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Today's Topics:

   1. Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser (bluepilgrim)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2004 18:39:11 -0600
From: bluepilgrim <>
Subject: Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser

Iraq War Launched to Protect Israel - Bush Adviser

by Emad Mekay

03/29/04 "IPS" -- WASHINGTON - IPS uncovered the remarks by Philip Zelikow,
who is now the executive director of the body set up to investigate the
terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001 -- the 9/11
commission -- in which he suggests a prime motive for the invasion just
over one year ago was to eliminate a threat to Israel, a staunch U.S. ally
in the Middle East.

Zelikow's casting of the attack on Iraq as one launched to protect Israel
appears at odds with the public position of President George W. Bush and
his administration, which has never overtly drawn the link between its war
on the regime of former president Hussein and its concern for Israel's

The administration has instead insisted it launched the war to liberate the
Iraqi people, destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and to
protect the United States.

Zelikow made his statements about =94the unstated threat=94 during his tenu=
on a highly knowledgeable and well-connected body known as the President's
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the

He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.

=94Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll te=
you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 --
it's the threat against Israel,=94 Zelikow told a crowd at the University o=
Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts
assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda
terrorist organization.

=94And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europea=
don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the
American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically,
because it is not a popular sell,=94 said Zelikow.

The statements are the first to surface from a source closely linked to the
Bush administration acknowledging that the war, which has so far cost the
lives of nearly 600 U.S. troops and thousands of Iraqis, was motivated by
Washington's desire to defend the Jewish state.

The administration, which is surrounded by staunch pro-Israel,
neo-conservative hawks, is currently fighting an extensive campaign to ward
off accusations that it derailed the =94war on terrorism=94 it launched aft=
9/11 by taking a detour to Iraq, which appears to have posed no direct
threat to the United States.

Israel is Washington's biggest ally in the Middle East, receiving annual
direct aid of three to four billion dollars.

Even though members of the 16-person PFIAB come from outside government,
they enjoy the confidence of the president and have access to all
information related to foreign intelligence that they need to play their
vital advisory role.

Known in intelligence circles as =94Piffy-ab=94, the board is supposed to
evaluate the nation's intelligence agencies and probe any mistakes they mak=

The unpaid appointees on the board require a security clearance known as
=94code word=94 that is higher than top secret.

The national security adviser to former President George H.W. Bush
(1989-93) Brent Scowcroft, currently chairs the board in its work
overseeing a number of intelligence bodies, including the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA), the various military intelligence groups and the
Pentagon's National Reconnaissance Office.

Neither Scowcroft nor Zelikow returned numerous phone calls and email
messages from IPS for this story.

Zelikow has long-established ties to the Bush administration.

Before his appointment to PFIAB in October 2001, he was part of the current
president's transition team in January 2001.

In that capacity, Zelikow drafted a memo for National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice on reorganizing and restructuring the National Security
Council (NSC) and prioritizing its work.

Richard A. Clarke, who was counter-terrorism coordinator for Bush's
predecessor President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) also worked for Bush senior,
and has recently accused the current administration of not heeding his
terrorism warnings, said Zelikow was among those he briefed about the
urgent threat from al-Qaeda in December 2000.

Rice herself had served in the NSC during the first Bush administration,
and subsequently teamed up with Zelikow on a 1995 book about the
unification of Germany.

Zelikow had ties with another senior Bush administration official -- Robert
Zoellick, the current trade representative. The two wrote three books
together, including one in 1998 on the United States and the =94Muslim Midd=

Aside from his position at the 9/11 commission, Zelikow is now also
director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller
Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

His close ties to the administration prompted accusations of a conflict of
interest in 2002 from families of victims of the 9/11 attacks, who
protested his appointment to the investigative body.

In his university speech, Zelikow, who strongly backed attacking the Iraqi
dictator, also explained the threat to Israel by arguing that Baghdad was
preparing in 1990-91 to spend huge amounts of =94scarce hard currency=94 to
harness =94communications against electromagnetic pulse=94, a side-effect o=
f a
nuclear explosion that could sever radio, electronic and electrical

That was =94a perfectly absurd expenditure unless you were going to ride ou=
a nuclear exchange -- they (Iraqi officials) were not preparing to ride out
a nuclear exchange with us. Those were preparations to ride out a nuclear
exchange with the Israelis=94, according to Zelikow.

He also suggested that the danger of biological weapons falling into the
hands of the anti-Israeli Islamic Resistance Movement, known by its Arabic
acronym Hamas, would threaten Israel rather than the United States, and
that those weapons could have been developed to the point where they could
deter Washington from attacking Hamas.

=94Play out those scenarios,=94 he told his audience, =94and I will tell yo=
people have thought about that, but they are just not talking very much
about it=94.

=94Don't look at the links between Iraq and al-Qaeda, but then ask yourself
the question, 'gee, is Iraq tied to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad
and the people who are carrying out suicide bombings in Israel'? Easy
question to answer; the evidence is abundant.=94

To date, the possibility of the United States attacking Iraq to protect
Israel has been only timidly raised by some intellectuals and writers, with
few public acknowledgements from sources close to the administration.

Analysts who reviewed Zelikow's statements said they are concrete evidence
of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has been hushed up.

=94Those of us speaking about it sort of routinely referred to the protecti=
of Israel as a component,=94 said Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based
Institute of Policy Studies. =94But this is a very good piece of evidence o=

Others say the administration should be blamed for not making known to the
public its true intentions and real motives for invading Iraq.

=94They (the administration) made a decision to invade Iraq, and then start=
to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in search of a
policy and because of the odd way they went about it, people are trying to
read something into it,=94 said Nathan Brown, professor of political scienc=
at George Washington University and an expert on the Middle East.

But he downplayed the Israel link. =94In terms of securing Israel, it doesn=
make sense to me because the Israelis are probably more concerned about
Iran than they were about Iraq in terms of the long-term strategic threat,=
he said.

Still, Brown says Zelikow's words carried weight.

=94Certainly his position would allow him to speak with a little bit more
expertise about the thinking of the Bush administration, but it doesn't
strike me that he is any more authoritative than Wolfowitz, or Rice or
Powell or anybody else. All of them were sort of fishing about for
justification for a decision that has already been made,=94 Brown said.

Copyright =A9 2004 IPS-Inter Press Service

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