Friday, April 4
The Pentagon's (CIA) Man in Iraq
David Corn, The Nation, April 4, 2003
Toward the start of the second Persian Gulf War, I found myself in a room with R. James Woolsey, CIA chief during the first two years of the Clinton administration. A television was turned on, and we both watched a news report on the latest development in the North Korea nuclear drama. How much longer, I asked him, could this administration wait before dealing with North Korea and its efforts to develop nuclear-weapons material? A little while, but not too long, he said. Until after the Iraq war? Yes, Woolsey said, we can take care of things then. (That was when the prevailing assumption was the war in Iraq would take about as long as a Donald Rumsfeld press conference.) And, I wondered, is this a challenge that can be taken care of with, say, a well-planned and contained bombing raid, one that strikes the nuclear facilities in question? "Oh, no, " he said. "This is going to be war." War, full-out war, with a nation that might already have a few nuclear weapons and that does have 600,000 North Korean soldiers stationed 25 miles from Seoul, with 37,000 US troops in between? "Yes, war." He didn't flinch, didn't bat an eye.
Woolsey is something of a prophet of war. And the Pentagon wants him to be part of its team running postwar Iraq. [...]
Woolsey's bring-it-on desire to confront much of the Arab world aside, whoever in the Pentagon suggested tapping any former CIA head to run any part of a post-Hussein government should be shit-canned. How might this look to Iraqis and the Arab public?
Were the Pentagon schemers unaware of the reputation the CIA has in the Arab world and throughout most of the globe?
The folks next door in Iran probably still remember well how the CIA supported the brutal secret police of the Shah they booted.
And how many Iraqis (and other Arabs) would not believe that Woolsey's appointment was not part of some conspiracy? [...]
That Pentagon officials would even consider placing a CIA man in charge of the Ministry of Truth is evidence their judgment is severely impaired. This was not merely a wacky idea that got floated by some outsider; this was a serious Pentagon proposal that required White House intervention to kill it.
A safe bet would be that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz vetted the list that included Woolsey. According to the New York Times, Wolfowitz is controlling the selection process, handpicking his proteges and former officials for the various ministries and earning the sobriquet "Wolfowitz of Arabia." ( The New York Times also noted that "Wolfie's people" are "thought to be particularly fervent about trying to remake Iraq as a beacon of democracy and a country with a tilt toward Israel."
Ex-CIA director: U.S. faces 'World War IV'
From Charles Feldman and Stan Wilson, CNN.com, April 3, 2003
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Former CIA Director James Woolsey said Wednesday the United States is engaged in World War IV, and that it could continue for years.
In the address to a group of college students, Woolsey described the Cold War as the third world war and said "This fourth world war, I think, will last considerably longer than either World Wars I or II did for us. Hopefully not the full four-plus decades of the Cold War."
Woolsey has been named in news reports as a possible candidate for a key position in the reconstruction of a postwar Iraq.
He said the new war is actually against three enemies: the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists like al Qaeda.
Woolsey told the audience of about 300, most of whom are students at the University of California at Los Angeles, that all three enemies have waged war against the United States for several years but the United States has just "finally noticed."
"As we move toward a new Middle East," Woolsey said, "over the years and, I think, over the decades to come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous."
It will be America's backing of democratic movements throughout the Middle East that will bring about this sense of unease, he said.
"Our response should be, 'good!'" Woolsey said.
Singling out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, he said, "We want you nervous. We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, this country and its allies are on the march and that we are on the side of those whom you -- the Mubaraks, the Saudi Royal family -- most fear: We're on the side of your own people."
Woolsey, who served as CIA director under President Bill Clinton, was taking part in a "teach-in" at UCLA, ... [...]
Arabs Warn U.S. Not to Use Iraq to Pick New Fights
Sami Aboudi, Reuters, April 02, 2003
CAIRO (Reuters) - Arab commentators and officials warned the United States on Wednesday that its war on Iraq was widening its circle of enemies in the Middle East and urged Washington to refrain from picking new fights.
The comments came in the wake of recent threats by senior members of President Bush's administration against Syria and Iran, and later Israeli warnings to Damascus, that they would be held to account if they gave support to Iraq.
Samir Ragab, editor of mainstream Egyptian daily al-Gomhuria, said threats issued by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell were hurting Washington's standing in the area at a time when it was making few gains on the ground in Iraq.
"It will not be in U.S. interests to hurl threats at certain countries and create the impression that they are next on the list of U.S. targets," Ragab wrote in a comment column.
"It is expected that the U.S. would keep silent, otherwise it will widen the circle of its enemies," Ragab said.
Powell and Rumsfeld have signaled in separate comments that Syria must abandon what they say is its support for Iraq and "terrorism" or face the consequences.
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz appeared to add fuel to the fire when he said both Israel and the United States viewed as "very grave" the aid Syria has allegedly given to Iraq.
Ghassan Charbel, deputy editor-in-chief of the pan-Arab al-Hayat, said Israel was trying to push the U.S.-Syrian dispute over Iraq "to the point of conflict."
WHO WILL BE NEXT?
In Algiers, Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Belkhadem told parliament in an extraordinary session on Iraq that U.S. threats to Syria would worsen the crisis in the Middle East.
"Algeria expresses its solidarity with brotherly Syria in the face of threats and menaces. The question now is who will be the next to be threatened?" he asked.
Ghassan al-Khatib, Palestinian minister of labor, said the U.S. approach would destabilize the region and harm Western interests. "Democracy cannot be introduced by tanks and warplanes," he said.[...]