked back by the
politicos two months ago ? when we had another chance to put an end to Sadr's antics?

The second question is: When will our nation's decision-makers, Republican or Democrat, figure out that there is no practical alternative to killing our deadly enemies?

Much has been made of the belligerence of the Pentagon's "chicken hawks," the neoconservatives who instigate wars so avidly, but dismiss the complexity and cost of restoring peace. Yet the most noteworthy aspect of the neocons' performance was how quickly they turned into little Bill Clintons (minus the charm) when the going got tough.

Unwilling to declare martial law after a brilliant battlefield performance by
our troops, unwilling to face down a budding Baathist insurgency, unwilling to remove Sadr from the scene, and even unwilling to live up to a public promise to crush resistance in Fallujah (who's credible now?), the Bush administration behaved like the high-school punk who provokes a fight then lets others do the bleeding.

This column has said it before and will doubtless say it yet again: If we're
unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front, we'll pay it with compound
interest in the end.

The even-grimmer news is that Sen. John Kerry promises to be worse as
commander in chief than President Bush on his most indecisive day. If Kerry's convention speech can be trusted ? and trust is a fundamental issue with this man of a thousand faces ? he would commit us to a policy of never acting pre-emptively, of surrendering the initiative to our enemies.

Kerry's nonsense about never going to war until war is forced upon us means that we might as well hang a sign on the Statue of Liberty: "Go ahead, hit me first."

If only we could flush away the partisan slop of this election year, what
would amaze us isn't the difference between recent administrations, but the continuity. Yes, President Bush performed splendidly in the aftermath of 9/11 ? in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But as soon as Saddam's statue fell, the Bush administration seemed to run out of juice, as if it depended upon unchallenged success and couldn't adjust when faced with unpleasant surprises. The senior officials charged with Iraq's reconstruction proved every bit as resistant to reality as the Clinton administration ever was.

The neocons' unwillingness to go after Sadr early on, as soon as the cleric chose violence, was just a two-bit reprise of Bill Clinton's reluctance to kill Osama bin Laden when he had one chance after another.

We can still be optimistic about Iraq ? thanks to the incredible job done by our military ? but it's striking how the Bush administration's dithering,
make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach to the occupation in Iraq resembles the previous administration's amateur-hour performance in Somalia.

Our troops end up paying the bills. No matter which party is booking the
Lincoln bedroom. Doesn't anyone take strategy seriously?

We should never send our military on any mission we only intend to prosecute half-heartedly. When risking the lives of our troops, the object should always be to achieve a firm decision on the ground, whether the purpose is to raid a terrorist hide out or change a government. That means sufficient resolve to kill those who take up arms to frustrate our purposes (or to attack our homeland).

For now, good things are happening in Iraq, despite our sloppiness. Iraq's interim prime minister, Ayad Allawi, is proving to be a great deal tougher than the neocons (or the spectacularly unprincipled Sen. Kerry). Allawi knows that his country needs order and that the forces of terror and insurgency only respect strength. Thus far, he's the most decisive political figure of any nationality to emerge in post-war Iraq.

Of course, Allawi's playing double, triple and quadruple games. That's how you survive in the Middle East, where the locals play three-dimensional chess while we play front-porch checkers. The crucial question about Allawi is whether he'll go quietly if his backers are defeated at the polls ? if the polls are fair to begin with.

At least Allawi's starting to clean house, which the Bushies could never
summon the nerve to do. He's tried to give Moqtada Sadr a face-saving out, but clearly intends to break the power of the cleric's militia. And his government's going after the con who conned America, Ahmed Chalabi. Nor does Allawi resort to the standard Middle Eastern ploy of blaming each problem on Washington.

Among ourselves, we need to stop pretending that Iraq is a one-time deal.  We'll be in the Middle East for decades to come, in unexpected locations. Our bitter enemies ? provoked by their civilization's utter failure ? will continue to present us with a straightforward choice: Either take the war to them or, per Sen. Kerry, wait until they bring the war to us.

We have to deal with the world in which we live, not the one we wish we
inhabited. Our tradition of passivity fostered the rise of a class of terrorists and thugs who would be delighted to slaughter every man, woman and child in America.

We need to kill them first.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 19, 2004, 05:16:21 AM

To refer a friend to Stratfor, send this Stratfor Weekly
directly to a friend or colleague by forwarding this email, or
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Redeployment and the Strategic Miscalculation
August 18, 2004

By George Friedman

On Aug. 16, U.S. President George W. Bush announced a global
redeployment of U.S. military forces. Bush said: "More of our
troops will be stationed and deployed from here at home. We'll
move some of our troops and capabilities to new locations, so
they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats. We'll
take advantage of 21st-century military technologies to rapidly
deploy increased combat power. The new plan will help us fight
and win these wars of the 21st century." On the surface, the
redeployment is important. There is a global war under way and
any redeployment of forces at this time matters. However, there
are other reasons why the redeployment is significant.

There are 1,425,687 men and women on active duty in the U.S.
armed forces. The redeployment of roughly 70,000 troops over a
period of 10 years -- or even in one year -- really doesn't
matter, even if most of them came from the U.S. Army, which
currently consists of almost 500,000 troops. The shift affects
roughly 10 percent of the standing Army, which is not trivial.
Neither is it decisive.

There are some important geopolitical implications that go beyond
the numbers. Germany is clearly being downgraded as a reliable
ally. The possible shift of U.S. naval headquarters from the
United Kingdom to Italy tightens relations with Italy -- and
focuses the Navy on the Mediterranean and away from the Atlantic.
Deploying U.S. troops to Romania and Bulgaria increases the U.S.
presence in southeastern Europe and improves access to the Middle
East. The reduction of forces on the Korean Peninsula is a
reminder to South Koreans to be careful what they wish for --
they might get it. Moving forces into Australia clearly signifies
the growing importance of the U.S.-Australian relationship for
the Pacific. Permanent bases in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and
Uzbekistan confirm an already existing relationship and emphasize
a further decline of the Russian sphere of influence in the
former Soviet Union.

But all of these things are relative and incremental. There
simply aren't that many forces moving around to tilt geopolitical
relationships in any fundamental way. Nor do the shifts
necessarily make as much sense as it might seem. Certainly there
is no longer a reason to base troops in Germany, but troops need
to be based somewhere. The idea that the strategic reserve should
reside in the continental United States is a defensible notion,
but not an obvious one. The major theaters of operation for the
United States are currently between the Mediterranean and the
Hindu Kush. Germany is a lot closer than the United States.

Post-Cold War Notions

In order to understand the thinking going on here, it is
important to understand a discussion that has been going on in
the defense community since the end of the Cold War. As U.S.
forces were reduced, the number of individual commitments of
troops did not decline. During the Clinton years, operations
ranged from Haiti to Kosovo to Iraq. The United States had to
find a way for a smaller force to compensate for its size by
increasing its tempo of operations and effectiveness.

Les Aspin, Bill Clinton's first defense secretary, conducted
something called the "Bottom-Up Review" that focused on this
question: How could the United States intervene in the Eastern
Hemisphere, in unpredictable theaters of operation, in a timely
fashion, with an effective force? During Desert Storm, it took
six months to deploy a force large enough to invade Kuwait. That
was too long -- and it took too long because the Army needed too
many tanks, troops and supplies to wage war. The question became
how to reduce the amount of forces needed to achieve the same

The answer for Aspin was to reduce the forces needed by
increasing lethality through technology. Increased dependence on
air power and increased lethality for Army equipment were
supposed to reduce the size of the force. That meant the force
could get there faster. Aviation, special operations and light
infantry became the darlings of the Defense Department. Armor and
artillery became the problem.

Aspin focused speed and lethality, on how fast the force could
get there and on how quickly it could destroy the enemy force.
The question of the occupation of the target country was
addressed only in terms of a concept called "Operations Other
Than War." Some operations were to be primarily humanitarian in
nature. Other operations would become humanitarian as soon as the
projection of decisive force was achieved. After that, forces
would shift to another task: nation-building. Haiti was a case of
nation-building from the get-go. Kosovo was a case of nation-
building after military victory.

Neither of them is a poster child for the idea of using the
military in operations other than war, and Bush sharply
criticized the Clinton people for squandering military resources
on non-military goals. Bush's argument was that nation-building
was difficult at best, that the military was not well-suited for
the task and that nation-building, while nice, was not a
fundamental American national interest in most cases.

It was an interesting debate that in retrospect missed the key
point -- by ignoring the fact that the occupation of a hostile
nation was in fact a military problem. Clinton assumed that once
troops were deployed and the enemy defeated, the occupation would
cease to be a combat problem. Bush argued that wasting troops on
non-combat problems was a mistake. Both missed the point that
after power projection and high-intensity conflict, you did not
necessarily enter a non-military phase. You could be entering a
third phase of the war: the occupation of a hostile country.

Afghanistan and Iraq were both cases in which the United States
occupied hostile territory. It does not take an entire country to
make that country hostile; a relatively small force can create a
hostile combat environment. Arguing about how big the opposition
might be is irrelevant. It is big enough in both countries that
U.S. forces are at war. And this brings us to the central

Rumsfeld and Aspin agreed on the fundamental premise: a smaller,
more agile force is better. They were both right, so long as the
focus is on power projection and the destruction of conventional
enemy forces. But when you shift to the occupation of a hostile
country, smaller size works against you and agility diminishes
radically in importance. The occupation of a country can be
enhanced only marginally by technology. Occupation requires a
force large enough to gain control of the country while waging
counterinsurgency operations. That represents a lot of boots on
the ground -- and a lot of tank treads.

Counting On Occupation

Now, it might be argued that occupation and counterinsurgency are
bad ideas. We are prepared to entertain that notion. What cannot
be debated is that the United States is currently engaged in two
campaigns -- Afghanistan and Iraq -- in which the occupation of
hostile territory is the mission. It is also possible that in
coming years, there will be more such operations. The problem is
that U.S. forces are not configured for the mission. The
institutional hostility toward a large army that permeated the
Defense Department under both Clinton and Bush has now started to
move to a crisis level -- and the Bush administration still has
not responded to it.

The administration has pointed out that it has hit its targets in
recruiting and retaining personnel since the beginning of the
Iraq war. In 2001, the recruiting goal for the Army was 75,800;
the National Guard was 60,252; and the reserve was 34,910. In
2002, the numbers were 79,500; 54,087; and 48,461. In 2003, the
goals were 73,800; 62,000; and 26,400. In 2004, they are 71,739;
56,000; and 21,200. In other words, recruiting for the active
Army and reserve stayed basically unchanged, while goals for the
National Guard declined. The United States is in a global war in
which two countries are currently being occupied and there has
been only a 30,000-man increase authorized by Congress.

Attempting to occupy two countries without massively increasing
the size of the Army is an extraordinary decision. But it is
completely understandable in terms of the Aspin-Rumsfeld view of
the military problem. Occupation of a large territory in the face
of hostile forces was not perceived to be a fundamental military
requirement. In part, this was because it was assumed the United
States would avoid such environments. But both Afghanistan and
Iraq were precisely this kind of environment, and prudent
military planning required that careful thought be given to the
manpower-intense mission of occupation. By the end of 2003, it
should have been clear that, like it or not, the United States
was in the occupation business. But the thinking that went on
before Iraq -- that as in Japan or Germany in World War II,
resistance would halt once the capital fell -- simply did not go
away. The obvious was not absorbed as a fact.

Instead, the Defense Department has resorted to stop-loss
strategies: preventing people from leaving when their terms of
service are up, calling up the Individual Ready Reserve and
exhausting the reserve and National Guard. Most importantly, it
has resorted to the only real solution available: insufficient
forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. It has tried to fill the gap with
contractors, which works to some extent; but the job of
occupation -- if it is to be undertaken at all -- is a job for
the Army, and there simply are not enough soldiers available. The
1st Marine Expeditionary Force, for example, is currently the
lead occupying force in the Anbar province in Iraq -- hardly the
"tip of the spear" combat force that the Marines are supposed to

It is in this context that the order to redeploy 70,000 troops
should be read. First, it is an attempt to reshuffle the same
deck, when what is needed are more cards. Second, the pace of the
redeployments -- measured in years rather than weeks -- indicates
that the administration knows there is no real solution here --
or it indicates that the administration still doesn't appreciate
the urgency of the situation.

That the Army -- other services as well, but the Army is the key
here -- is at its limits has been obvious for months. What is
interesting to us is that the president, in his speech, continued
to focus on the first two missions (projection and destruction of
enemy forces) and still has not focused on the centrality of
combat in occupation zones. We don't have much of a force to
project at this point, so increasing the capability is not really

It is not something he wants to tackle now, but whoever becomes
president will be doing so. There are two options: The draft,
which will not produce the kind of force needed, or massive
increases in the size of the volunteer force using economic
incentives. Gen. Douglas MacArthur said we should never fight a
land war in Asia after Korea. Vietnam sort of confirmed that.
Whether anyone has noticed, we are in another land war in Asia
and in Asian wars, technology is great, but riflemen and tanks
are the foundation.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: A Stratfor Thanks
Post by: buzwardo on August 19, 2004, 09:46:42 AM
Thanks for the Stratfor posts, Crafty. Some of the most cogent analysis I've encountered. Any idea what the backstory of Stratfor is? I note they use "us" as their self referential pronoun; what kind of "us" are they? I suspect intelligence and realpolitik backgrounds, but am still somewhat mystified. Where does all this spot on analysis come from in this wishy washy age?
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 19, 2004, 10:50:37 AM
Woof Buz:

Please excuse for stating the obvious, but have you gone to their website and surfed around? :lol:


PS:  I too find them to be genuinely superior in their analysis and recommend signing up highly.  There is much, much more than what is posted here.
Title: Surfing Stratfor
Post by: buzwardo on August 19, 2004, 07:12:03 PM
Howdy Crafty:

I did surf around the site some, and was impressed by the methodology mentioned. Approaching issues via their zero-based analysis makes a lot of sense. Still, the background info available on the web site seems tailored to attract captains of industry; I don't get a sense of the players behind the scenes.

One of the interesting aspects of having Pat Tray as an instructor are the interesting characters who show up at his academy. Though you never hear anything overt from them, there is plenty that can be intuited. I was hoping to get the same kind of read on the Stratfor folks: who they are, where they come from, how close to the sharp end they've been, etc. My guess is they don't publish that info as it could impact their data collection, but if you know anything anecdotal, I'm interested.


Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 26, 2004, 07:21:46 AM
Woof Buzwardo:

My sense of it is that they have not personally seen much action.

Anyway, here's this from today:


Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004

Events in An Najaf are moving to their logical conclusion. Grand Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani has returned to Iraq and, in spite of recent heart treatment,
is showing remarkable resiliency -- and is leading a march on An Najaf
designed to bring a peaceful end to the rising of Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi
Army. That is what will happen, if all goes according to script.

We assume there to be a script since: (a) al-Sistani chose to go to London
for non-emergency surgery when the U.S. attack began; (b) was permitted to leave London as things moved to their climax (his plane could have been found to have serious engine problems just before takeoff); and (c) was cleared to land in Kuwait and drive back into Iraq. We would think that if the United States and Britain expected problems, they would have found ways of delaying his return.

The script is therefore that he will march to An Najaf, accept the return of
the Imam Ali shrine from al-Sadr, make a speech suitably condemning the United States for occupying Iraq and demanding its withdrawal from An Najaf and other cities -- and proceed to implement a deal giving his followers prominent roles throughout the Iraqi government. Obviously, things could go wrong. Al-Sistani could decide not to play according to the script; al-Sadr might decide it would be healthier for him to hold on to the An Najaf mosque; or uncontrolled violence could suddenly break out without any real planning. All of this is possible, but the most likely outcome is an end to the standoff and al-Sistani moving into closer collaboration with the Americans.

This leaves the Iranians in as bad a shape as they can be in Iraq, with all
of their plans shot to pieces -- and even their control over Iraqi Shia
gone. The Iranians clearly need to do something. This was obviously on the mind of the U.S. Air Force that, according to the Iranians at least, sent
aircraft into Iranian air space. According to an Iranian News Agency (IRNA) report, five U.S. aircraft penetrated Iranian air space on the night of Aug. 19. They came in over the southwestern border and circled the city of Khorramshahr for a while, flying at about 30,000 feet

We tend to believe the report. First, the specificity lends credence to it.
Second, the political environment of the past few weeks would make
Washington want to send a signal to the Iranian government to accept events in Iraq, as well as to signal the Iranians that continued development of Iranian nuclear weapons would lead to decisive air action. The IRNA report referenced the capture and release of some British sailors and the U.S. undoubtedly wanted to signal mutual danger. It is difficult to imagine a military purpose for a flight of five aircraft -- presumably fighters -- at 30,000 feet. The U.S. has better reconnaissance platforms that would fly at different altitudes. As for testing air defenses: If the Iranians can't see five aircraft at 30,000 feet, they certainly can't build a nuclear weapon.

This was a political demonstration and we suspect there have been others. It is interesting that the Iranians decided to publicize it when it became clear that al-Sistani was returning to Iraq, but not before. Iranian
diplomats started to speculate publicly -- at about the same time -- that
war could be closer than might be thought. The Iranians appear to be
signaling Washington back that they are not intimidated.

The question will be whether their lack of intimidation will cause them to
raise the pot in Iraq, or whether their calmness in the face of provocation
means they are about to toss their hand in. Either way, the next move comes out of Tehran.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
Title: WW3
Post by: Crafty_Dog on August 29, 2004, 11:11:09 PM
A very long and thoughtful read:
Title: The 9/11 Report: A Dissent
Post by: Russ on August 30, 2004, 04:55:19 AM
August 29, 2004  The 9/11 Report: A Dissent

"But to layer another
official on top of the director of central intelligence, one who would be in
a constant turf war with the secretary of defense, is not an appealing
solution. Since all executive power emanates from the White House, the
national security adviser and his or her staff should be able to do the
necessary coordinating of the intelligence agencies. That is the traditional
pattern, and it is unlikely to be bettered by a radically new table of

Richard A. Posner is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for
the Seventh Circuit, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law
School and the author of the forthcoming book ''Catastrophe: Risk and


      The idea was sound: a politically balanced, generously financed
committee of prominent, experienced people would investigate the
government's failure to anticipate and prevent the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001. Had the investigation been left to the government, the
current administration would have concealed its own mistakes and blamed its
predecessors. This is not a criticism of the Bush White House; any
administration would have done the same.

      And the execution was in one vital respect superb: the 9/11 commission
report is an uncommonly lucid, even riveting, narrative of the attacks,
their background and the response to them. (Norton has published the
authorized edition; another edition, including reprinted news articles by
reporters from The New York Times, has been published by St. Martin's, while
PublicAffairs has published the staff reports and some of the testimony.)

      The prose is free from bureaucratese and, for a consensus statement,
the report is remarkably forthright. Though there could not have been a
single author, the style is uniform. The document is an improbable literary

      However, the commission's analysis and recommendations are
unimpressive. The delay in the commission's getting up to speed was not its
fault but that of the administration, which dragged its heels in turning
over documents; yet with completion of its investigation deferred to the
presidential election campaign season, the commission should have waited
until after the election to release its report. That would have given it
time to hone its analysis and advice.

      The enormous public relations effort that the commission orchestrated
to win support for the report before it could be digested also invites
criticism -- though it was effective: in a poll conducted just after
publication, 61 percent of the respondents said the commission had done a
good job, though probably none of them had read the report. The
participation of the relatives of the terrorists' victims (described in the
report as the commission's ''partners'') lends an unserious note to the
project (as does the relentless self-promotion of several of the members).
One can feel for the families' loss, but being a victim's relative doesn't
qualify a person to advise on how the disaster might have been prevented.

      Much more troublesome are the inclusion in the report of
recommendations (rather than just investigative findings) and the
commissioners' misplaced, though successful, quest for unanimity. Combining
an investigation of the attacks with proposals for preventing future attacks
is the same mistake as combining intelligence with policy. The way a problem
is described is bound to influence the choice of how to solve it. The
commission's contention that our intelligence structure is unsound
predisposed it to blame the structure for the failure to prevent the 9/11
attacks, whether it did or not. And pressure for unanimity encourages just
the kind of herd thinking now being blamed for that other recent
intelligence failure -- the belief that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of
mass destruction.

      At least the commission was consistent. It believes in centralizing
intelligence, and people who prefer centralized, pyramidal governance
structures to diversity and competition deprecate dissent. But insistence on
unanimity, like central planning, deprives decision makers of a full range
of alternatives. For all one knows, the price of unanimity was adopting
recommendations that were the second choice of many of the commission's
members or were consequences of horse trading. The premium placed on
unanimity undermines the commission's conclusion that everybody in sight was
to blame for the failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Given its political
composition (and it is evident from the questioning of witnesses by the
members that they had not forgotten which political party they belong to),
the commission could not have achieved unanimity without apportioning equal
blame to the Clinton and Bush administrations, whatever the members actually

      The tale of how we were surprised by the 9/11 attacks is a product of
hindsight; it could not be otherwise. And with the aid of hindsight it is
easy to identify missed opportunities (though fewer than had been suspected)
to have prevented the attacks, and tempting to leap from that observation to
the conclusion that the failure to prevent them was the result not of bad
luck, the enemy's skill and ingenuity or the difficulty of defending against
suicide attacks or protecting an almost infinite array of potential targets,
but of systemic failures in the nation's intelligence and security apparatus
that can be corrected by changing the apparatus.

      That is the leap the commission makes, and it is not sustained by the
report's narrative. The narrative points to something different, banal and
deeply disturbing: that it is almost impossible to take effective action to
prevent something that hasn't occurred previously. Once the 9/11 attacks did
occur, measures were taken that have reduced the likelihood of a recurrence.
But before the attacks, it was psychologically and politically impossible to
take those measures. The government knew that Al Qaeda had attacked United
States facilities and would do so again. But the idea that it would do so by
infiltrating operatives into this country to learn to fly commercial
aircraft and then crash such aircraft into buildings was so grotesque that
anyone who had proposed that we take costly measures to prevent such an
event would have been considered a candidate for commitment. No terrorist
had hijacked an American commercial aircraft anywhere in the world since
1986. Just months before the 9/11 attacks the director of the Defense
Department's Defense Threat Reduction Agency wrote: ''We have, in fact,
solved a terrorist problem in the last 25 years. We have solved it so
successfully that we have forgotten about it; and that is a treat. The
problem was aircraft hijacking and bombing. We solved the problem. . . . The
system is not perfect, but it is good enough. . . . We have pretty much
nailed this thing.'' In such a climate of thought, efforts to beef up
airline security not only would have seemed gratuitous but would have been
greatly resented because of the cost and the increased airport congestion.

      The problem isn't just that people find it extraordinarily difficult
to take novel risks seriously; it is also that there is no way the
government can survey the entire range of possible disasters and act to
prevent each and every one of them. As the commission observes,
''Historically, decisive security action took place only after a disaster
had occurred or a specific plot had been discovered.'' It has always been
thus, and probably always will be. For example, as the report explains, the
1993 truck bombing of the World Trade Center led to extensive safety
improvements that markedly reduced the toll from the 9/11 attacks; in other
words, only to the slight extent that the 9/11 attacks had a precedent were
significant defensive steps taken in advance.

      The commission's contention that ''the terrorists exploited deep
institutional failings within our government'' is overblown. By the
mid-1990's the government knew that Osama bin Laden was a dangerous enemy of
the United States. President Clinton and his national security adviser,
Samuel Berger, were so concerned that Clinton, though ''warned in the
strongest terms'' by the Secret Service and the C.I.A. that ''visiting
Pakistan would risk the president's life,'' did visit that country (flying
in on an unmarked plane, using decoys and remaining only six hours) and
tried unsuccessfully to enlist its cooperation against bin Laden. Clinton
authorized the assassination of bin Laden, and a variety of means were
considered for achieving this goal, but none seemed feasible. Invading
Afghanistan to pre-empt future attacks by Al Qaeda was considered but
rejected for diplomatic reasons, which President Bush accepted when he took
office and which look even more compelling after the trouble we've gotten
into with our pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. The complaint that Clinton was
merely ''swatting at flies,'' and the claim that Bush from the start was
determined to destroy Al Qaeda root and branch, are belied by the
commission's report. The Clinton administration envisaged a campaign of
attrition that would last three to five years, the Bush administration a
similar campaign that would last three years. With an invasion of
Afghanistan impracticable, nothing better was on offer. Almost four years
after Bush took office and almost three years after we wrested control of
Afghanistan from the Taliban, Al Qaeda still has not been destroyed.

      It seems that by the time Bush took office, ''bin Laden fatigue'' had
set in; no one had practical suggestions for eliminating or even
substantially weakening Al Qaeda. The commission's statement that Clinton
and Bush had been offered only a ''narrow and unimaginative menu of options
for action'' is hindsight wisdom at its most fatuous. The options considered
were varied and imaginative; they included enlisting the Afghan Northern
Alliance or other potential tribal allies of the United States to help kill
or capture bin Laden, an attack by our Special Operations forces on his
compound, assassinating him by means of a Predator drone aircraft or
coercing or bribing the Taliban to extradite him. But for political or
operational reasons, none was feasible.

      It thus is not surprising, perhaps not even a fair criticism, that the
new administration treaded water until the 9/11 attacks. But that's what it
did. Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, ''demoted'' Richard
Clarke, the government's leading bin Laden hawk and foremost expert on Al
Qaeda. It wasn't technically a demotion, but merely a decision to exclude
him from meetings of the cabinet-level ''principals committee'' of the
National Security Council; he took it hard, however, and requested a
transfer from the bin Laden beat to cyberterrorism. The committee did not
discuss Al Qaeda until a week before the 9/11 attacks. The new
administration showed little interest in exploring military options for
dealing with Al Qaeda, and Donald Rumsfeld had not even gotten around to
appointing a successor to the Defense Department's chief counterterrorism
official (who had left the government in January) when the 9/11 attacks

      I suspect that one reason, not mentioned by the commission, for the
Bush administration's initially tepid response to the threat posed by Al
Qaeda is that a new administration is predisposed to reject the priorities
set by the one it's succeeding. No doubt the same would have been true had
Clinton been succeeding Bush as president rather than vice versa.

      Before the commission's report was published, the impression was
widespread that the failure to prevent the attacks had been due to a failure
to collate bits of information possessed by different people in our security
services, mainly the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. And, indeed, had all these bits been collated, there would
have been a chance of preventing the attacks, though only a slight one; the
best bits were not obtained until late in August 2001, and it is unrealistic
to suppose they could have been integrated and understood in time to detect
the plot.

      The narrative portion of the report ends at Page 338 and is followed
by 90 pages of analysis and recommendations. I paused at Page 338 and asked
myself what improvements in our defenses against terrorist groups like Al
Qaeda are implied by the commission's investigative findings (as distinct
from recommendations that the commission goes on to make in the last part of
the report). The list is short:

      (1) Major buildings should have detailed evacuation plans and the
plans should be communicated to the occupants.

      (2) Customs officers should be alert for altered travel documents of
Muslims entering the United States; some of the 9/11 hijackers might have
been excluded by more careful inspections of their papers. Biometric
screening (such as fingerprinting) should be instituted to facilitate the
creation of a comprehensive database of suspicious characters. In short, our
borders should be made less porous.

      (3) Airline passengers and baggage should be screened carefully,
cockpit doors secured and override mechanisms installed in airliners to
enable a hijacked plane to be controlled from the ground.

      (4) Any legal barriers to sharing information between the C.I.A. and
the F.B.I. should be eliminated.

      (5) More Americans should be trained in Arabic, Farsi and other
languages in widespread use in the Muslim world. The commission remarks that
in 2002, only six students received undergraduate degrees in Arabic from
colleges in the United States.

      (6) The thousands of federal agents assigned to the ''war on drugs,''
a war that is not only unwinnable but probably not worth winning, should be
reassigned to the war on international terrorism.

      (7) The F.B.I. appears from the report to be incompetent to combat
terrorism; this is the one area in which a structural reform seems indicated
(though not recommended by the commission). The bureau, in excessive
reaction to J. Edgar Hoover's freewheeling ways, has become afflicted with a
legalistic mind-set that hinders its officials from thinking in preventive
rather than prosecutorial terms and predisposes them to devote greater
resources to drug and other conventional criminal investigations than to
antiterrorist activities. The bureau is habituated to the leisurely time
scale of criminal investigation