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You can e-mail your letters to the Guardian at email@example.com Best wishes, Gabriel *************************************************** Bite the bullet and target Iraq William Safire in Washington Tuesday September 25, 2001 The Guardian "We're looking for links" between Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist group and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, said Colin Powell yesterday. So far, the US secretary of state can see "no clear link" between Bin Laden's forces in Afghanistan and the America-hater publicly laughing at our grief in Baghdad. Powell does not want to acknowledge any evidence of sponsorship of Bin Laden by Iraq because that would demand a crushing blow at an Arab state. It might limit the diplomatic convoy of consensus he is assembling, which will travel at the rate of its most grudging member. The clear link between the terrorist in hiding and the terrorist in power can be found in Kurdistan, that northern portion of Iraq protected by US and British aircraft from Saddam's savagery. Kurdish sources tell me (and anyone else who will listen) that the Iraqi dictator has armed and financed a fifth column of al-Qaida mullahs and terrorists that calls itself the Jund al Islam ("Soldiers of Islam"). Its purposes are to assassinate the leaders of free Kurdistan, to sabotage the relief efforts of the UN and to whip up religious fervor in that free Muslim region. That is how Saddam plans to reconquer the no-flight zone that has been a thorn in his side for a decade. According to a key member of the Kurdish resistance reached by cellphone in Suleymaniyah, some 400 "Arab Afghan" mercenaries armed with Katyusha rockets transported by Toyota Land Cruisers, have been infiltrated into the liberated region by Saddam's secret intelligence force, the Mukhabarat. They have already murdered a high Kurdish official as well as a Muslim scholar who dared to interpret the Koran humanely. This current, direct threat by Muslim fanatics doing Saddam's bidding is uniting the two squabbling democratic parties in the free zone. These Kurds are not Arabs or anti-Turkish terrorists. Nor are they pseudo-religious extremists humiliating women and moderates; on the contrary, the Muslim faith practised in northern Iraq has long been marked by tolerance. That brings us to the strategic decision now being debated in President Bush's war council. Do we respond to our initial, catastrophic defeat in a wholly multilateral way? That would mean seeking intelligence crumbs from Saudi and Egyptian potentates, negotiating cautious UN resolutions, hunkering down to limit the damage of suicide bombers, and beginning a phased air and ground assault on Bin Laden's "base" in Afghanistan to be followed up with joint police work for years around the world. It would fight yesterday's terrorist war. Or do we recognise now the greater danger of germ warfare or nuclear attack from a proven terrorist nation, and couple expected retribution for this month's attack with a strategy of pre-emptive retaliation? Such use of our superpower need not require our "going it alone"; civilised nations unafraid of internal revolt will understand the threat to their citizens and stand with us. Iraqi scientists today working feverishly in hidden biological laboratories and underground nuclear facilities would, if undisturbed, enable the hate-driven, power-crazed Saddam to kill millions. That capability would transform him from a boxed-in bully into a rampant world power. It's troubling when Powell says that President Bush "has not worked out what he might do in later stages". Now is the time to work out how to strike down terrorism's boss of all bosses. "Later" may be a stage too late. -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.