The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
A couple of news reports on the war-plans for Iraq. The Guardian reports on 'preparations for an assault on Iraq involving up to 200,000 US troops that is likely to be launched later this year' noting that 'the trigger could be the expected row over weapons inspections in three months' time.' An 'American intelligence source' is quoted as saying that the White House "will not take yes for an answer" when it comes to inspections, 'suggesting that Washington would provoke a crisis' adding 'that he expected the war to begin soon after the May ultimatum.' A Foreign Office official is quoted as saying that military action was not imminent, but would be "a question of months". According to the New York Times 'Between now and May, Mr. Bush's team plans to create what amounts to an inspection crisis demanding that Iraq admit into the country the nuclear inspectors it ousted in 1998. Mr. Bush's aides fully expect that Mr. Hussein will refuse outright or feign cooperation in the hope of dragging out the process. Mr. Bush's plan is to use either action as evidence that Iraq is hiding active weapons programs, and use its resistance to justify more forceful action.' According to George Bush 'Saddam Hussein needs to understand that I'm serious about defending our country.' As Chomksy might put it, Orwell wouldn't even have bothered laughing ... Perhaps this would be a good time to remind folk about the ARROW (Active Resistance to the Roots of War) Pledge of Resistance to future military attacks. You can find it on www.justicenotvengeance.org . Best wishes, Gabriel voices in the wilderness uk ******************************************************* US targets Saddam Pentagon and CIA making plans for war against Iraq this year Julian Borger in Washington and Ewen MacAskill Thursday February 14, 2002 The Guardian The Pentagon and the CIA have begun preparations for an assault on Iraq involving up to 200,000 US troops that is likely to be launched later this year with the aim of removing Saddam Hussein from power, US and diplomatic sources told the Guardian yesterday. President George Bush's war cabinet, known as the "principals committee", agreed at a pivotal meeting in late January that the policy of containment has failed and that active steps should be taken to topple the Iraqi leader. But, according to a US intelligence source familiar with CIA preparations, the plans for a parallel overt and covert war only landed on the president's desk in the past few days. "I will reserve whatever options I have. I'll keep them close to my vest. Saddam Hussein needs to understand that I'm serious about defending our country," Mr Bush said yesterday. Since the principals committee decision, Colin Powell, the secretary of state and the dove of the administration, has pointedly added his voice to the calls for a "regime change". "We are looking at a variety of options that would bring that about," he told the Senate budget committee. The blueprint for a campaign against Iraq has evolved from a contingency plan drawn up by the joint chiefs of staff that envisaged the use of a 200,000-strong US force, the bulk of which would invade from Kuwait. However, it may be that the actual force used will be less numerous, relying more on covert and special forces operations. Central Command has already set up forward headquarters in the Gulf from which each of the component services will be able to coordinate the war. The air force headquarters (Afcent) is at the Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia. The army headquarters (Arcent) is in Kuwait, while the navy (Navcent) is in Bahrain. Central Command's marine component (Marcent) is also expected to move to Bahrain in the next few days, weeks after the main marine force left Afghanistan. The US, Israel and Turkey were due to hold joint exercises codenamed Anatolian Eagle this year, but in another sign of accelerated preparations there will be three such exercises in the next few months, based at the Turkish air force base at Konya. Once upgraded, Konya could be used alongside Incirlik as a base for air strikes on northern Iraq. The Pentagon's military planners are reported to have agonised over the Iraq plan because of the significant risk that Saddam - aware that unlike during the Gulf war his own life is at stake this time - would use chemical and biological weapons against US troop concentrations and Israel. The danger would be minimised by intensive bombing of missile launchers, but the generals reportedly remain extremely concerned that the risks cannot be eliminated entirely. The CIA's covert war would involve arming and training Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq and Shi'ite forces in Kuwait. CIA trainers and special forces troops have already been dispatched to Kuwait for that purpose, and may already have begun work. Meanwhile, CIA and special forces will launch a campaign of sabotage and information warfare in the next few months. The CIA puts very little faith in the military capacity of the main opposition movement, the Iraqi National Congress, but it has begun intensive consultations with INC officials about the logistics of training and arming the movement's supporters. The trigger could be the expected row over weapons inspections in three months' time. America's allies are clinging to the hope that US military action will be forestalled by Baghdad's acceptance of unconditional and unfettered weapons inspections when the international sanctions regime comes up for review at the United Nations in May. However, Iraq's vice-president, Taha Yassin Ramadan, said yesterday there was no need for "spies" from the UN weapons inspection teams to return to the country. A US state department official said he thought it very unlikely that the Iraqi regime would be prepared to accept the stringent programme of inspections the US will demand. As the American intelligence source put it, the White House "will not take yes for an answer", suggesting that Washington would provoke a crisis. He added that he expected the war to begin soon after the May ultimatum. US allies in the Middle East have been informed that a decision to attack Iraq has already been taken, and diplomats from the region said yesterday they were resigned to the inevitability of a war that may threaten the stability of a string of Arab regimes. "It is a nightmare situation for us," said one Arab diplomat in Washington. "We feel the Americans will take very drastic action and we have to be prepared for such a reality. But the public opinion in the street will not see this as a benign attempt to restore order, but as American imperialism." France, Germany and others in the European Union have been queuing up to make clear to Mr Bush that they will not support him in military action against Iraq. The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, this week joined the French foreign minister, Hubert Vιdrine, by expressing publicly his concern about US policy towards Iraq. But Tony Blair and the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, have refused to join the public outcry. A Foreign Office official said yesterday that military action was not imminent, but would be "a question of months". A Foreign Office spokesman later said: "The prime minister has made it clear from the outset that the campaign would have two phases: the first focusing on Afghanistan and the second looking at different aspects of international terrorism. In that context, we have to look at issues such as weapons of mass destruction." There are regular exchanges between the US state department and the Foreign Office on strategy for tackling Iraq. The Foreign Office spokesman said: "We will proceed in consultation with our allies and the precise methods of action will be for consultation in due course." In the months after September 11, the Foreign Office repeatedly ruled out military action against Iraq, other than the regular bombing along its border with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Its line at the time was that there was no evidence linking Iraq to terrorist activity. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, all US allies neighbouring Iraq, expect to sustain significant economic and political damage from a new conflict. Jordan believes it stands to lose $800m (£500m) from the interruption of deliveries of cheap Iraqi oil, and has already begun to hint at the need for compensation. **************************************************************************** February 13, 2002 New York Times U.S. Goal Seems Clear, and the Team Complete By DAVID E. SANGER WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 In the weeks following the defeat of the Taliban and the scattering of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, the Bush administration was consumed with internal debate about where to take the war on terrorism next. Now, by all indications, the debate is largely over: toppling Saddam Hussein is the next major goal, and the administration is putting in place the diplomatic and military means to accomplish it. But if allies have grown more nervous that this is the wrong fight at the wrong time, Mr. Bush sounds as if he has grown more certain than ever of the rightness of his course: in Milwaukee on Monday night, he warned that he was "not going to allow regimes such as Iran, Iraq and North Korea to threaten our way of life." Mr. Bush made no distinctions among the three nations in his speech, or in the State of the Union address last month. However, inside the administration there is now consensus that Iraq is the only one that has to go. That decision has been made vivid in recent days by the remarks of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell a case in which Washington's messenger is as important as the message itself. Secretary Powell has long been considered the voice of caution in the Bush war cabinet, the restraining influence on those in the Pentagon, led by Deputy Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz, who argued for ousting Saddam Hussein immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Persian Gulf war, he carried enormous credibility in facing down the Pentagon. Now, one senior administration official said the other day, "we've finally jelled." Secretary Powell, he noted, used the phrase "axis of evil" repeatedly in reference to Iraq, Iran and North Korea to signal that there is no daylight between himself and his more hawkish boss. "It's hard to imagine Colin saying those words on his own a month ago," the official said. "Either he's come into agreement with everyone else, or he's decided to embrace the policy in hopes that, from the inside, he can control and modify it." If that is Secretary Powell's secret plan, he may have time on his side. Even the most hawkish members of the administration say it will be months before the desire to oust Saddam turns into a concrete strategy to oust Saddam. But the outlines of the strategy are beginning to emerge. Between now and May, Mr. Bush's team plans to create what amounts to an inspection crisis demanding that Iraq admit into the country the nuclear inspectors it ousted in 1998. Mr. Bush's aides fully expect that Mr. Hussein will refuse outright or feign cooperation in the hope of dragging out the process. Mr. Bush's plan is to use either action as evidence that Iraq is hiding active weapons programs, and use its resistance to justify more forceful action. Whether that takes the form of direct military attack, support for internal rebellions, or other options "is still up in the air," a senior White House official said today. But by joining so publicly with his boss and with his rivals in the Defense Department, Mr. Powell is clearly signaling to America's reluctant allies that they cannot exploit a division in the administration to forestall action on Iraq. "At some point," a senior administration official said, "the Europeans with butterflies in their stomachs many of whom didn't want us to go into Afghanistan will see that they have a bipolar choice: they can get with the plan or get off." It is that kind of talk that has so raised the hackles of European leaders in recent days, including longtime friends of Washington like Joschka Fischer, the German foreign minister, who warned today that "alliance partners are not satellites," a phrase that evoked images of how the old Soviet Union dealt with the rest of the Communist bloc. Secretary Powell will have to chip away at such vocal opposition if he has any hope of piecing together an anti-Iraq coalition that would at least give protective political cover to what would essentially be an American action. But he warned last week that if the allies balk he clearly had Germany, France and Saudi Arabia in mind, among others, but was too diplomatic to say so Mr. Bush was fully prepared to do it by himself, a fact the president made clear in his State of the Union address. In the speech he did not once mention any of the allies who assisted in the campaign in Afghanistan. "There may be times when we have to act alone," Secretary Powell said. "We can't have our national interest constrained by the views of the coalition." The war will focus on Iraq, but that will not be the only action against terrorism. Already 650 troops have been dispatched to the Philippines, and administration officials are considering whether to ask Indonesia to accept a similar force. The Navy has been patrolling the Horn of Africa for weeks to prevent Al Qaeda members from slipping into Somalia. "We have a lot of decisions to make about how you deal with these outposts of terrorism the Philippines, the Sudans, the Yemens and those challenges will come up before Iraq does," a senior administration official said today. "Then there is Iran and North Korea, who are part of the axis of evil, but the part we hope to talk to," the official said, though both countries were so offended by Mr. Bush's language about them in the State of the Union address it is unclear whether they are willing to respond. Iraq, he said, "is in a category by itself." **************************************************************************** ** -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 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.