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[casi] Articles: Gerecht/Wolfowitz/B. LEWIS/Holbrooks

1) Reuel Marc Gerecht: "Why the Shiites are the key"
2) Wolfowitz: "Support Our Troops "
3) BERNARD LEWIS: "Put the Iraqis in Charge"
4) Richard Holbrooks: "Pour avancer en Irak"


      Why the Shiites are the key
      Reuel Marc Gerecht NYT
      Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Bombing democracy

WASHINGTON Of all the bad news from Iraq recently - the bombing of the UN
headquarters, attacks on coalition soldiers, hints of foreign terrorists
being drawn to a holy war - the car bombing Friday in the Shiite holy city
of An Najaf is clearly the most worrisome.

The attack, which killed scores of Iraqis, including the prominent cleric
Ayatollah Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim - and which took place less than a week
after a bomb went off at the home of Hakim's uncle, Grand Ayatollah Muhammad
Said al-Hakim - has convulsed the Shiite community. That should be of vital
concern to the United States, whose fortunes in Iraq will rise or fall with
the political sentiments of the Shiites, who make up at least 60 percent of
Iraq's population.

These bombings were undoubtedly intended to terrorize Iraq's clerical
establishment and to snuff out the growing dialogue between mainstream
Shiites and Americans. Both ayatollahs had been talking to U.S. officials
and favored democracy. Muhammad Bakr al-Hakim controlled the only effective
Shiite paramilitary force, but had chosen not to direct it against the
occupation. This had angered Shiite extremists, notably the young cleric
Moktada al-Sadr, leader of a violent faction known as the Sadriyyin.

It may never be totally clear who planned the two bombings: the Sadriyyin,
fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, Baath Party loyalists or agents of Iran's
hard-core mullahs. Some U.S. officials and Ahmad Chalabi, a member of the
Iraqi Governing Council, quickly blamed anti-American Sunnis.

This may well be true, but it is important to note that the Baath Party
loyalists and Sunni fundamentalists, at least until now, have kept their
distance from the Shiite south, killing "collaborationists" and American
soldiers only in the Sunni regions.

It is also possible that the bombings were the result of an unexpected
marriage of convenience. When I was in Iraq in June, there was much gossip
among Shiites that Sadr and his Sadriyyin were trying to forge an alliance
with Sunni fundamentalists. If so, U.S. troops may face an ugly two-front
war, far worse than the isolated attacks they have endured so far.

Still, whether or not Sunnis were involved in the bombings, the greater
concern is that they will spur a Shiite-versus-Shiite tug of war. The
Sadriyyin movement has aggressively vied for power with the grand ayatollahs
of An Najaf. The Sadriyyin are hard-core revolutionaries, spiritual
disciples of the "Khomeini of Iraq," Muhammad Bakr al-Sadr, who was killed
by Saddam Hussein in 1980.

In recent weeks Moktada al-Sadr had been ramping up his anti-American
vitriol. The reason is clear: Time is working against him. Local governance
in the Shiite regions has been solidifying as American administrators have
passed more responsibility to Iraqis. As Iraqis slowly gain confidence in
the Governing Council, the debate over the coming constitutional convention
will dominate Iraqi politics. And if Iraqis succeed in drawing up a new,
broadly accepted constitution, the radicals know they will be exiled to the
fringes of society.

Indeed, the two bombings can be seen as evidence of extremists' failure to
gain traction on the "Shiite street." If so, the decision to resort to
violence may backfire. Few Shiites will countenance violence against such
respected figures, or such ghastly slaughter so near the Imam Ali mosque.

It is critical for the American administration to react decisively. Until
now it has shown commendable restraint toward the Sadriyyin movement, not
wanting to aid the extremists' recruitment efforts. But if American
officials get solid proof that Sadr's followers were involved in the
bombings, the military should move quickly and ruthlessly.

And Washington should not tolerate the small stream of holy warriors coming
over the Syrian and Iranian borders. Shiite leaders view U.S. efforts
against these foreigners as a test of America's resolve and capacities. The
only way to stop the flow will be to apply pressure on Syria and Iran to end
it. Saddam was never able to seal the Iranian-Iraqi border, and thousands of
additional U.S. troops won't either.

In the long term, America's goal must be to create a civil society among
Iraqis of all faiths and races. But the principal focus for now must be
helping the Shiites and their senior clergy, America's strongest allies in
the country. They - not the United Nations and more foreign troops - are the
key to creating the democracy America has promised.

The writer, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a resident
fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.




Support Our Troops
Iraq isn't part of the war on terror? Try telling the soldiers that.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

When terrorists exploded a bomb outside a shrine in Najaf last week, they
killed scores of Muslims who had gathered for prayers--including one of
Iraq's foremost Shiite leaders, who had been playing a key role in
stabilizing post-Saddam Iraq. Similarly, when a bomb detonated in the U.N.
headquarters in Baghdad recently, those killed and injured were innocent men
and women--including Iraqis--who were engaged in the humanitarian mission of
rebuilding Iraq.

But those victims weren't the only targets. Terrorists were aiming a blow at
something they hate even more--the prospect of a country freed from their
control and moving to become an Iraq of, by, and for the Iraqi people.
Terrorists recognize that Iraq is on a course towards self-government that
is irreversible and, once achieved, will be an example to all in the Muslim
world who desire freedom, pointing a way out of the hopelessness that the
extremists feed on. And so, they test our will, the will of the Iraqi
people, and the will of the civilized world.

While we can't yet fix blame for this most recent act of terrorism, we do
know this: Despite their differences, the criminal remnants of Saddam's
sadistic regime share a common goal with foreign terrorists--to bring about
the failure of Iraqi reconstruction and take the country back to the sort of
tyrannical prison from which it has just been freed. The recent broadcast of
a taped message by an alleged al Qaeda spokesman offered congratulations to
"our brothers in Iraq for their valiant struggle against the occupation,
which we support and urge them to continue."

Anyone who thinks that the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the war on
terror should tell it to the Marines of the 1st Marine Division who
comprised the eastern flank of the force that fought its way to Baghdad last
April. When I met recently with their commander, Maj. General Jim Mattis in
Hillah, he said that the two groups who fought most aggressively during the
major combat operations were the Fedayeen Saddam--homegrown thugs with a
cult-like attachment to Saddam--and foreign fighters, principally from other
Arab countries. The exit card found in the passport of one of these
foreigners even stated that the purpose of his "visit" to Iraq was to
"volunteer for jihad."

We face that poisonous mixture of former regime loyalists and foreign
fighters today.

Even before the bombing of the U.N. headquarters, if you'd asked Gen. Mattis
and his Marines, there was no question in their minds that the battle they
wage--the battle to secure the peace in Iraq--is now the central battle in
the war on terrorism. It's the same with the commander of the Army's 1st
Armored Division, Brig. Gen. Martin Dempsey, who recently described that
second group as "international terrorists or extremists who see this as the
Super Bowl." They're going to Iraq, he said, "to take part in something they
think will advance their cause." He added, "They're wrong, of course." Among
the hundreds of enemy that we have captured in the last months are more than
200 foreign terrorists who came to Iraq to kill Americans and Iraqis and to
do everything they can to prevent a free and successful Iraq from emerging.
They must be defeated--and they will be.
Our regional commander, Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command, echoed
Gen. Dempsey, placing in larger perspective the battle in Iraq. He said,
"The whole difficulty in the global war on terrorism is that this is a
phenomenon without borders. And the heart of the problem is in this
particular region, and the heart of the region happens to be Iraq. If we
can't be successful here, we won't be successful in the global war on
terrorism." Success in Iraq will not be easy. According to Gen. Abizaid, it
will be long, hard and sometimes bloody; but "it is a chance, when you
combine it with initiatives in the Arab/Israeli theater and initiatives
elsewhere, to make life better, to bring peace to an area where people are
very, very talented and resources are abundant, especially here in Iraq."

Foreign terrorists who go to Iraq to kill Americans understand this: If
killing Americans leads to our defeat and the restoration of the old regime,
they would score an enormous strategic victory for terrorism--and for the
forces of oppression and intolerance, rage and despair, hatred and revenge.
Iraqis understand this. Alongside us, they are working hard to fight the
forces of anger and hopelessness and to seize this historic opportunity to
move their country forward.

Just as in the Cold War, holding the line in Berlin and Korea was not just
about those places alone. It was about the resolve of the free world. Once
that resolve was made clear to the Soviets, communism eventually collapsed.
The same thing will happen to terrorism--and to all those who have attempted
to hijack Islam and threaten America and the rest of the free world, which
now includes Iraq. They will see our resolve and the resolve of the free
world. Then they, too, will take their place on the ash heap of history.

America's troops and our coalition partners are determined to win--and they
will win, if we continue to give them the moral and material support they
need to do the job. As the president said recently, our forces are on the
offensive. And as Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane said in
congressional testimony, "They bring the values of the American people to
this conflict. They understand firmness, they understand determination. But
they also understand compassion. Those values are on display every day as
they switch from dealing with an enemy to taking care of a family."

I saw the troops in Iraq, and Gen. Keane is absolutely right. I can tell you
that they, above all, understand the war they are fighting. They understand
the stakes involved. And they will not be deterred from their mission by
desperate acts of a dying regime or ideology.

Not long ago, a woman named Christy Ferer traveled to Iraq along with the
USO. She'd lost her husband Neil Levin at the World Trade Center on Sept.
11, and she wanted to say thank you to the troops in Baghdad. She wrote a
wonderful piece about her trip, and in it, she wondered why our soldiers
would want to see her, when they could see the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders,
movie stars and a model. When the soldiers heard that a trio of Sept. 11
family members were there, she found out why.
Young men and women from across America rushed to the trio, eager to touch
them and talk to them. One soldier, a mother of two, told Christy she'd
enlisted because of Sept. 11. Another soldier displayed the metal bracelet
he wore, engraved with the name of a victim of 9/11. Others came forward
with memorabilia from the World Trade Center they carried with them into
Baghdad. And when it was Christy's turn to present Gen. Tommy Franks with a
piece of steel recovered from the Trade Towers, she saw this great soldier's
eyes well up with tears. Then, she watched as they streamed down his face on
center stage before 4,000 troops.

To those who think the battle in Iraq is a distraction from the global war
against terrorism . . . tell that to our troops.

Mr. Wolfowitz is deputy secretary of defense.




Put the Iraqis in Charge
Why Iraq is proving much tougher than Afghanistan.

Friday, August 29, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT

At first sight one would have expected that Afghanistan would be difficult,
Iraq easy. In the one country, we ousted a religious regime, which had the
prestige of having liberated the country from the plague of warlordism; in
the other, we overthrew a universally detested Fascist-type tyranny.
Afghanistan is a remote, mountainous country, with poor and difficult
communications; Iraq consists largely of flat river valleys with quick and
easy communication. Afghanistan has a strong tradition of regional
independence and limited experience of central control; Iraq has known
millennia of centralized government, run by a sophisticated and ramified
bureaucracy. For these and other reasons, one might have expected that
running Afghanistan would be difficult, running Iraq comparatively easy. In
fact, the reverse has occurred. In Afghanistan, at first, things did indeed
go badly, and there are still problems, both in the country and in the
government, but they are manageable. Today with minimal help from the U.S.,
a central government is gradually extending its political and financial
control to the rest of the country and dealing more and more effectively
with the problem of the maintenance of order; in Iraq, after an easy and
almost unresisted conquest, the situation seems to grow worse from day to
day. While the Afghans are building a new infrastructure, Iraqis--or others
acting in their name--are busy destroying theirs.

Why this contrast? America's enemies are the same in both places, with the
same objectives. The main difference is that in Afghanistan there is an
Afghan government, while in Iraq there is an American administration, and
the cry of "American imperialism" is being repeated on many sides. Even the
most cursory examination will reveal that this charge is ludicrously inept.
America has neither the desire nor the skill nor--perhaps most
important--the need to play an imperial role in Iraq. But the
accusation--and its resonant echoes in the Western and even in the American
media--serve a very useful purpose for those whose complaints and purposes
against America are in reality quite different.

These anti-American forces fall basically into two groups. The first, and in
the long run the more important, come from the camp of al Qaeda and related
religious movements. For them, America is now the leader of Christendom, the
ultimate enemy in the millennial struggle which they hope to bring, in their
own time, to a victorious conclusion. In the writings and speeches of Osama
bin Laden and of his allies and disciples, hatred of America is less
significant than contempt--the perception that America is a "paper tiger,"
that its people have become soft and pampered--"hit them and they will run."
This perception was bolstered by frequent references to Vietnam, Beirut and
Somalia, as well as to the feeble response to subsequent terrorist attacks
in the 1990s, notably on the USS Cole and on the embassies in East Africa.
It was this perception which undoubtedly underlay the events of Sept. 11,
clearly intended to be the opening barrage of a new war against the
Americans on their home ground.

The response to this attack, and notably the operations in Afghanistan and
then in Iraq, brought a rude awakening, and that is surely why there have
been no subsequent attacks on U.S. soil. But the perception has not entirely
disappeared, and has been revived by a number of subsequent developments and
utterances. Compunction--unwillingness to inflict as well as to suffer
casualties--is meaningless to those who have no hesitation in slaughtering
hundreds, even thousands, of their own people, in order to kill a few
enemies. Open debate is obviously meaningless to those whose only experience
of government is ruthless autocracy. What they think they see is division
and fear--and these encourage a return to their earlier perception of
American degeneracy. Such a return could have dangerous consequences,
including a renewal and extension of terrorist attacks in America. By
terrorist attacks, they believe, they will encourage those whose response is
to say, "Let's get out of here"--perhaps even procure the election of a new
administration dedicated to this policy.

The other factor of anti-Americanism has quite a different origin, though
there are areas of overlap. During the last few months the fear has often
been expressed in Europe and America that democracy cannot succeed in Iraq.
There is another, greater, and more urgent fear in the region--that it will
succeed in Iraq, and this could become a mortal threat to the tyrants who
rule most of the Middle East. An open and democratic regime in Iraq,
inevitably with a Shiite majority, could arouse new hopes among the
oppressed peoples of the region, and offer a corresponding threat to their
oppressors. One of these regimes, that of Iran, purports to be Islamic, and
was indeed so in its origins, though it has become yet another corrupt

Some of these regimes are officially classified as our friends and allies,
and dealing with them presents a number of problems. There are no such
problems in dealing with Iran, an avowed enemy, and undoubtedly a major
force behind the troubles in Iraq, in Palestine and elsewhere. Some have
argued that the remedy is to "build bridges" to the present regime in Iran.
Even if successful, the best that such a diplomacy could accomplish would be
to establish the same kind of friendship with Iran as we have with Saudi
Arabia--hardly model. More realistically, such overtures could certainly
achieve two immediate results--to earn the contempt of the government and
the mistrust of the people. The calculation of the present regime in Iran is
well known, and dates back to the first Gulf War. If Saddam Hussein had
possessed nuclear weapons, the Americans would have left him alone, and he
would have kept Kuwait and probably other places too. It was then that the
mullahs decided that they must have these weapons, which would enable them
to enjoy the same kind of immunity as North Korea. They are working
desperately to that end, and the Middle East situation will take a
significant turn for the worse if they are given the time to achieve it.
Opinions may differ on how to handle them, but surely the worst of all
options is the line of submissiveness, which can only strengthen the
perception of American weakness.

What then should we do in Iraq? Clearly the imperial role is impossible,
blocked equally by moral and psychological constraints, and by international
and more especially domestic political calculations. An inept, indecisive
imperialism is the worst of all options, with the possible exception of
subjecting Iraq to the tangled but ferocious politics of the U.N. The best
course surely is the one that is working in Afghanistan--to hand over, as
soon as possible, to a genuine Iraqi government. In Iraq as in Afghanistan,
a period of discreet support would be necessary, but the task would probably
be easier in Iraq. Here again care must be taken. Premature
democratization--holding elections and transferring power, in a country
which has had no experience of such things for decades, can only lead to
disaster, as in Algeria. Democracy is the best and therefore the most
difficult of all forms of government. The Iraqis certainly have the capacity
to develop democratic institutions, but they must do so in their own way, at
their own pace. This can only be done by an Iraqi government.

Fortunately, the nucleus of such a government is already available, in the
Iraqi National Congress, headed by Ahmad Chalabi. In the northern free zone
during the '90s they played a constructive role, and might at that time even
have achieved the liberation of Iraq had we not failed at crucial moments to
support them. Despite a continuing lack of support amounting at times to
sabotage, they continue to acquit themselves well in Iraq, and there can be
no reasonable doubt that of all the possible Iraqi candidates they are the
best in terms alike of experience, reliability, and good will. It took
years, not months, to create democracies in the former Axis countries, and
this was achieved in the final analysis not by Americans but by people in
those countries, with American encouragement, help and support. Ahmad
Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress deserve no less.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton, is the
author, most recently, of "What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle
Eastern Response" (Oxford, 2002).



Pour avancer en Irak, par Richard Holbrooks

LE MONDE | 01.09.03 | 12h59   .  MIS A JOUR LE 01.09.03 | 15h14
Ce n'est pas seulement l'ONU, mais aussi les Etats-Unis qui étaient visés
par l'attentat qui a détruit les bâtiments de l'Organisation à Bagdad. En
Irak, sous la conduite remarquable de Sergio Vieira de Mello, l'ONU
accomplissait une partie essentielle des objectifs américains concernant la
politique de paix, de sécurité ainsi que le développement économique et
politique du pays.

A présent, l'ONU sait qu'elle constitue une cible et sera de nouveau
attaquée.  Son personnel doit être protégé. Il nous faut donc élaborer un
système qui protège l'ONU et améliore globalement la sécurité.

L'armée américaine, déjà trop sollicitée, n'assurera pas la sécurité de
l'ONU. En outre, l'ONU ne veut pas de l'image de l'armée américaine
entourant ses bâtiments et son personnel.

Le Conseil de sécurité doit donc adopter une résolution autorisant l'envoi
d'une force multinationale - pas une opération inefficace de maintien de la
paix avec des casques bleus de l'ONU - du type de celle du Timor-Oriental,
mais avec la mission spécifique et bien définie de protéger le personnel et
les installations de l'ONU.

Le pays le plus approprié pour diriger une telle force est peut-être la
Norvège. Allié respecté des Etats-Unis, ce pays a des liens de longue date
avec l'armée américaine et son ministre de la défense est très apprécié du
Pentagone. La Norvège entretient également une amitié étroite avec le
secrétaire général de l'ONU, Kofi Annan, et est un fervent défenseur de
cette institution internationale.

Je verrais bien un bataillon norvégien au cour d'une force d'autodéfense de
l'ONU, complété par des troupes venant du Bangladesh, d'Inde et du Pakistan.

Après l'attentat de Bagdad, le secrétaire d'Etat américain, Colin Powell, a
dit à l'ONU que l'Amérique s'opposerait à tout affaiblissement du principe
sacro-saint du "commandement unique" qui constitue un point vraiment décisif
pour l'armée américaine. Le commandement unique a toutefois été défini de
manière très différente au cours de l'histoire.

En Afghanistan aujourd'hui, il y a deux commandements - le commandement
américain de l'opération Liberté durable, hors de Kaboul, et la Force
internationale d'aide à la sécurité (ISAF), dans Kaboul. L'ISAF est
récemment passée sous la responsabilité de l'OTAN, mais elle n'a pas été
structurée ainsi à l'origine. Il existe en Irak une force internationale
importante, sous commandement polonais et à laquelle participent plus de
vingt pays.

Il y a donc diverses façons de structurer le commandement unique. L'une
d'elles, récemment proposée par Thomas Pickering, l'un des plus éminents
diplomates de carrière américains, consiste à doter le commandant américain
d'une "double casquette" afin qu'il ait deux chaînes de commandement - la
force d'autodéfense de l'ONU d'une part et la coalition américaine d'autre

Les détails peuvent être organisés de différentes manières. L'important est
que les Etats-Unis vont devoir trouver un accord au Conseil de sécurité avec
les autres pays, faute de quoi la situation de l'ONU va devenir intenable -
et les Etats-Unis ne peuvent se dispenser de la présence de l'ONU en Irak.

Malheureusement, les Américains n'ont pas été les seuls à mettre en avant
une proposition invendable jeudi à l'ONU en soutenant que le contrôle des
Etats-Unis ne doit pas être partagé. Les Français ont réagi d'une manière
tout aussi désastreuse en personnalisant de nouveau leurs attaques contre
les Etats-Unis.

Dans cette brouille mesquine et de mauvais goût entre la France et les
Etats-Unis - qui se poursuivait alors même que l'on continuait à sortir des
corps des décombres de Bagdad -, le grand perdant est l'ONU.

Les commentaires du ministre des affaires étrangères français, Dominique de
Villepin, après l'attentat de Bagdad n'ont profité qu'aux tenants de la
ligne dure à Washington ; ceux-ci n'apprécient rien tant que de houspiller
la France. La raison pour laquelle Villepin affaiblit continuellement Colin
Powell, la personnalité la plus internationaliste et la plus pro-ONU de
l'administration Bush, demeure pour moi un mystère. Si la France se soucie
réellement de l'ONU, elle sera capable de trouver un terrain d'entente avec

Nous ne devons pas répéter la catastrophe diplomatique du printemps dernier.
Il y a là une chance pour les Etats-Unis, la France et d'autres pays
influents de se rassembler pour renforcer et sauver l'ONU. Selon ce qui a
transpiré dans la diplomatie depuis l'attentat terroriste contre l'ONU à
Bagdad, c'est exactement le contraire qui s'est produit.

En ce qui concerne le problème plus large de la façon de traiter les
conditions de sécurité qui se dégradent en Irak, personne - pas même le
commandement - ne sait vraiment quels effectifs militaires sont nécessaires.
En fait, si étonnant que cela puisse paraître, les services secrets
américains ne semblent pas savoir qui est derrière la plupart des attentats
actuels, celui contre l'ONU y compris.

Il est cependant clair que l'administration Bush fera tout ce qui est en son
pouvoir pour éviter une augmentation importante des effectifs militaires
américains en raison des implications politiques pendant une année
électorale et des échos d'un lointain conflit en Asie du Sud-Est.

Cela veut dire qu'elle fera tout sauf accepter une résolution du Conseil de
sécurité de l'ONU visant à créer de meilleures conditions pour une
implication internationale dans la résolution du conflit.

Et pourtant, la meilleure évolution pour l'Amérique, et pour l'Irak aussi,
est de diluer la présence américaine au sein d'une force plus

A cet égard, à la suite de la tragédie de Bagdad, les Etats-Unis ont commis
une erreur en présentant simplement au Conseil de sécurité une proposition
pratiquement identique à celle qu'ils avaient émise quelques semaines plus
tôt. Ils auraient dû tenir compte des circonstances qui sont apparues après
l'attentat contre l'ONU. Ils doivent accepter le fait que les employés de
l'ONU sont morts en servant les objectifs de la politique étrangère

J'espère que les Etats-Unis vont revenir devant l'ONU et trouver un accord
approprié conduisant à une extension de la force internationale (avec les
Etats-Unis au commandement général) et donnant au personnel de l'ONU une
protection suffisante pour qu'il puisse poursuivre sa mission

© 2003, Global Viewpoint. Distribué par Tribune Media Services
International, section de Tribune Media Services. Traduit de l'anglais
(Etats-Unis) par Florence Lévy-Paoloni.

Richard Holbrooks est ancien ambassadeur des États-Unis auprès de l'ONU et
ancien négociateur américain dans les discussions de paix dans les balkans
pendant l'administration Clinton.

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