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FW: Alexander Haig: Attack Syria First

thanks to Rick Rozoff of Stop Nato! best, felicity a.

Haig: Syria should be next target
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large
Published 1/7/2002 2:57 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The man who has held three
key appointments in past administrations -- secretary
of state, White House chief of staff, and NATO supreme
commander - said Monday Syria, not Iraq, should be the
next target in the war against terrorism.

In an exclusive interview with United Press
International, Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr., said
Syria's "footprints" are much clearer than Iraq's.

"This doesn't mean that Iraq isn't a more venal threat
... There's a great deal of culpability in Iraq for
the past 10 years, but not necessarily as a branch of
Global Terror, Inc.," he said.

"Syria," Haig made clear, "is a terrorist state by any
definition and is so classified by the State
Department. I happen to think Iran is, too."

The defeat of Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terror
network in Afghanistan "did not neutralize the
venality of other (terrorist) tentacles, such as
Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah," he explained,
organizations that would not hesitate to provide "aid
and succor" to al Qaida fighters. Syria and Iran are
the sponsors of these terrorist groups, not Iraq.

For the United States to take on Iraq, Haig said,
would require about 100,000 combat troops.

"We have to recognize that we had far more people over
there the first time than we ever needed," he
continued. "The Gulf War itself was fought essentially
by two units."

Haig said, "Saddam is not part of a transnational
terrorist network. Which is not to say he is not a
threat to the entire Gulf region with his growing
arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Because he is.

"First and foremost we must go after hydra-headed al
Qaida's global tentacles. These Islamist terrorists
look upon their defeat in Afghanistan as the loss of a
piece of real estate on the larger canvas of Islamist
fundamentalist extremism that has developed roots in
some 40 Muslim countries and which has cells all over
the Western world, including the United States, " the
retired general said.

But, he went on, "Iraq doesn't belong on this canvas.
International terrorism continues to be the mission.
So Iraq is not an immediate priority. There are
several factors that will determine future targets.
First of all, our capability to deal with them
effectively and efficiently. Also evidence of their
culpability, conflicting priorities with other
objectives, and how much time we have before the
venality of these regimes becomes a bigger threat than
the evidence we have."

Asked whether culpability had been proved in Iraq in
the context of international terrorism, Haig replied
that there has been "a great deal of culpability in
Iraq for the past 10 years, but not necessarily as a
branch of Global Terror, Inc. Iraq is a substantial
target, but not an insurmountable one. We've proven
that. And it won't be as tough a nut next time as Iraq
is now a much-weakened state. But we still have to
assess the situation against our worldwide
commitments, our current forces levels and
capabilities, our priorities for dealing with
transnational terrorism, and our intelligence with
respect to the nature of the targets we develop."

Haig also hinted that the United States does not have
sufficient troops on the ground in Afghanistan "given
the magnitude of the problems we now face (there). A
major U.S. force on the ground would convince the
world we were in for the long haul recovery of a
country devastated by 21 years of warfare," he said.
"We lost interest in Afghanistan and left it in the
lurch after the Soviets pulled out in 1989 -- and paid
a terrible price for our shortsightedness, witness the
emergence of Taliban and al Qaida. If we are to thwart
another round of warlordism and tribal warfare, such
as what followed the Soviet withdrawal, and encourage
the Afghans to get on with rebuilding their own
nation, U.S. assistance, diplomacy and a muscular
military presence will be required."

"In Desert Storm," in 1991, Haig said, "we had too
many troops; in Afghanistan probably not enough for
the major commitment we have made." He blamed the
inadequacy of current force levels on the Clinton
administration. With all the commitments made by
Clinton "and a continued reduction in our manpower
base in all the services, we should be asking
ourselves whether or not we have sufficient forces to
cope with a global war against terrorism that involves
several nation states. Sooner or later something had
to give. But President Bush, faced with the
unprecedented affront of 9-11, could not wait to take
action. So he had to do what we were capable of doing
and he did it brilliantly ... he achieved maximum
success despite a number of formidable restraints."

Other key points made by Haig:

* China -- "We could begin by refraining from
gratuitous insults. Our interventionism in China's
internal affairs is something we committed not to do
in the Shanghai and subsequent communiquÈs. And yet
we've proceeded to do just that with increased
intensity, especially during Clinton's eight years.
... How can we expect China to live up to its
commitments when we don't live up to ours? ... The
fact is that interventionism usually aggravates the
improvement in human rights and sets things back ...
The best way to promote our values, whether its human
rights or a market economy...[is] by example and by
success ...The conditions for what we are today do not
exist in large parts of the world. So we ought to be
more patient. Most of our posturing is done by
politicians for domestic political gain, not to
achieve results around the world."

*Taiwan - "Of course, we should defend Taiwan in case
of attack."

* Europe -- The United States continues to maintain
70,000 U.S. troops in Germany because: "This presence
is the basis of our influence in the European region
and for the cooperation of allied nations whose
security it enhances. A lot of people forget it is
also the bona fide of our economic success ... it
keeps European markets open to us. If those troops
weren't there, those markets would probably be more
difficult to access."

* Russia -- President Bush has moved toward a new
global security system "when he said Russia is no
longer our enemy, that NATO wants to cooperate with
them, and he didn't discount future NATO membership
for Russia...[but] if you make the case for Russia in
NATO, then there would be no reason for NATO. You
would have to rechristen it and change its overall

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