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Comment Washington utilise l'OTAN

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Federico Bordonaro



NATO a dupe for Washington
Su Huimin
2004-06-28 06:22

On the surface it appears the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has been penetrating Central Asia in recent years. However, the real “penetrator” is not NATO but rather the United States.

A geographic corridor linking Asia and Europe, Central Asia and Caucasia is the region’s main thoroughfare. This demonstrates clearly the strategic importance of the area.

More importantly, Central Asia and Caucasia occupy the “soft underbelly” of the former Soviet Union, the main Cold War rival of the US, and they border the Middle East, Washington’s key strategic target, and neighbouring the emerging China and India.

Strategically, Washington’s all-out penetration into this region conforms to its four goals.

First, pushing forward into the area under the “NATO” banner the US can lead Europe by the nose and force its European allies to go beyond Europe and expand their service to US global interests.

Second, the US can extend its political influence and military presence into the territory of the former Soviet Union and establish military bases at the frontier of Russia so as to further reduce Russia’s strategic space.

Third, it can contain Russia from the west and southwest to prevent Russia from staging a comeback some day to challenge the hegemonic status of the US.

Fourth, it can gain a toehold in the hinterland of Asia, which can both ensure US domination of the area and expand its influence to the Middle East, South Asia and the western border of China.

It is apparent that penetration into Central Asia and Caucasia is part of the US global strategy.

In fact, regardless of dismembering the former Yugoslavia on the excuse of “ethnic problems,” occupying Afghanistan in the name of hunting down terrorist Osama bin Laden, and waging war against Iraq on the groundless pretext that Saddam was stockpiling “weapons of mass destruction,” the real purpose behind the US actions is to seize the key belt from the Balkans to the Middle East, Central Asia and Caucasia. By taking advantage of its status as the world’s only superpower, America is plotting to lay the foundation for absolute hegemonic status in the 21st century.

Grabbing strategic resources, in particular oil and gas resources, is another reason for the US to covet this area. According to a German publication, 70 per cent of the world’s oil and gas resources is concentrated at the belt from West Siberia to the Middle East via the Caspian Sea. The most vigorous economies in the world, namely, the US, Europe Union, East Asia and Southeast Asia have differing degrees of dependency on the Gulf resources.

In 2001, the US imported 2.78 million barrels of crude oil every day from the Gulf region, which was 23.9 per cent of its daily import. Europe imported 3.35 million barrels every day, which was 30.7 per cent of its daily import. East Asia and Southeast Asia imported 11.31 million barrels of crude oil from that region every day, which was 72.6 per cent of its daily import.

Hence, if the US controls the oil and gas resources of this region, it controls the “energy gate” of Europe and in particular East Asia and Southeast Asia, which means that the US controls the “nervous centralis” of the world economy.

History has proved that many bloody wars have broken out in the Middle East for seizing the oil resources. There also exists such a danger that the oil and gas resources of Central Asia could become a factor igniting conflicts or triggering struggle between superpowers.

NATO’s activities in Central Asia and its neighbouring area are being carried out to help push the US agenda. So far, with the name of “peaceful partnership” initiated by the US, NATO has established contacts with Central Asian nations.

According to the interpretation of the NATO, the purpose of promoting “peaceful partnership” is to strengthen the political relations between member nations and provide them a platform for participating in the NATO’s political and military activities, which, in fact, is the attempt by the US to win over periphery alliances and expand its sphere of influence.

The US, through the eastward expansion of NATO, has gradually pushed its military front from the Baltic Sea to Central and Eastern Europe and then to the region near the heart of Russia. In the region of the Balkans and Southern Europe, Russia’s ex-allies have already come under the banner of the US. Recently, even Finland, which claims neutralism as its principle, indicated its intention to join NATO.

In this way, from the north to the south, the US has already tightly contained Russia. Caucasia and the eight Central Asian nations used to be a part of the former Soviet Union and is now the “backyard” of Russia, into which the US had no chance to penetrate before.

However, in the recent years, under the banner of “combating terrorism,” the US has greatly enhanced its political, economic and, in particular, military presence in that area, which is obviously a war of competition against Russia. Georgia can be viewed as a reflection of the competition between the US and Russia in that area.

Prior to the 1990s, Georgia was in fact a part of Russia. Nevertheless, the Americans have exerted increasing influence in this country. According to the US-Georgia Military Agreement reached in March 2003, the Americans can enter Georgia even without a visa or any travel documents and the US army can use Georgia’s military facilities according to their own needs.

There are two different opinions in Russia with regard to the US presence in Georgia. One of them regards that the US has no intention of remaining in Georgia for long and that Central Asia will join NATO as the traditional sphere of influence of Russia so that it will play a role as a “petite partner” in Central Asia as Russia plays in the new world structure.

The other opinion considers that Russia should be wary of the US. They realize that by attempting to transform former Soviet republics into “unsinkable aircraft carriers,” the US presence in Central Asia could have great impact upon Russia.

(China Daily 06/28/2004 page6)

Gen. Wesley Clark had a premonition about Neocon fate

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An Army of One?
In the war on terrorism, alliances are not an obstacle to victory. They’re the key to it. By Gen. Wesley Clark September 2002

A few days after September 11, I happened to be walking the halls of the Pentagon, the scene of so many contentious meetings during my years as commander of NATO forces in Europe, and ran into an old acquaintance, now a senior official. We chatted briefly about TV coverage of the crisis and the impending operations in Afghanistan. At his invitation, I began to share some thoughts about how we had waged the Kosovo war by working within NATO—but he cut me off. “We read your book,” he scoffed. “And no one is going to tell us where we can or can’t bomb.” That was exactly how the United States proceeded. Of course, the campaign in Afghanistan, as it unfolded, wasn’t an all-American show. The United States sought and won help from an array of countries: basing rights in Central Asian states and in Pakistan; some shared intelligence from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other Muslim states; diplomatic backing from Russia and China; air and naval support from France; naval refueling from Japan; special forces from the United Kingdom, and so on. But unlike the Kosovo campaign, where NATO provided a structured consultation and consensus-shaping process, allied support in this war took the form of a “floating” or “flexible” coalition. Countries supported the United States in the manner and to the extent they felt possible, but without any pretenses of sharing in major decisions. European leaders sought to be more involved. At the Europeans’ urging, NATO even declared—invoking, for the first time, Article V of its founding treaty—that the attack on the United States represented an attack on every member. But even so, Washington bypassed and essentially marginalized the alliance. The United Nations was similarly sidelined. The first weeks of the Afghanistan campaign against the Taliban went well—an outcome that didn’t surprise anyone who has had the honor to exercise command over these magnificent outfits. But the early successes seem to have reinforced the conviction of some within the U.S. government that the continuing war against terrorism is best waged outside the structures of international institutions—that American leadership must be “unfettered.” This is a fundamental misjudgment. The longer this war goes on—and by all accounts, it will go on for years—the more our success will depend on the willing cooperation and active participation of our allies to root out terrorist cells in Europe and Asia, to cut off funding and support of terrorists and to deal with Saddam Hussein and other threats. We are far more likely to gain the support we need by working through international institutions than outside of them. We’ve got a problem here: Because the Bush administration has thus far refused to engage our allies through NATO, we are fighting the war on terrorism with one hand tied behind our back. All Together Now That day at the Pentagon, the senior official and I never had the opportunity to complete the discussion. But it was clear that he had totally misread the lessons of the Kosovo campaign. NATO wasn’t an obstacle to victory in Kosovo; it was the reason for our victory. For 78 days in the spring of 1999, the alliance battled to halt the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s Albanians being carried out by the predominantly Serb troops and government of then-President Slobodan Milosevic. It was the first actual war NATO had fought in its 50-year history. Like the U.S. war in Afghanistan, it was predominantly an air campaign (though the threat of a ground attack, I believe, proved decisive). America provided the leadership, the target nominations, and almost all of the precision strikes. Still, it was very much a NATO war. Allied countries flew some 60 percent of the sorties. Because it was a NATO campaign, each bomb dropped represented a target that had been approved, at least in theory, by each of the alliance’s 19 governments. Much of my time as allied commander was spent with various European defense officials, walking them through proposed targets and the reasoning behind them. Sometimes there were disagreements and occasionally we had to modify those lists to take into account the different countries’ political concerns and military judgements. For all of us involved—the president, secretaries of state and defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and me—it was a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating process. But in the end, this was the decisive process for success, because whatever we lost in theoretical military effectiveness we gained manyfold in actual strategic impact by having every NATO nation on board. NATO itself acted as a consensus engine for its members. Because it acts on the basis of such broad agreement, every decision is an opportunity for members to dissent—therefore, every decision generates pressure to agree. Greece, for example, never opposed a NATO action, though its electorate strongly opposed the war and the Greek government tried in other ways to maintain an acceptable “distance” from NATO military actions. This process evokes leadership from the stronger states and pulls the others along. Of course, this wasn’t a pleasant experience for any of the participants. For U.S. leaders during the war, it meant continuing dialogue, frictions, and occasional hard exchanges with some allies to get them on board. For some European leaders, the experience must have been the reverse: a continuing pressure from the United States to approve actions—to strike targets—that would generate domestic criticism at home. There was no escaping the fact that this was every government’s war, that they were intrinsically part of the operation, and each was, ultimately, liable to be held accountable by its voters for the outcome. In the darkest days before the NATO 50th anniversary summit in late April in Washington, British Prime Minister Tony Blair came to our headquarters in Belgium on very short notice. To be honest, it wasn’t altogether clear why he was coming. But as he and I sat alone in my office, it quickly became apparent. “Are we going to win?” he asked me. “Will we win with an air campaign alone? Will you get ground troops if you need them?” Blair made it very clear that the future of every government in Western Europe, including his own, depended on a successful outcome of the war. Therefore, he was going to do everything it took to succeed. No stopping halfway. No halfheartedness. That was the real lesson of the Kosovo campaign at the highest level: NATO worked. It held political leaders accountable to their electorates. It made an American-dominated effort essentially their effort. It made an American-led success their success. And, because an American-led failure would have been their failure, these leaders became determined to prevail. NATO not only generated consensus, it also generated an incredible capacity to alter public perceptions, enabling countries with even minimal capacities to participate collectively in the war. As one minister of defense told me afterwards, “Before Kosovo, you couldn’t use the word ‘war’ in my country. War meant defeat, destruction, death, and occupation. Now it is different. We have won one!” Squeezing Slobodan Milosevic was hoping the alliance would crack and the bombing campaign would fall apart. Instead, NATO’s determination increased over time and the bombing intensified. He was hoping that neighboring countries, such as Bulgaria and Romania, would not cooperate with the West, and indeed, large majorities of their citizens initially opposed the war. But the power of NATO extended even to these countries, which at that point were non-members. We simply made clear to their leaders that if they wanted to be considered for eventual membership in NATO—and they did, very much—then they’d have to help us against Milosevic, which they did, quickly. Faced with this remarkable unity of effort and determination, even the Russians, who strongly sympathized with the Serbs, also abandoned Milosevic in the end. Other international institutions helped us tighten the noose. The United States acted under the authority of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1199, passed in the autumn of 1998, and authorizing all available means to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Kosovo—language which helped give our military intervention international legal and moral authority. The threat against Milosevic of war criminal charges was additional leverage. When the International Criminal Tribunal indicted Milosevic for war crimes on May 25, 1999, the resolve of our European allies notably stiffened—a fact that today’s domestic opponents of the international court should keep in mind. In the end, NATO achieved every one of its aims. With the air war intensifying, a ground invasion being prepared, and no other country to turn to for help, Milosevic in early June pulled his troops, police, and weaponry out of Kosovo. A NATO-led international peacekeeping force entered to establish order. Nearly a million Kosovars returned to their homes. Weakened by his defeat, Milosevic lost an election he had tried to rig in his favor. When he still refused to cede power, a student-led uprising did the job for him. Milosevic is now behind bars at The Hague and is being tried as a war criminal. Though Serbia and Kosovo are still struggling with the aftermath of ethnic conflict and autocratic leadership, they are now governed by democratically elected leaders eager for good relations with the West. All this was achieved at a remarkably slight cost, minimal destruction on the ground, no NATO casualties, and relatively few civilian deaths despite the use of some 23,000 bombs and missiles. What caused this outcome was not just the weapons of war. Forces far beyond the bombs and bullets were at work: the weight of international diplomacy; the impact of international law; and the “consensus-engine” of NATO, which kept all the Allies in the fight. The lesson of Kosovo is that international institutions and alliances are really another form of power. They have their limitations and can require a lot of maintenance. But used effectively, they can be strategically decisive. Bin Laden, War Criminal The Kosovo campaign suggests alternatives in waging and winning the struggle against terrorism: greater reliance on diplomacy and law and relatively less on the military alone. Soon after September 11, without surrendering our right of self defense, we should have helped the United Nations create an International Criminal Tribunal on International Terrorism. We could have taken advantage of the outpourings of shock, grief, and sympathy to forge a legal definition of terrorism and obtain the indictment of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban as war criminals charged with crimes against humanity. Had we done so, I believe we would have had greater legitimacy and won stronger support in the Islamic world. We could have used the increased legitimacy to raise pressure on Saudi Arabia and other Arab states to cut off fully the moral, religious, intellectual, and financial support to terrorism. We could have used such legitimacy to strengthen the international coalition against Saddam Hussein. Or to encourage our European allies and others to condemn more strongly the use of terror against Israel and bring peace to that region. Reliance on a compelling U.N. indictment might have given us the edge in legitimacy throughout much of the Islamic world that no amount of “strategic information” and spin control can provide. On a purely practical level, we might have avoided the embarrassing arguments during the encirclement of Kandahar in early December 2001, when the appointed Afghan leader wanted to offer the Taliban leader amnesty, asking what law he had broken, while the United States insisted that none should be granted. We might have avoided the continuing difficulties of maintaining hundreds of prisoners in a legal no-man’s land at Guantanamo Bay, which has undercut U.S. legitimacy in the eyes of much of the world. Instead of cutting NATO out, we should have prosecuted the Afghan campaign with NATO, as we did in Kosovo. Of course, it would have been difficult to involve our allies early on, when we ourselves didn’t know what we wanted to do, or how to achieve it. The dialogue and discussions would have been vexing. But in the end, we could have kept NATO involved without surrendering to others the design of the campaign. We could have simply phased the operation and turned over what had begun as a U.S.-only effort to a NATO mission, under U.S. leadership. Even winning European approval of the air campaign need not have proved troublesome. The most serious difficulties we had in garnering European support for the Kosovo air campaign concerned bombing the so-called “dual-use” targets: bridges, power stations, TV towers, and government buildings in Belgrade. The United States believed such attacks were crucial to breaking Milosevic’s ability to wage war. The Europeans, deeply concerned about potential civilian casualties, preferred to hit Yugoslav military targets in Kosovo. In the end, we bombed both. But a similar disagreement in Afghanistan between the United States and Europeans would have been highly unlikely, for the simple reason that the American bombing campaign focused exclusively on military targets. The United States concentrated its firepower on Taliban and al Qaeda troops, hideouts, and weapons stores—precisely the kinds of targets the Europeans were most likely to have approved. Sleepers in Seattle NATO involvement would probably not have hastened our victory in Afghanistan. But had the Afghan campaign been waged with NATO, I believe we would have been in a stronger position to stay the course in Afghanistan and prosecute the coming stages of the war. As the president himself has warned, the struggle against terror requires far more than exclusively military actions. Indeed, as time goes on, the most important aspect of the war may be in law enforcement and judicial activities. Much of the terrorist network draws support and resources from within countries friendly or allied with us. Terrorists residing in Western Europe planned the September 11 attack, and the greatest concentration of their “sleeper cells” outside the Middle East is probably in Europe. Yet this is a threat that the American military can do little to combat. What we really need is closer alignment of our police and judicial activities with our friends and allies: greater cooperation in joint police investigations, sharing of evidence, harmonious evidentiary standards and procedures, as well as common definitions of crimes associated with terrorism. Through greater legal, judicial, and police coordination, we need to make the international environment more seamless for us than it is for the international terrorists we seek. U.S. officials inevitably say that they are getting “good cooperation” from their European counterparts. They say the same, however, about countries like Saudi Arabia, where we know cooperation is minimal at best. Even with the limited information publicly available, it’s clear that the police and judicial measures taken to detect, identify, track, detain, interrogate, arrest, charge, convict, and punish terrorists and their accomplices within friendly countries have thus far been less than fully successful. Since last fall, European governments have arrested, then released, numerous suspected terrorists whom the U.S. government would undoubtedly have preferred to see kept behind bars. In April, for instance, Spanish police arrested a Syrian-born al Qaeda suspect, but let him go, citing a lack of evidence. Yet, at the time of his arrest, he had in his possession hours of videotape of the World Trade Center from every conceivable angle, plus similar surveillance images of other planned al Qaeda targets such as Disney World. Fortunately, the Spanish police rearrested the man in July. But that same month, British courts released an Egyptian wanted in the United States for allegedly aiding a top terrorist leader. The full cooperation we seek is unlikely without an overall consensus-building mechanism, like NATO, to drive the process. It is hard enough getting the CIA and FBI to share information, even when both answer (in theory) to the president and Congress. Imagine how difficult it is to get cooperation among various U.S. agencies and their counterparts working bilaterally with 20 different European countries, when each agency is competing with others. The longer the war goes on, the more we are going to need cooperation and support from other nations—not just troops and ships and airplanes, but whole-hearted governmental collaboration. Instead, we seem to be getting less as time goes on. After September 11, the United States gave the United Nations a list of groups and individuals suspected of funding terrorists. European governments responded by freezing their assets. In the spring, the U.S. government provided an updated list with new names. This time, most European governments ignored the list, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing concern that the United States was providing insufficient recourse for those who claim they are innocent. Last fall, all of Europe understood that the attacks of September 11 had been planned on European soil, that European targets were on the terrorists’ lists, and that Europeans by the hundreds died in the World Trade Center. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder braved a no-confidence vote to win approval for German combat troops to be made available for Afghanistan. Even the French, long openly resentful of American power, expressed solidarity with us. Today, that support is being replaced by growing popular anger at the United States. Instead of focusing on the threat of terrorism, Europeans are focusing on the dangers of American hegemony. Their leaders are free to play to these fears because, without NATO involvement, the war is not seen as theirs, but ours. Not a single European election hinges on the success of the war on terrorism. As a consequence, European elected officials simply don’t have a personal stake in the outcome. Some Americans seem to take a certain delight in Europe’s outrage. But the fact is that this outrage is undermining our ability to carry out the next stages of the war, including, perhaps, toppling Saddam Hussein. We don’t necessarily need Europe’s full military support for a war against Saddam. But we need its diplomatic support now and its assistance in the aftermath. Without this support, others will have an excuse for not cooperating. This has already begun to happen. King Abdullah of Jordan recently explained to The Washington Post why his country, which borders Iraq, could not be used as a staging area for a U.S. invasion force: “If it seems America wants to hit Baghdad, that’s not what Jordanians think, or the British, [or] the French . . . ” Right Makes Might It’s still not too late to enlist NATO in the fight against terrorism—to handle peacekeeping duties in an increasingly chaotic Afghanistan, to deepen its involvement in the fight against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and to host the harmonization of judicial and law-enforcement activities. If there is to be a military operation against Iraq, then certainly NATO participation should be sought. Involving NATO more directly and deeply would give European leaders a personal political stake in the war. In particular, bringing NATO into an expanded peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan would go a long way toward convincing the Europeans that the United States is serious about stability in post-war Iraq or other post-conflict situations. That NATO framework can be expanded at the military level to encompass countries that do not belong to NATO, just as we did in Bosnia and Kosovo. In the twilight of World War II we recognized the need for allies. We understood the need to prevent conflict, not just fight it, and we affirmed the idea that we must banish from the world what President Harry Truman, addressing the founding of the United Nations, called “the fundamental philosophy of our enemies, namely, that ‘might makes right.’” Truman went on to say that we must “prove by our acts that right makes might.” Since September 11, America has been in a similar position: the most powerful nation in the world, but facing a deadly enemy. The United States has the opportunity to use the power of the international institutions it established to triumph over terrorists who threaten not just the United States, but the world. What a tragedy it will be if we walk away from our own efforts, and from 60 years of post-World War II experience, to tackle the problem of terror without using fully the instruments of international law and persuasion that we ourselves created. Gen. Wesley Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, from 1997-2000, is the author of Waging Modern War, available in paperback from Public Affairs.

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NATO enrolled for Greater Mid East casting

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The Atlantic Alliance at a New Crossroads Conference, Istanbul, Turkey
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) and the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), with sponsorship from DaimlerChrysler and additional support from the Parex Bank, is holding a conference of the transatlantic strategic community on June 25-27, 2004 in Istanbul, Turkey, in advance of the NATO Summit.
The themes that will be highlighted at the conference include the Alliance’s overall strategic reorientation, a new Euro-Atlantic strategy for the Black Sea, NATO’s future role in Afghanistan and possibly Iraq, as well as how the West can promote democracy in the Greater Middle East.

Several senior politicians from both sides of the Atlantic have agreed to address the audience among them Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, and NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.$UNIDviewAll/9DB4683D12AF6D9385256EA90071C6B9?opendocument&K2D3C7AA7

Dirigeants et experts définissent les nouvelles “missions mondiales” de l’Alliance atlantique
LE MONDE | 28.06.04 | 14h20

En marge du sommet d’Istanbul, le secrétaire général de l’OTAN a appelé à un “nouveau consensus post-Irak” qui permettrait à l’Organisation d’intervenir hors d’Europe.
Istanbul de notre envoyée spéciale
Que faire de l’Alliance atlantique lorsque ses membres fondateurs affichent leurs différends ? A la veille du sommet de l’OTAN à Istanbul, quelque 150 chercheurs, intellectuels et politiques américains et européens, réunis dans cette ville par l’organisation indépendante américaine German Marshall Fund et la Fondation turque des études économiques et sociales (Tesev) sur le thème “L’Alliance atlantique à un nouveau tournant”, loin d’en sonner le glas, se sont attachés à lui trouver toute une série de nouvelles missions.
Le premier ministre turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui a ouvert la conférence, a appelé la communauté internationale et l’OTAN à tout faire pour réussir en Afghanistan et à surmonter ses différends sur l’Irak afin d’œuvrer “pour le peuple irakien”. “Les valeurs de l’OTAN, a-t-il souligné, doivent s’étendre de l’Afrique du Nord à l’Eurasie.”
Comme beaucoup d’autres orateurs, M. Erdogan a mis un accent particulier sur les nécessaires efforts de démocratisation, à laquelle les pays “doivent procéder eux-mêmes”, souhaitant que l’exemple des réformes accomplies en Turquie ait un impact dans toute la région.
Président de la commission des affaires étrangères du Sénat américain, le sénateur républicain Richard Lugar, qui fait partie du courant modéré et multilatéraliste de la droite américaine, a rappelé les incertitudes et les divisions qui ont menacé l’Alliance atlantique à la fin de la guerre froide et au début des guerres des Balkans. “Le défi que nous affrontons aujourd’hui est bien plus grand”, a-t-il observé. Loin de s’en tenir aux frontières de l’Europe, “aujourd’hui l’OTAN doit penser mondialement et agir mondialement”. En Afghanistan, où l’OTAN compte 6 400 soldats, les progrès sont “trop lents” à cause des réticences nationales des pays contributeurs. Cette lenteur menace “tout l’effort de démocratisation afghan”.
Mais c’est en Irak, a ajouté M. Lugar, que “la réputation de l’OTAN résistera ou s’effondrera”, car l’Irak est devenu “le théâtre central de la guerre contre le terrorisme”. L’argument du sénateur américain est simple : si les alliés ne surmontent pas leurs différends sur l’Irak, ils en paieront tous les conséquences, car le terrorisme aura tôt fait de s’étendre en Europe.
A l’appui de son raisonnement, M. Lugar a cité un “orateur éloquent qui s’est exprimé à Washington cette année”: “La stabilisation de l’Irak est dans l’intérêt de tout le monde. Dans celui des Irakiens, bien sûr, celui du Moyen-Orient évidemment, mais aussi dans l’intérêt des relations entre l’Ouest le monde musulman.” Cet orateur, a-t-il précisé, était le ministre français de la défense, Michèle Alliot-Marie.
C’est, naturellement, aussi l’avis du secrétaire général de l’OTAN, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, qui, plus optimiste, décèle “une nouvelle dynamique dans la coopération transatlantique sur la sécurité”, sous l’effet conjugué de l’indispensable coordination de la lutte contre le terrorisme et le fait que, malgré leurs flagrantes divergences, l’Europe et l’Amérique du Nord demeurent “la communauté la plus étroitement liée”. M. de Hoop Scheffer a appelé à un “nouveau consensus post-Irak” fondé sur la possibilité pour l’OTAN d’agir hors d’Europe pour “étendre la stabilité”, sur la nécessité de nouvelles capacités militaires, “plus légères, plus rapides et plus efficaces”, et sur la reconnaissance de l’Union européenne comme “véritable acteur en matière de sécurité”.
L’exemple de l’Afghanistan, “où la crédibilité de l’OTAN est en jeu”, montre à quel point les transformations militaires sont nécessaires, afin que les engagements politiques puissent se traduire sur le terrain. Enfin, a-t-il poursuivi, ce nouveau consensus transatlantique doit aussi intégrer un engagement politique à l’égard du “Grand Moyen-Orient”, “car aucune autre région n’affecte plus la sécurité transatlantique”. “Si Rumsfeld -le secrétaire américain à la défense- et Fischer -le chef de la diplomatie allemande- pensent tous les deux que c’est une bonne idée, on devrait y arriver”, a-t-il ajouté.
L’Irak, a affirmé le secrétaire général de l’OTAN, sera “la lentille au travers de laquelle le sommet d’Istanbul sera jugé”: il est donc impératif de “changer d’état d’esprit”, car ce n’est plus des Américains mais désormais des Irakiens eux-mêmes qu’émane la demande d’assistance.
Deux études du German Marshall Fund, présentées lors de cette conférence, illustrent la portée de la réflexion politique au sein de l’Alliance : l’une sur une stratégie euro-atlantique dans la région de la mer Noire, dont ont débattu le nouveau président géorgien Mikhaïl Saakachvili, encore auréolé de son prestige de révolutionnaire pacifique, son collègue d’Azerbaïdjan, Ilham Aliev, fils de l’ancien dirigeant soviétique Gueïdar Aliev, et le ministre roumain des affaires étrangères, Mircea Geoana. Et l’autre sur la démocratie dans le “Grand Moyen-Orient” (Broader Middle East), dont les contours restent encore assez imprécis, même si M. Lugar l’a défini comme allant “de Marrakech au Bangladesh”.
Les auteurs de cette deuxième étude, européens et américains, appellent à un changement de fond dans l’approche de la région, en développant les contacts de personne à personne et les échanges intellectuels, en subordonnant l’aide économique au respect des droits de l’homme et des règles du jeu démocratiques et en assistant le plus possible les organisations non gouvernementales ainsi que les associations représentant la société civile.
Cette approche n’est pas sans précédent, et elle a porté ses fruits : c’était au XXe siècle, à l’égard de l’Europe centrale et orientale, qui fait aujourd’hui partie intégrante de la communauté transatlantique.
Sylvie Kauffmann
• ARTICLE PARU DANS L’EDITION DU 29.06.04,1-0@2-3210,36-370689,0.html
Trois questions à Mikhaïl Saakachvili
LE MONDE | 28.06.04 | 14h20
Mikhaïl Saakachvili, président de Géorgie, vous avez plaidé, devant la conférence du German Marshall Fund à Istanbul, pour une intégration de la Géorgie dans la communauté euro-atlantique. Quel calendrier envisagez-vous ?
En ce qui concerne l’OTAN, au sommet de l’année prochaine, nous demanderons à intégrer le processus MAP (Membership Action Plan, plan préparatoire à l’adhésion).
Cette année, on a travaillé très dur pour y parvenir, mais l’OTAN a préféré attendre et souffler un peu après ses efforts d’élargissement. Pour l’Union européenne, beaucoup dépend du succès de l’intégration de la Roumanie et de la Bulgarie, et puis du sort de la Turquie. Mais cela peut aller très vite. C’est un processus qui peut aboutir en quelques années.
Vous en avez parlé au président Poutine, avec lequel vous avez par ailleurs quelques différends ?
Pourquoi en parlerais-je à Poutine ? Ce qui énerve les Russes, c’est la possibilité de bases étrangères sur notre territoire : nous avons dit à plusieurs reprises que nous n’avions pas l’intention de créer des bases américaines en Géorgie. Il faut séparer les deux questions, l’adhésion à l’OTAN et les bases étrangères. Quant aux bases russes, elles doivent nous quitter dans un avenir assez proche. Nous ne voulons pas aliéner la Russie, mais, d’un autre côté, elle doit savoir qu’elle a affaire à des pays indépendants. Au début, nos relations avec la Russie ont été difficiles. Maintenant, avec Poutine, je suis d’un optimisme prudent.
Quant aux conflits, le problème de l’Adjarie est résolu. Après, il va falloir s’occuper de l’Ossétie du Sud, c’est un petit conflit. L’Abkhazie, c’est plus compliqué, il faut prendre le temps de trouver la solution. L’Abkhazie est beaucoup plus importante, à la fois pour nous et pour la Russie. Les Russes y sont très présents. Mais ce problème freine beaucoup de choses : le développement économique, le chemin de fer du Caucase nord… Il faut débarrasser la région de ce conflit. On ne peut pas garder le statu quo, mais il faut aussi éviter un déclenchement de la violence. Nous sommes dans une phase délicate. Mais il ne faut pas accepter la fatalité des “conflits gelés”.
Depuis votre élection, il y a six mois, vous entretenez des relations aussi étroites avec les Etats-Unis qu’avec l’Europe. La Géorgie peut-elle être l’amie des deux ?
Ah, il y a de la jalousie… mais seulement émotionnelle. Notre ministre des affaires étrangères, Salomé Zourabichvili -ex-ambassadeur de France à Tbilissi-, vient de faire une visite à Washington, et elle y a été très, très bien accueillie.
Propos recueillis par Sylvie Kauffmann

Europeans confronted with US MidEast agenda : continental integration process at stake.

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Turkey in EU and Extended Nato are the two most critical external concerns for EU supranational buildup. As the last enlargement of the ten countries is straining the EU decision making process to be revamped by the Constitutional treaty, US leadership influence in EU Affairs, both through the questionable outcome of Turkey membership to EU and the overstretching of NATO “responsability” in MidEast (after Central Asian Afghanistan), leaves some european leaders no more options than a “hands off” rebuttal.

Turkey and EU becomes the latest battleground for Chirac and Bush
By Stephen Castle in Istanbul
29 June 2004
Turkey’s bid to join the European Union was at the centre of a new transatlantic rift yesterday, as the French president, Jacques Chirac, accused George Bush of meddling by supporting Turkey’s push for membership. With a decision due in December on whether the EU will start negotiations with Ankara over its efforts to join, Turkey’s application is at a highly delicate stage.
M Chirac warned the US president to mind his own business and said Mr Bush had gone too far , when he said at the weekend that the US believed Turkey was ready to take up EU membership. “If President Bush really said that the way I read it, well, not only did he go too far but he went into territory which is not his own,” M. Chirac said at a Nato summit in Istanbul.
The decision on whether to start membership negotiations with Turkey is the most sensitive issue facing EU leaders. Its population of nearly 70 million would make Turkey the second largest country in the bloc, and the first mainly Muslim nation. With a new voting system based in part on population size due to come into effect under Europe’s constitution, Turkish membership would have profound implications for the EU’s power balance.
To qualify for membership talks, the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has embarked on ambitious reforms to meet the so-called “Copenhagen criteria” on human rights and democracy. Whether or not it has achieved these goals will be assessed by the European Commission prior to a decision on membership talks by the EU leaders in December.
But on Saturday, after an EU-US summit at Dromoland Castle in western Ireland, Mr Bush prejudged that assessment when he argued: “Turkey meets the EU standards for membership. The EU should begin talks that will lead to full membership for the Republic of Turkey.”
Washington has a long-standing alliance with Turkey through Nato, but EU membership is in a different category since the countries inside the 25-nation bloc share legislative powers. An EU diplomat said: “It’s one thing to be an ally in Nato, and something else to join the EU where we make laws together.”
In 1999 the EU finally granted Turkey candidate status and, 18 months ago, Turkey was promised that its progress would be reviewed towards the end of the year. In the run-up to that decision, Ankara mishandled matters by trying to persuade Washington to lobby on its behalf, a move that proved counter-productive.
France and other EU states have warned that negotiations on Turkey’s membership of the EU are likely to go on for years. Never the less the opening of formal discussions would mark a huge moment in Turkey’s efforts to join the EU; no nation that has started negotiations has been refused entry.
Despite his attack on Mr Bush, M. Chirac was at pains not to oppose the principle of Turkish membership. The French President reaffirmed recent remarks backing Turkish membership when it has completely fulfilled entry criteria, adding that Turkey had an “historic European vocation”.
President is triumphant as Blair hopes for democracy
By Stephen Castle in Istanbul
29 June 2004
Robert Fisk: Restoration of Iraqi sovereignty - or Alice in Wonderland? 
US abruptly cedes power in attempt to spike guns of insurgents
British soldier killed in Basra bomb attack
President is triumphant as Blair hopes for democracy
Main players in the new Iraqi government
The toll of British dead from the war and its aftermath
What restored sovereignty means
A history of handovers (and their hangovers)
Michael Ignatieff: America must accept that it cannot reshape the world
Leading article: The violence will only end in Iraq if there is a genuine transfer of sovereignty
President George Bush yesterday celebrated the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq with a fresh defence of his “war on terror”, a green light to the possible imposition of martial law in Iraq and a scribbled note that read “Let freedom reign”.
At a Nato summit in Istanbul dominated by the early transfer of power in Iraq, Mr Bush and Tony Blair closed ranks in the face of continuing tensions among European leaders over the role of the 26-nation alliance in helping to stabilise the war-torn country. In the city’s streets hundreds of protesters hurled fire-bombs and stones at police, causing dozens of injuries, as the security forces used tear-gas and water cannons to stop them reaching the summit centre.
Because of French objections, the Nato alliance agreed to only the most minor increase in its training of Iraqi security forces. But the US President shook off the protests, the political tensions and the the continuing violence in Iraq, saying the transfer of sovereignty there had been a “proud, moral achievement”. “The Iraqi people have their country back,” Mr Bush said.
From the Hilton Hotel inside the security cordon, the President’s statements contrasted with more measured words from Mr Blair, who described the transfer of sovereignty as “an important staging post” as “democracy replaces dictatorship”.
The White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, said President Bush learned that the handover had been completed from his National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice. Handed the note, which said “Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremer at 10.26am Iraq time - Condi”, Mr Bush passed it back, having scribbled: “Let freedom reign!” There was then a handshake with Mr Blair.
Later, at a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, the US President made an indirect link between the Iraq conflict and the events of 11 September. Iraq was, he said, a country where the war of terrorism was being conducted and “where we are finding them instead of waiting for them to strike us at home”. Mr Blair also argued Iraq was “in a genuine sense, the front-line in the battle against terrorism and the new security threats we face”.
But there were differences of emphasis as the US President gave his full backing to the Iraqi Government - “As we say in Texas, stand-up guys” - to impose martial law if it wishes. Mr Bush said: “He may take tough security measures to deal with [Abu Musab al-] Zarqawi, but he may have to. Zarqawi is the guy who beheads people on TV. He’s the person that orders suiciders to kill women and children.”
He added: “They can’t whip our militaries. What they can do is get on your TV screens, stand in front of your TV cameras, and cut somebody’s head off in order to try to cause us to cringe and retreat. That’s their strongest weapon. Prime Minister [Iyad] Allawi has said many times he will not cower in the face of such brutal murder, and neither will we.”
Mr Blair fought shy of the such rhetoric, saying that Mr Allawi’s use of tough tactics would be to create democracy, rather than to curb freedoms.
More acute tensions surfaced at the Nato summit despite the agreement of the 26 nations to go ahead with the training of Iraqi security forces. The deal falls well short of US ambitions to see a full Nato peacekeeping role in the country, and even the fudged agreement struck yesterday was being interpreted differently by the protagonists last night.
Mr Blair said the arrangement was “important” and Nato sources said some training would take place in the country, although they concede that the military details have yet to be agreed. Jacques Chirac, the French President, who has taken the lead in resisting a formal alliance role or the use of Nato flags and insignia, said that the deal allowed for training to take place abroad, unless individual nations wanted to deploy in Iraq.
“Every trace of a role for Nato on Iraqi soil was judged inappropriate,” M Chirac said, adding, “in my opinion justifiably so.” The alliance’s participation could have “negative consequences from a psychological and political point of view”.
Meanwhile the alliance gave the green light to an increase in its role in Afghanistan, where it has agreed to extend its presence to five centres beyond Kabul.
The current 6.500 troops will be increased to a potential total of 10,000, although about 2,000 will be on standby rather than being deployed immediately. That is in marked contrast to the more than 50,000 Nato troops once deployed in Bosnia.
Kuwait: The Prime Minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah, said he hoped “that this important, historic step in Iraq’s modern history will contribute to establishing security and stability in brotherly Iraq”.
Jordan “welcomes this development and considers it a step toward rebuilding political, economic, security and social institutions in Iraq”.
Saudi Arabia: “We are pleased about the transfer of power in Iraq so that Iraq may regain its sovereignty and to pave the way to rebuild the country.”
France “expresses its wish for success to the interim government and the Iraqi people”.
Syria: The handover was “a step toward restoring independence and sovereignty in Iraq”.
Egypt: “This is what Egypt desires for the Iraqi people, an opportunity for them to take control of their own affairs and restore complete sovereignty.”

US legacy in Irak : NeoCon Post Mortem

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The Disaster of Failed Policy

June 27, 2004

In its scale and intent, President Bush’s war against Iraq was something new and radical: a premeditated decision to invade, occupy and topple the government of a country that was no imminent threat to the United States. This was not a handful of GIs sent to overthrow Panamanian thug Manuel Noriega or to oust a new Marxist government in tiny Grenada. It was the dispatch of more than 100,000 U.S. troops to implement Bush’s post-Sept. 11 doctrine of preemption, one whose dangers President John Quincy Adams understood when he said the United States “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.”

In the case of Vietnam, the U.S. began by assisting a friendly government resisting communist takeover in a civil war, though the conflict disintegrated into a failure that still haunts this country. The 1991 Persian Gulf War, under Bush’s father, was a successful response to Iraq’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait — and Bush’s father deliberately stopped short of toppling Saddam Hussein and occupying Iraq.

The current president outlined a far more aggressive policy in a speech to the West Point graduating class in 2002, declaring that in the war on terror “we must take the battle to the enemy” and confront threats before they emerge. The Iraq war was intended as a monument to his new Bush Doctrine, which also posited that the U.S. would take what help was available from allies but would not be held back by them. It now stands as a monument to folly.

The planned transfer Wednesday of limited sovereignty from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to an interim Iraqi government occurs with U.S. influence around the world at a low point and insurgent violence in Iraq reaching new heights of deadliness and coordination. Important Arab leaders this month rejected a U.S. invitation to attend a summit with leaders of industrialized nations. The enmity between Israelis and Palestinians is fiercer than ever, their hope for peace dimmer. Residents of the Middle East see the U.S. not as a friend but as an imperial power bent on securing a guaranteed oil supply and a base for U.S. forces. Much of the rest of the world sees a bully.

The War’s False Premises

All the main justifications for the invasion offered beforehand by the Bush administration and its supporters — weapons of mass destruction, close ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq, a chance to make Baghdad a fountain of democracy that would spread through the region — turned out to be baseless.

Weeks of suicide car bombings, assassinations of political leaders and attacks on oil pipelines vital to the country’s economy have preceded the handover.

On Thursday alone, car bombs and street fighting in five cities claimed more than 100 lives. Iraqis no longer fear torture or death at the hands of Hussein’s brutal thugs, but many fear leaving their homes because of the violence.

The U.S. is also poorer after the war, in lives lost, billions spent and terrorists given new fuel for their rage. The initial fighting was easy; the occupation has been a disaster, with Pentagon civilians arrogantly ignoring expert advice on the difficulty of the task and necessary steps for success.

Two iconic pictures from Iraq balance the good and the dreadful — the toppling of Hussein’s statue and a prisoner crawling on the floor at Abu Ghraib prison with a leash around his neck. Bush landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln in May 2003 to a hero’s welcome and a banner declaring “Mission Accomplished.”

A year later, more than 90% of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave their country. The president boasted in July that if Iraqi resistance fighters thought they could attack U.S. forces, “bring them on.” Since then, more than 400 personnel have been killed by hostile fire.

Iraqis hope, with little evidence, that the transfer of limited sovereignty to an interim government will slow attacks on police, soldiers and civilians. Another goal, democracy, is fading. The first concern remains what it should have been after the rout of Hussein’s army: security. The new Iraqi leaders are considering martial law, an understandable response with suicide bombings recently averaging about one a day but a move they could hardly enforce with an army far from rebuilt.

The new government also faces the difficulty of keeping the country together. In the north, the Kurds, an ethnically separate minority community that had been persecuted by Hussein, want at least to maintain the autonomy they’ve had for a decade. The Sunnis and Shiites distrust each other. Within the Shiite community, to which the majority of Iraqis belong, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and the violent Muqtada Sadr are opponents. Sadr was a relatively minor figure until occupation officials shut his party’s newspaper in March and arrested one of his aides, setting off large protests and attacks on U.S. troops.

The U.S. carries its own unwelcome legacies from the occupation:

•  Troops are spending more time in Iraq than planned because about one-quarter of the Army is there at any one time. National Guard and Army Reserve forces are being kept on active duty longer than expected, creating problems at home, where the soldiers’ jobs go unfilled and families go without parents in the home.

•  The Abu Ghraib prison scandal has raised questions about the administration’s willingness to ignore Geneva Convention requirements on treatment of prisoners. Investigations of prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay must aim at finding out which high-ranking officers approved of the abuse or should have known of it. The U.S. also must decide what to do with prisoners of war. The Geneva Convention requires they be released when the occupation ends unless they have been formally charged with a crime. The International Committee of the Red Cross says fewer than 50 prisoners have been granted POW status. Thousands more detained as possible security threats also should be released or charged.

•  The use of private contractors for military jobs once done by soldiers also demands closer examination. Civilians have long been employed to feed troops and wash uniforms, but the prevalence of ex-GIs interrogating prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison raises harsh new questions. For instance, what, if any, charges could be brought against them if they were found complicit in mistreatment?

Investigate the Contracts

The administration also put private U.S. contractors in charge of rebuilding Iraq. Congress needs to take a much closer look at what they do and how they bill the government.

Halliburton is the best-known case, having won secret no-bid contracts to rebuild the country. A Pentagon audit found “significant” overcharges by the company, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney; Halliburton denies the allegations.

Iraqis say they want the Americans out, but most understand they will need the foreign forces for many more months. A U.S. troop presence in Iraq should not be indefinite, even if the Iraqis request it. By the end of 2005, Iraq should have enough trained police, soldiers, border guards and other forces to be able to defend the country and put down insurgencies but not threaten neighboring countries.

The Bush administration should push NATO nations to help with the training. Once the Iraqis have a new constitution, an elected government and sufficient security forces, the U.S. should withdraw its troops. That does not mean setting a definite date, because the U.S. cannot walk away from what it created. But it should set realistic goals for Iraq to reach on its own, at which time the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad becomes just another diplomatic outpost. It also means living up to promises to let Iraq choose its own government, even well short of democracy.

France, Germany and others that opposed the war seem to understand that letting Iraq become a failed state, an Afghanistan writ large, threatens them as well as the U.S. and the Middle East. But other nations will do little to help with reconstruction if Iraq remains a thinly disguised fiefdom where U.S. companies get billion-dollar contracts and other countries are shut out.

A Litany of Costly Errors

The missteps have been many: listening to Iraqi exiles like Ahmad Chalabi who insisted that their countrymen would welcome invaders; using too few troops, which led to a continuing crime wave and later to kidnappings and full-blown terror attacks. Disbanding the Iraqi army worsened the nation’s unemployment problem and left millions of former soldiers unhappy — men with weapons. Keeping the United Nations at arm’s length made it harder to regain assistance when the need was dire.

It will take years for widely felt hostility to ebb, in Iraq and other countries. The consequences of arrogance, accompanied by certitude that the world’s most powerful military can cure all ills, should be burned into Americans’ memory banks.

Preemption is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster. The U.S. needs better intelligence before it acts in the future. It needs to listen to friendly nations. It needs humility.

Neocon Option in US Foreign Policy Dead on Arrival

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Iraq Occupation Erodes Bush Doctrine
By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, June 28, 2004; Page A01
The occupation of Iraq has increasingly undermined, and in some cases discredited, the core tenets of President Bush’s foreign policy, according to a wide range of Republican and Democratic analysts and U.S. officials.
When the war began 15 months ago, the president’s Iraq policy rested on four broad principles: The United States should act preemptively to prevent strikes on U.S. targets. Washington should be willing to act unilaterally, alone or with a select coalition, when the United Nations or allies balk. Iraq was the next cornerstone in the global war on terrorism. And Baghdad’s transformation into a new democracy would spark regionwide change.
But these central planks of Bush doctrine have been tainted by spiraling violence, limited reconstruction, failure to find weapons of mass destruction or prove Iraq’s ties to al Qaeda, and mounting Arab disillusionment with U.S. leadership.
“Of the four principles, three have failed, and the fourth—democracy promotion—is hanging by a sliver,” said Geoffrey Kemp, a National Security Council staff member in the Reagan administration and now director of regional strategic programs at the Nixon Center.
The president has “walked away from unilateralism. We’re not going to do another preemptive strike anytime soon, certainly not in Iran or North Korea. And it looks like terrorism is getting worse, not better, especially in critical countries like Saudi Arabia,” Kemp said.
As a result, Bush doctrine could become the biggest casualty of U.S. intervention in Iraq, which is entering a new phase this week as the United States prepares to hand over power to the new Iraqi government.
Setbacks in Iraq have had a visible impact on policy, forcing shifts or reassessments. The United States has returned to the United Nations to solve its political problems in Iraq. It has appealed to NATO for help on security. It is also relying on diplomacy, with allies, to deal with every other hot spot.
“There’s already been a retreat from the radicalism in Bush administration foreign policy,” said Walter Russell Mead, a Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow. “You have a feeling that even Bush isn’t saying, ‘Hey, that was great. Let’s do it again.’ “
Some analysts, including Republicans, suggest that another casualty of Iraq is the neoconservative approach that inspired a zealous agenda to tackle security threats in the Middle East and transform the region politically.
“Neoconservatism has been replaced by neorealism, even within the Bush White House,” Kemp said. “The best evidence is the administration’s extraordinary recent reliance on [U.N. Secretary General] Kofi Annan and [U.N. envoy] Lakhdar Brahimi. The neoconservatives are clearly much less credible than they were a year ago.”
The administration would not make a senior official or spokesman available for quotation by name to support its policy. But top administration officials insist the Iraq experience has not invalidated Bush doctrine, and they contend its basic principles will endure beyond the Bush presidency.
Policy supporters argue that current realities will keep some form of all four ideas in future policy. “Despite all the problems of implementation and despite mistakes made by the Bush administration, I don’t see many other choices,” said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and chief of staff for Vice President Dan Quayle.
“No one thinks the Middle East pre-September 11 is acceptable, or that we should work with its dictators. No one says in a world of weapons of mass destruction we can rule out preemption or that they’re not worried about the linkage between terrorism and states producing weapons of mass destruction,” he said. “So I don’t see much of an alternative to the Bush doctrine.”
Challenges to its four central tenets, however, are likely to influence U.S. foreign policy for years, some analysts predict.
The Preemptive Strike
The most controversial tenet of Bush doctrine was also the primary justification for launching the Iraq war. In the president’s June 2002 address to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Bush said deterrence and containment were no longer enough to defend America’s borders. The United States, he said, had the right to take preemptive action to prevent attacks against the United States.
“We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge. In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action. And this nation will act,” Bush told cadets.
In the policy’s early days, its supporters hinted that preemption could eventually justify forcible government change in Iran, Syria and North Korea as well as in Iraq. But that sentiment is evaporating, because Iraq showed the “pitfalls of the doctrine in graphic detail,” said Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.
Preemption has been “damaged, if not totally discredited,” and the outcome in Iraq may prove to be “an inoculation against rash action” by the United States in the future, Carpenter said.
The administration is working overtime to reduce the sense of alarm that Washington is posed “on a hair trigger” to launch a new offensive against governments it does not like, said James F. Hoge Jr., editor of Foreign Affairs magazine. White House officials are relying on diplomacy to defuse confrontations over nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, the two other countries with Iraq that Bush labeled the “axis of evil.”
The administration now contends its decision was discretionary, not preemptive, because Saddam Hussein had a decade to meet several U.N. resolutions. U.S. officials also say that after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, they had to learn to deal with threats faster—and proactively.
“The notion that preemption has been discredited is entirely mistaken,” said Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who has argued for a muscular approach to international affairs.
“It’s a fact of life in the international system, because of the reality of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” Kagan said. “The normal lead time that a nation has to protect itself is not what it used to be, so preemption will have to be part of the international arsenal.”
Bush has repeatedly made clear his intent to act alone or with a U.S.-led coalition when the international community balks at confronting perceived threats.
“I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons,” he said in his 2002 State of the Union address.
Later that year, he told the U.N. General Assembly that Washington would work with the world body to deal with the “common challenge in Iraq” but stressed that action would be “unavoidable” if Hussein did not comply. “The purposes of the United States should not be doubted,” he warned.
Yet Washington has made a grudging retreat after its limited coalition could not cope with all the problems in Iraq, analysts say. The shift was evident when the administration turned to a U.N. envoy to form an interim Iraqi government after two failed U.S. attempts. It has also deferred to the United Nations to oversee elections and to help Iraq write a constitution.
“Going it alone doesn’t really work in the world as it exists today,” said Mark Schneider, senior vice president of International Crisis Group, a nonpartisan Brussels-based group that tracks global hot spots. “We need allies. We become more vulnerable and exposed when we don’t have them.”
The administration counters that its coalition included more than 30 countries, including the majority of NATO members, and that the idea is far from new. “Every administration reserves the right with respect to protecting vital American interests to act alone, but every administration seeks to avoid it,” said a senior administration official involved in Iraq policy.
The War on Terrorism
Bush turned his sights on Iraq within weeks of the war in Afghanistan. “Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror,” he said in the 2002 State of the Union address. He added later: “The price of indifference would be catastrophic.”
Whatever the merits of deposing Hussein, foreign and domestic polls now consistently show that the failure to find concrete evidence of significant ties or joint actions between the Iraqi leader and al Qaeda has dissipated international support for the United States and generated skepticism at home about the benefits of the Iraq war.
The Iraq war may even have hurt U.S. efforts to combat terrorism, analysts say, noting the increase in car bombings, hostage abductions and beheadings in Iraq as well as oil-rich Saudi Arabia. “We have assisted al Qaeda in recruiting fresh adherents by the war in Iraq and the antagonism it’s generated,” Hoge said.
The administration is “drifting,” Carpenter said. It “clings to the idea of state-sponsored terrorism as a motive for the Iraq war, but it was wildly off the mark,” he said. “Afghanistan continues to be the real central front, to the extent there is a front at all.”
U.S. officials say waging war in Iraq was vital to eliminate a refuge for extremists after Afghanistan.
Early supporters of administration policy also say the problem is not with the principles, but with their implementation. Any government has limited chances to enact policy, and early setbacks in execution can lead the public or policymakers to back away even if the ideas remain valid, Kristol said.
Promoting Democracy
The most ambitious aspect of Bush doctrine is pressing for political and economic reform in the Islamic world, the last bloc of countries to hold out against the democratic tide that has swept much of the rest of the world. Iraq was to be the catalyst of change.
“Iraqi democracy will succeed—and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran—that freedom can be the future of every nation. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution,” Bush said in a November 2003 speech to the National Endowment for Democracy.
Although the administration is still pushing its new democracy initiative for the wider Middle East, Muslim disillusionment with the United States over Iraq has deeply hurt this goal, analysts warn. Democratic and Republican foreign policy experts almost unanimously predict that progress will be much slower than expected even six months ago.
“The idea that the Middle East can be repaired by external intervention has been seriously damaged. And the ideas of reform are going to be a much harder sell after Iraq,” said Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine.
After six decades as the main mediator in the region, the United States may also be losing its standing as an honest broker because of Iraq and the U.S. failure to fulfill promises to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Naim said.
The Iraq intervention also discredited the president’s approach to regional peace. “The administration argued that if you removed the security threat in Iraq, you’d improve the chances of solving the Arab-Israeli conflict—that the road to Jerusalem went through Baghdad. If anything, we learned it’s just the other way around,” Hoge said.
Supporters of the administration’s efforts argue that promoting democracy is the oldest goal in U.S. foreign policy worldwide, dating back more than 200 years. Whatever the current problems, they contend, it will remain a top goal—particularly in the Islamic world as a key to countering extremism.
The overall impact of policy challenges in Iraq, analysts say, is that the Bush White House has been forced back to the policy center or scaled back the scope of its goals. They cite the president’s appeal for NATO assistance and cutbacks in the democracy initiative.
“It’s a lesson in hubris,” Carpenter said. “The administration thought it had all the answers, but it found out through painful experience that it did not.”
Yet administration supporters say Iraq has not produced backtracking or policy reassessment. “Enormously sharp distinctions are being made between different policy views, which are largely artificial,” Kagan said. “There was an enormous consensus going into this war and there’s a consensus now about what needs to be done. So we are having a huge, vicious debate, and yet I’m not sure what the debate is about.”
© 2004 The Washington Post Company

CIA active officer publish new book against US Counter-terrorism policy

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“Arrogance impériale” ou les accusations dévastatrices d’un “anonyme” de la CIA
LE MONDE | 26.06.04 | 16h48
New york de notre correspondant

Au cours des derniers mois, les ouvrages dénonçant, aux Etats-Unis, les errements des services de renseignement avant les attaques du 11 septembre 2001 et sur la question des armes de destruction massive irakiennes se sont multipliés.  Mais aucun n’est aussi dévastateur qu’Imperial Hubris : Why the West is Losing the War on Terror (Arrogance impériale : pourquoi l’Ouest est en train de perdre la guerre contre le terrorisme), un livre de 309 pages dont des extraits ont été publiés par le New York Times et le Guardian.

Ce livre est écrit par un auteur anonyme… qui ne l’est pas tant que cela. Il appartient à l’Agence centrale de renseignement (CIA) américaine depuis vingt-deux ans, y travaille contre le terrorisme et a dirigé, de 1996 à 1999, une unité spéciale baptisée Ben Laden. Elle avait pour mission de capturer le fondateur d’Al-Qaida, mais son plan a été rejeté en 1998 par les dirigeants de l’Agence.

Il est peu courant, pour un officier de renseignement, de publier un ouvrage tout en étant encore en fonctions, a fortiori quand il s’agit d’une charge contre le gouvernement et contre ses supérieurs. Conformément aux règles de la CIA, le texte a été contrôlé avant que sa publication soit autorisée. L’Agence a exigé que l’auteur et les gens avec qui il travaille ne soient pas identifiés. “Anonyme” a déjà publié, en 2003, un autre livre moins polémique et plus analytique sur Al-Qaida, titré Through Our Enemies’ Eyes : Oussama Bin Laden, Radical Islam and the Future of America (A Travers les yeux de nos ennemis : Oussama Ben Laden, l’islamisme radical et le futur de l’Amérique).


Imperial Hubris donne la mesure du ressentiment au sein des services de renseignement américains. “Les dirigeants des Etats-Unis ont refusé d’accepter la réalité. Nous menons une guerre mondiale contre une insurrection islamiste — pas criminelle ou terroriste —, et notre politique et nos procédures n’ont pas été capables d’infliger plus que quelques dégâts mineurs aux forces ennemies. Si les annonces officielles sont vraies, depuis le 11 septembre -2001-, les Etats-Unis ont porté des coups mortels aux dirigeants d’Al-Qaida et ont capturé des milliers de terroristes. Dans le même temps, nous avons échoué dans deux guerres menées à moitié et contribué à augmenter le sentiment antiaméricain en Afghanistan et en Irak pour en faire des terrains fertiles à l’expansion d’Al-Qaida et des groupes proches.”

L’auteur dénonce l’invasion de l’Irak comme “une guerre préméditée, non provoquée et motivée par l’appât du gain contre un ennemi qui ne présentait aucune menace immédiate. Ben Laden ne pouvait pas rêver mieux qu’une invasion et une occupation américaines de l’Irak”.

Le livre considère comme probable une “attaque d’Oussama Ben Laden aux Etats-Unis avant l’élection présidentielle pour assurer la réélection de George Bush. Je suis vraiment sûr qu’il ne peut pas y avoir de meilleure administration pour eux que celle que nous avons aujourd’hui. Une bonne façon de maintenir les républicains au pouvoir serait de monter une attaque qui unira le pays autour du président”. Il considère que l’attentat à venir pourrait être “plus large encore que celui du 11 septembre 2001 et utiliser des armes de destruction massive”.

L’auteur ne critique pas seulement les politiques, mais aussi ses supérieurs à la CIA et, notamment, George Tenet, directeur de l’Agence depuis 1997, qui a donné sa démission le 2 juin. Il l’accuse de “myopie” dans son approche d’Al-Qaida. “Bien sûr, après la prochaine attaque, les Américains se sentiront trompés et leurs représentants demanderont les têtes des responsables de services de renseignement et de sécurité. Que ces têtes ne soient pas tombées au lendemain des attaques du 11 septembre -2001- est peut-être notre plus grave erreur”, ajoute l’auteur.

Eric Leser,1-0@2-3222,36-370547,0.html

Bush envision the mission of both EU and NATO.

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Here is a good snapshot of the Bush’s wishfull geopolitical “beliefs” about Europe. In a single statement, all the misconceptions of the US political vision about the European destiny : the mandatory inclusion of Turkey in EU and the “responsability” of NATO in Irak. 

Bush courts Turks and presses NATO
Elisabeth Bumiller and Christine Hauser/NYT The New York Times Monday, June 28, 2004
Istanbul talks focus on Iraqi security
Just days before the June 30 handover of sovereignty in Iraq, President George W. Bush arrived in neighboring Turkey on Sunday for a NATO summit meeting that is expected to deal with issues in Iraq, including approval by the group’s heads of state and government of an agreement to help train Iraqi security forces.

Bush said in a meeting in Ankara with Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, that he was looking forward to working on regional matters, including Iraq, and on how to strengthen NATO. Bush expressed support for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

“I would remind the people of this good country that I believe you ought to be given a date by the EU for your eventual acceptance into the EU,” he said.

“I appreciate so very much the example your country has set on how to be a Muslim country and at the same time, a country which embraces democracy and rule of law and freedom,” he said in a photo session with Erdogan, according to a White House transcript. Bush’s courtship of Turkey was complicated by terrorist threats to decapitate three Turks held hostage in Iraq unless the country’s companies stopped aiding U.S. forces. (Page 5.) Bush’s trip to Turkey, his first, brought out tens of thousands of demonstrators in Istanbul protesting U.S. policies in the region. “Get lost Bush, get lost NATO,” the protesters chanted, according to the Reuters news agency, and, “Murderer U.S.A. get out of the Middle East.” Protesters had also dogged Bush’s visit to Ireland, where he said on Saturday that the “bitter differences” between the United States and Europe over the war in Iraq were over, and that NATO had a responsibility to help Iraqis with their own security. As Bush spoke at an outdoor joint news conference in Ireland with Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of Ireland and Romano Prodi, the president of the European Commission, the anti-Iraq war protesters blocked at least one of the main roads leading to Dromoland Castle, a 16th-century fortress turned luxury resort where Bush had stayed.

Bush had said he hoped NATO would agree at the talks in Istanbul to help with the training of Iraqi security forces.

The training commitment, which is close to alliance agreement, represents a greatly lowered expectation on the part of the White House since it became clear in recent weeks that NATO was not willing to commit any more troops to Iraq. “NATO has the capability and I believe the responsibility to help the Iraqi people defeat the terrorist threat that is facing their country,” Bush said.

Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of Iraq, he noted, had asked NATO for training help and equipment in a recent letter. “I hope NATO responds in a positive way,” Bush said. In Brussels on Saturday, the NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, confirmed that the alliance had reached a deal to train Iraqi armed forces. “NATO heads of state and government are expected to approve this agreement at their summit meeting in Istanbul on June 28,” he said in a statement.

Bush has acknowledged that he is not especially well-liked in Europe.

When asked in Ireland by a White House reporter how he could explain his unpopularity in opinion polls here and whether Americans should be concerned about it, Bush replied that he was most concerned about his re-election campaign in the United States. “I must confess, the first polls I worry about are those that are going to take place in early November this year,” he said. “Listen, I care about the image of our country.” He added that “as far as my own personal standing goes, my job is to do my job” and that “I’m going to set a vision, I’m going to lead, and we’ll just let the chips fall where they may.”

Bush said Ahern had questioned him in a meeting on Saturday morning about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse and the American treatment of other prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, as did President Mary McAleese of Ireland in her own meeting with Bush. “I told them both I was sick with what happened inside that prison,” Bush said. “The actions of those troops did not reflect what we think. And it did harm.” Bush said he told both Ahern and McAleese that the United States would deal with the investigations into the prison abuse scandal “in a transparent way.” Ahern said: “These things happen. Of course, we wish they didn’t, and it’s important then on how they’re dealt with.” Bush was in Ireland for an annual EU-U.S. summit meeting, and both he and Ahern emphasized what they called the progress they had made: signing joint agreements on counterterrorism, counterproliferation, HIV and AIDS.

Le Grand Jeu dans les Balkans

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Yves Bataille



(Belgrade, 25 juin 2004)

« Quand tu n’es pas au pouvoir, tu n’es qu’un petit cochon à la broche »
(Bogoljub Karic)

Aux élections présidentielles du 13 juin, comme prévu, Tomislav Nikolic, le candidat du Parti Radical Serbe (SRS) est arrivé en tête et il affrontera le 27 Boris Tadic, du Parti Démocratique. Le deuxième tour sera difficile pour Tomislav Nikolic qui avec 30, 6% des voix ne devance le représentant du parti américain que de 3,2% des voix. Mais surtout le vote a été catastrophique pour le candidat du Premier ministre (Kostunica) Marsicanin, relégué en quatrième position derrière l’homme d’affaires Bogoljub Karic, « Pedro » pour les intimes, un petit brun moustachu de type latino qui doit sa fortune à Slobodan Milosevic et dont tout le monde estime qu’il se vendra au plus offrant.  Pour la campagne électorale, l’homme s’est rasé de frais et a coupé la moustache… Avec 18,2% des voix, l’ex ami de Slobo qui se disait hier « communiste-capitaliste » et proclamait « la JUL c’est l’avenir » (1), le propriétaire de BK Televizije et de Mobtel (téléphonie mobile) accusé d’avoir réalisé des « extra profits » (substitution à l’impôt), le propriétaire aussi d’importantes sociétés commerciales à l’étranger, se présentait pour la première fois aux élections et il ridiculise le candidat de Kostunica qui n’obtient que 13,3 % des suffrages. Avant le vote Karic a dit du bien de tout le monde. A l’en croire le cheptel politicien serbe ne serait constitué que de gens bien. Une telle posture n’est pas sans arrière-pensée. 

11 autres candidats se sont partagés les 10% restants. 4%, c’est le piètre résultat du candidat du SPS, Ivica Dacic, un socialiste alimentaire qui n’avait pas le soutien de Slobodan Milosevic (accordé à Nikolic), 2% à la princesse Jelisaveta Karadjordjevic (en bisbille avec la famille royale pour de futiles questions d’argenterie) tandis que les 9 autres n’atteignaient pas 1%. (2)

La manipulation des minorités

L’analyse géographique du scrutin montre ce que l’on savait déjà: le candidat du parti américain obtient ses meilleurs résultats dans les zones des minorités ethniques et religieuses, le triangle hongrois de Vojvodine (autour de Subotica) et la région musulmane du Sandjak de Novi Pazar dite en Serbe Raska (Rascie). Tadic a fait le plein là où ces minorités travaillées depuis des années par les ONG occidentales, l’Organisation de la Conférence Islamique (OCI) et les ambassades des Etats-Unis et de Grande Bretagne se prétendent victimes de mauvais traitements et discriminations. L’utilisation des minorités ethniques et religieuses pour ruiner un Etat indépendant ou aspirant à l’indépendance est une spécialité des Anglo-Américains, on l’a vu au Proche-Orient, au Canada (utilisation des Amérindiens et des migrants contre le Québec libre et l’Aire francophone) et on le voit dans les Balkans où cela se fait sous le regard et avec la complicité des Béotiens de l’Union Européenne. Tadic arrive aussi en tête dans les quartiers aisés des grandes villes où les nouvelles classes imitatrices de l’Occident se bercent d’illusions. En revanche, la campagne, de la plus grande partie de la Vojvodine aux massifs bordant la Bosnie mais aussi la Bulgarie et la Macédoine (les confins névralgiques), l’usine et les quartiers populaires votent Nikolic. Ce sont bien deux mondes qui s’affrontent dans ces élections malgré la faible participation (47%) : celui du peuple solidaire doté d’une conscience politique nationale vive, éveillé par un parti conscient et organisé d’un côté, de l’autre une addition d’intérêts individuels et particuliers facteurs de dissolution nationale ayant reçu la consigne de voter pour un parti financé (comme en Géorgie récemment) par les structures de subversion US comme National Endowment for Democracy (NED), la Fondation Soros et certains secteurs allemands.

Pour les mauvaises langues la déroute électorale de Marsicanin marque la fin du « nationalisme décaféiné » de Kostunica, un nationalisme vague qui n’est qu’une défense capitaliste. Ayant refusé la main tendue par les Radicaux en janvier pour former un gouvernement de coalition stable à deux, Kostunica voit après ce nouveau vote sa majorité parlementaire à quatre (SPO de Draskovic, Nova Srbija d’Ilic, G17Plus de Labus et son DSS) voler en éclats. Selon l’expression consacrée, les rats désertent le navire. Les « alliés » se sont précipités pour soutenir Tadic au second tour, et mieux, son propre parti a apporté son soutien à un Tadic récusé la veille. Après avoir songé à démissionner, Kostunica s’est rallié à cette position, s’inclinant devant les pressions des Etats-Unis, de l’Union Européenne et de la France qui se mêle de ce qui ne la regarde pas. Il est loin le temps où la posture gaullienne reconnaissait les Etats et non les régimes. Si le Parlement était dissous pour correspondre à la nouvelle configuration politique, on ne voit pas comment Kostunica pourrait survivre à la dynamique de l’échec. Certains observateurs s’accordent à dire que le crédit de ce juriste égaré dans la politique est désormais épuisé. Deux jours avant le deuxième tour de la présidentielle, Kostunica a annoncé qu’il formerait un « gouvernement de concentration nationale avec toutes les composantes du Parlement ». Quelle que soit l’issue du scrutin, aura-t-il le courage d’y inclure les Radicaux ? Les paris sont ouverts.

Quand il a été élu président de la République Fédérale (alors la RFY) en 2000, Kostunica s’est laissé imposer aux postes clef des membres du GSS (Alliance Civique), une structure parasitaire made in USA, qui a toujours évité l’épreuve des élections sous son nom mais installe les siens aux leviers de commande – on l’a vu avec Goran Svilanovic aux Affaires étrangères – jusqu’à ce qu’un beau jour l’ancien secrétaire général de l’OTAN, devenu le « monsieur politique étrangère de l’Europe », cet ancien terroriste espagnol proche du GRAPO (3) et recyclé par les Américains, le chef de l’OSCE Javier Solana, ne remplace la RFY par une roue carrée baptisée Serbie et Monténégro. Le « tombeur de Milosevic » avait bien mérité des démocraties qui le remerciaient en le laissant tomber comme une vieille chaussette. Du jour au lendemain, en février 2003, Kostunica n’était plus rien, ne retrouvant un poste, celui de premier ministre de Serbie, qu’avec les élections législatives de décembre (2003) où il continuait à épuiser son crédit. Son parti, le DSS n’obtenait que 53 sièges contre 82 aux Radicaux du SRS. L’ascension du SRS se poursuivait au grand dam des Occidentaux. Enfin quand la Diaspora Serbe, forte de près de 4 millions de personnes, a demandé à être représentée dans les institutions, réagissant en homme des partis Kostunica a créé un ministère bradé à un « fonctionnaire » (4) du SPO qui n’en a rien fait : manque d’expérience et absence de volonté politique les Serbes du dehors n’ont pas pu voter. Pour expliquer cet immobilisme d’aucuns avancent que tout ce que souhaite le premier ministre c’est de donner naissance à une nouvelle constitution puis de retourner à ses chères études. Pas susceptible de mobiliser les foules. Kostunica a dilapidé les atouts dont il disposait dans la Diaspora.

Une dEmocratie mafieuse

Les alliés de circonstance de Kostunica sont aux antipodes de sa revendication d’honnêteté et de légalité. Avant les présidentielles Miroljub Labus (G17 Plus) déclarait vouloir se retirer de son poste de vice-premier ministre « pour raison de santé », mais les milieux bien informés savent que c’est pour une toute autre raison : Labus aurait détourné à son profit des subventions de l’Union Européenne. En fin de compte Labus n’a pas démissionné. Après le premier tour des présidentielles, ses « médecins américains » l’ont autorisé à « travailler à mi-temps ». Sans doute est-ce pour cela qu’il a repris à son compte l’obsession des think-tanks US (CSIS de Brzezinski, USIP de Solomon, NDI d’Albright, etc.) qui veulent séparer la Serbie du Monténégro. Quant à Velimir Ilic, le maire de Cacak, le soi-disant héros de la « révolution d’octobre 2000 », le « monsieur bulldozer » de la presse occidentale, devenu ministre du commerce, il aurait touché un bakchich d’un million de dollars pour introduire Boeing à l’aéroport de Surcin au détriment d’Airbus, violant des accords réalisés du temps de Slobodan Milosevic (favorable à Airbus). La conséquence est un procès du consortium européen à l’administration serbe. Le seul qui échappe à ce genre d’accusation est encore Vuk Draskovic, mais il n’est pas épargné pour autant : en société le personnage apparaît prostré dans un profond mutisme et tout d’un coup voilà qu’il se lance dans un monologue embrouillé et inaudible. Seselj aurait, depuis des années, la réponse : le successeur de Svilanovic aux affaires étrangères ne serait pas insensible aux paradis artificiels…

Incompétence, corruption, déficiences en tout genre, liens avec la mafia, le Parti Démocratique de feu Djindjic n’est pas en reste. L’ancien vice premier ministre p.d., Cedomir Jovanovic a été prié de se cacher pendant la campagne électorale tant son appétence à la cocaïne était notoire, visible et préjudiciable. Ses membres sont impliqués jusqu’au cou dans le « scandale du sucre » qui a éclaté quand Bruxelles a découvert que la Serbie était en passe de devenir le plus gros producteur de sucre du monde. Ce sucre était acheté à bas prix dans des pays en voie de développement et revendu à l’Union Européenne à un prix plus qu’intéressant pour les escrocs du p.d. Au club des Diadoques de Djindjic règne la plus grande suspicion. Mila Djindjic, la mère de l’ancien Premier ministre tué, a accusé des membres du p.d. d’être à l’origine de sa mort. On avait vite trouvé des lampistes, deux des auteurs présumés de l’opération, très vite – trop vite – tués par la police d’une balle entre les deux yeux. Quant au chef de la bande, un ex des Forces Spéciales JSO, celui-là même qui avait enlevé Slobodan Milosevic sur ordre de Djindjic, l’ancien légionnaire français Legija, il nie toute participation à cet acte intervenu peu après que la victime ait fortement importuné les Américains. Quelques jours avant son effacement, en effet, Djindjic s’était rebellé contre les protecteurs américains, proclamant imprudemment qu’il en avait assez, qu’il allait s’entendre avec l’Europe et seulement avec elle pour résoudre la Question du Kossovo. La Serbie, avait-il curieusement déclaré, ne prendra plus ses ordres à l’étranger. 

Djindjic avait un plan de partition inacceptable pour Washington qui, dans la région comme ailleurs, ne résout pas les conflits mais les provoque et les aggrave. S’appuyer sur des fantoches, installer des bases militaires et jouer les uns contre les autres, telle est la politique étatsunienne. L’an dernier, après avoir dit aux Albanais qu’il leur fallait « abandonner l’idée d’indépendance », l’omniprésent George Soros (du Caucase aux Balkans) demandait en même temps aux Serbes d’ « oublier le Kossovo ». Quand des émissaires américains comme Bruce Jackson viennent à Belgrade ils font miroiter le maintien du Kossovo dans la Serbie si elle intègre l’OTAN. Parallèlement, les mêmes s’en vont à Tirana ou à Pristina promettre la récompense de « l’indépendance » du Kossovo – c’est à dire la Grande Albanie – si les Albanais continuent à être d’aussi bons alliés. C’est un jeu obscène, bien moins subtil que celui des Britanniques naguère au Proche Orient, mais un marché de dupes qui se moque de tout le monde et en premier lieu de l’Europe en devenir, un jeu qui vise à entretenir les crises (on évoque la théorie du Chaos). Djindjic, comme les autres, avait oublié que les serviteurs de l’Oncle Sam subissent depuis toujours partout le même sort : de Noriega à Diem, du Chah d’Iran à  Shevarnadze, on les jette comme des Kleenex souillés après usage, surtout s’il leur arrive d’avoir à un moment ou à un autre des velléités d’indépendance. En avril 2003 nous avions été les premiers à révéler dans l’hebdomadaire belgradois Nin l’existence de deux armes de calibres différents pour liquider Djindjic, et nous pointions du doigt le bénéficiaire de l’opération : Washington, qui a vite remplacé un pion indocile par un chien fidèle.

La Serbie, Enjeu national-europEen

Soutenu par l’administration US, encensé dans la presse anglo-saxonne comme un « pro-Western » et un « pro-Market » candidat, Tadic a été mis sur orbite après la mort de Djindjic pour appliquer un programme d’intégration « euro-atlantique » qui est la négation même de l’intégration européenne. Il s’agit de faire entrer la Serbie dans l’OTAN pour l’insérer dans le dispositif colonial de la « New Europe » avec les Polonais, les Bulgares et les Roumains, contre la « Vieille Europe » (en fait la Jeune Europe…) esquissée par le très théorique axe Paris-Berlin-Moscou. Belgrade à qui la « communauté internationale » interdit d’entretenir des troupes et des forces de police dans sa province du Kossovo (comme le lui autorise pourtant la résolution 1244 de l’ONU) va devoir envoyer ses personnels en Afghanistan, en Irak et en Haïti. Tadic est l’individu choisi pour détruire l’Armée Serbe (ces fameuses « réformes démocratiques » prônées par International Crisis Group) et la formater OTAN (réduction des effectifs et incorporation dans l’infanterie coloniale US). Servilité oblige, le candidat atlantiste a annoncé son intention de développer l’enseignement de l’Anglais et accusé Tomislav Nikolic d’être « pour le Russe et le Chinois ». Tout cela n’a évidemment aucun sens, Nikolic a tenu à préciser que pour lui la Serbie se trouvait placée « entre l’Est et l’Ouest », ce qui est une évidence géographique. Mais on se souvient du slogan de Nova Demokracija, le groupe du sinistre ministre de l’intérieur du DOS (5), artisan de l’opération Sabljia (Sabre), Dusan Mihaijlovic, qui devait provoquer l’arrestation de milliers de personnes sous le prétexte de la mort de Djindjic : « la Serbie est à l’Ouest ». Les libertés publiques avaient été suspendues comme jamais Milosevic ne l’avait fait, les citoyens avaient été jetés en prison sans avocat et sans pouvoir informer leurs familles, on avait essayé d’éradiquer l’Opposition nationale populaire, l’Etat d’urgence avait été proclamé et l’Occident démocratique n’avait trouvé rien à redire.

A la tête d’un parti populaire de masse dirigé par des hommes du peuple compétents et intègres (6) Tomislav Nikolic affrontera le « pro-Western candidate » avec un handicap de reports de voix. En théorie il ne peut compter, en effet, que sur une bien maigre réserve électorale, contrairement au candidat « pro-Market ». Mais les jeux sont plus ouverts qu’il n’y paraît. On peut penser qu’une partie des électeurs de Marcicanin votera pour Nikolic mais on ignore quelle sera l’attitude de tous ceux qui ont opté pour Karic.  En fin de compte c’est Bogoljub Karic, l’ancien courtisan de la JUL, l’affairiste retors ami de fraîche date de l’ex ambassadeur américain Montgomery (celui la même qui prépara la déstabilisation finale de Slobodan Milosevic) qui pourrait faire la décision. Arbitre du second tour, l’homme nage entre deux eaux et a demandé le poste de premier ministre (que ne saurait lui procurer Tadic…) A la limite il se contenterait du ministère du commerce…

En date du 22 juin, l’expert politique bien informé, lié aux militaires serbes, successivement conseiller de Milosevic, de Kostunica et de Djindjic, Zvonimir Trajkovic, nous donnait ses prévisions. Après avoir étudié minutieusement la sociologie du vote et avoir évalué tous les reports de voix possibles, il aboutissait à cette conclusion : ce devrait être Nikolic.

Yves Bataille

Notes :

(1) Gauche Unie Yougoslave, le mouvement de Mirijana Markovic, la femme de Slobodan Milosevic.

(2) 0,5% pour le journaliste patriote Milovan Drecun, 0,5% pour l’ex ministre de la justice du DOS, Batic, 0,4% pour le socialiste dissident Ivkovic, 0,4% seulement pour Borisav Pelevic du SSJ d’Arkan (qui a vu sa base électorale fondre au profit du SRS). Parmi les 5 derniers, on trouve le représentant du « parti des tracteurs », un exhibitionniste qui ne rate aucun scrutin, la figurante d’un Groupe de Citoyens au vague programme, un partisan de la transformation de la Serbie en terrain d’essai pour les expériences nucléaires occidentales, un aubergiste de la banlieue parisienne prétendant parler au nom de la Diaspora et un « radical populaire » accusé par les Radicaux d’être un sous-marin du ministère de l’intérieur chargé de grappiller quelques voix à Nikolic. C’est raté. Avec 0,1%, le faux nez a eu deux fois moins de voix que de signatures (pour être candidat il fallait en effet 10.000 signatures de citoyens). Dinkic, le ministre des finances, a décidé de punir les candidats fantaisistes en leur sucrant leur remboursement de frais électoraux théoriques. Certains ne s’étaient présentés, en effet, que pour toucher la prime.

(3) Grupo de Resistencia Antifascista Primero de Octubre. Avant d’être le secrétaire général de l’Organisation Terroriste de l’Atlantique Nord (OTAN) pendant les bombardements de la RFY en 1999, Solana était un terroriste spécialisé dans la fabrication de bombes en Espagne. L’écolo allemand Joshka Fischer, ministre des affaires étrangères de Schroeder, qui met des bâtons dans les roues à l’ « axe Paris-Berlin-Moscou » esquissé dans l’affaire irakienne, est du même tabac (ex proche de la Bande à Baader).

(4) Terme hérité de la période socialiste titiste. Quelle que soit leur tendance, les cadres des partis sont appelés « fonctionnaires ».

(5) Opposition Démocratique de Serbie, le DOS cité plusieurs fois ici est la coalition électorale concoctée pour succéder au « régime de Slobodan Milosevic » avec le support de l’étranger.

(6) Fondateur du Parti Radical Serbe (SRS) Vojislav Seselj, s’est rendu volontairement à La Haye en février 2003 pour dénoncer le Tribunal Pénal International pour la Yougoslavie (TPIY) dont Madeleine Albright avouait qu’il était le tribunal de l’OTAN, et se défendre des faits qui lui sont reprochés. Embastillé au côté de Slobodan Milosevic et des résistants serbes pour s’être opposé aux forces d’agression contre son peuple, il lui est interdit de téléphoner à l’extérieur et de voir sa femme et ses enfants.

NATO in Irak : "Better Wait and See (Presidential Race) says European activist.

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Vendredi 25 juin 2004 - Friday, June 25th, 2004
If NATO wants to survive, it should do nothing in Iraq now … and wait until next November
  France the last days, we have seen a huge propaganda machine at work aimed at convincing European and American people that NATO would soon do something in Iraq and that its coming Summit in Istanbul was to be the time and place for the decision to be taken.We are reading that Washington does not expect much in terms of involvement of NATO in Iraq (only training security forces), but we understand that the Bush campaign is eager to be capable of saying that international support to its invasion of Iraq is broadening (after a year of continuous shrinking).We have been noticing for weeks now the General Secretary of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, delivering a kind of morally pressuring speech conveying the idea that if the Iraqi government did ask NATOS’ help, then of course it would be morally unacceptable for NATO to refuse (when you know that current Iraqi government is a mere US puppet, you wonder what morality has to do with all that; sometimes the Dutch moral finger is definitely not pointing in the good direction!). And then, surprise, surprise! Guess what: the present ‘independent’ Iraqi Prime Minister does call for NATO support. Unbelievable how life is full of coincidence, isn’it ? Of course it helps a bit when the three players are de facto expressing the same will, the will of G.W. Bush’s administration.Now let’s get to serious work and away from this Iraq/Nato poor joke. Why?Well, mainly because with the Iraq crisis, it is the very future of the Alliance which is at stake. Let’s have six points straight : 1. Whatever comes out of the Istanbul Summit in terms of diplomatic jargon, the fact is that NATO will not do anything in Iraq, and nothing significant for Iraq at this stage. If another story is told at the end, for instance by journalists such as John Vinocur or such professional propagandists, it will just be ‘cosmetics’ and the following weeks will indeed show that nothing happens.2. The reasons of that are very simple: NATO is made up of countries that have already clearly expressed their position about Iraq. There is not a single reason in the world why they would change their opinion this weekend in Istanbul.3. Political leaders are elected. And the unpopularity of this war is reaching even higher peaks than a year ago. Even in the USA, a majority of Americans now think that it was a major mistake (see USA today, 06/24/2004). Why would those leaders play against their convictions and their political interest?4. Bush has not been able to come up with any serious proposal about Iraq’s future to get the international community on board, or the Iraqi people. The overwhelming majority of historical US allies (including those currently in Iraq) is appalled by the lack of professionalism and pragmatism with which all decisions regarding Iraq are made. Therefore Iraq is a complete mess with no real power in control. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz may try to pretend the contrary, the ‘transition government’ is even weaker as was Thieu’s government in Vietnam during the war in this country. Who seriously would have liked to see the Alliance moving into Vietnam at the end of the 60s? Basically the situation is about the same today in Iraq.5. All Allies have experienced the impossibility to have any discussion with Bush’s administration. As a US think-tank expert was recently saying in a Transatlantic seminar: ‘This administration knows how to emit, but to not how to receive. They are built like TV, not like a telephone or Internet. Only broadcasting, never listening.’ Such a situation explains why there are fewer countries involved in Iraq today than a year ago. Of course those who are there and cannot pull out (like Poland for instance where there has been no democratically legitimate government for months and which is run in this matter through almost direct Washington influence) would like to see the others come in order to share the ‘mess’ burden’, and try to decrease the pressure of their own public opinion. But that’s not the way history works.6. And last but not least, why bother helping G.W. Bush presidential reelection campaign (by giving him a boost with some NATO support) when you do think that he is a bad president doing a bad policy, and when you can see from current US domestic political trends that he is likely to loose on next November? The answer is simple: you don’t bother to do that and you just apply the old British proverb (obviously forgotten by UK’s government): ‘Wait and see until November!’.Now what about NATO’s future? What’s the linkage ?The link between NATO’s possible involvement in Iraq and its survival is indeed direct. First, NATO does not have the resources to conduct all its current operations from former Yougoslavia to Afghanistan. If it decides to act for Iraq it will be overstretched and appear a far less impressive force than it used to be; like the US army in Iraq. NATO should never forget that its credibility comes from the impression that it can mobilize huge power. Better keep the impression than showing the contrary! Otherwise even in former Communist countries, support to NATO will plummet because Eastern Europeans like NATO for its alleged strength, not for its rethorics.Second, since the end of the Soviet threat, NATO has lost its main rationale for European populations (not yet among the new EU Member-States, but definitely within EU-15). Therefore the very ‘un-democratic’ processes at the core of the Alliance’s decision making process (total lack of public consultation – populations or parliaments - prior to getting involved into a war) are being increasingly questioned within Europe. An involvement in Iraq will be the catalyst which will generate a flurry of protests against and opposition to the very system under which the Alliance is functioning. It would be a fatal blow for NATO at a time when it has not yet found a new ‘grand design’ for its future.The Bush administration has already ruined US credibility worldwide. I wonder whether NATO wants this administration to also ruin its own future. Franck Biancheri Paris

Willy-Nilly: Europe must fall in the US mousetrap.

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Kerry Calls for Allies to Aid Iraq Transition

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 24, 2004; Page A08

After months of criticizing President Bush for failing to attract international support for the U.S. mission in Iraq, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) shifted his tone yesterday, putting NATO nations on notice that the time has come for them to contribute military forces to help secure the country as a new government takes power.

Kerry did not absolve the administration of responsibility for other nations’ reluctance to participate in the Iraq mission, but said it was long past time for them to withhold support, given shifts in U.S. policy that have brought a more active role by the United Nations.

“In light of the failed diplomacy of the Bush administration, that reluctance is not surprising,” he said in a statement issued while campaigning in California. “But now is the time that our allies must join the effort to support Iraq’s transition. The NATO summit is the perfect opportunity for them to demonstrate their commitment to the new U.N. resolution.”

Kerry urged the administration to invite Iraq’s interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to the NATO summit in Istanbul next week as a way to put pressure on other nations to send troops to help secure Iraq’s borders and safeguard the United Nations’ mission.

He said Allawi’s presence would challenge NATO countries to respond “to an appeal from the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people” and called the summit “a clear test of their [NATO’s] resolve and a clear test of ours.”

A senior Kerry foreign policy adviser, who declined to be identified to talk about internal campaign matters, acknowledged that the statement represents a shift. “We’re obviously calling on the president of the United States to make the supreme effort to attain these objectives, but we’re also calling on NATO to recognize their own interests in terms of what we would like them to do,” he said. “Are we shifting direction? Maybe we haven’t said it quite this way before.”

Kerry’s statement put down a marker for the administration in advance of a NATO summit where Bush will be seeking military support, but it reflected the fact that the administration’s efforts to involve the United Nations more actively in the creation of a new government in Iraq has narrowed the differences with Kerry on Iraq.

A Kerry adviser said Bush and administration officials must demonstrate that they are prepared to welcome more military support and will operate cooperatively, but Kerry reflected the view of some other Democrats that NATO nations should stand behind their vote for the U.N. resolution. “I hope the NATO countries will live up to that resolution and act on what is in their national interest,” Kerry said.

Kerry was far from signaling solidarity with the president yesterday, either on Iraq or in general. Still seething over spending the day in Washington on Tuesday as Republicans blocked a vote on veterans health care, Kerry lambasted Bush on the campaign trail.

“George Bush talked about being a uniter, not a divider,” Kerry said in San Francisco, according to news service reports. “But he’s been the greatest divider as president in the modern history of the country.”

Kerry had ripped up his schedule and returned to Washington from Denver early Tuesday for the vote. He waited all day and then gave up and left for San Francisco on Tuesday evening. “These people are so petty, so sad, so political that all they could do was find a way not to let John Kerry vote,” he said yesterday, referring to GOP leaders.

Republicans expressed little sympathy for Kerry, noting that he had missed 89 percent of Senate votes this year. “Senator Kerry’s belief that he is entitled to special treatment on one of the rare days he shows up to perform his duties is not shared by his colleagues,” said Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt.

While in San Francisco, Kerry spoke to the Service Employees International Union convention, where he called on Congress to act on legislation to negate Monday’s Supreme Court decision blocking state laws that allow lawsuits against HMOs.

“Three years ago, we passed a bipartisan and real patients’ bill of rights in the Senate,” he said, according to a text of his remarks. “It is time we had a president who wants to get this done.”

The House passed a separate version with White House support, but the two bills have languished since, with each side blaming the other for the impasse.

Kerry also used the forum to promote his plan to expand access to health insurance, which he said would cut employers’ costs by almost $27 billion and reduce health care premiums by almost $1,000 a year, on average.

In Washington on Tuesday, Kerry met with Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), who is among those under consideration for vice president. Edwards declined to describe the meeting, but yesterday he received an unlikely endorsement when independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader urged Kerry to select him. Nader said Edwards, a former trial lawyer, would fight to protect the right of citizens to sue corporations if they have been harmed.

Turkey in EU or Nato in Middle East ∫ Choux vert ou Vert Choux ∫

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Should the Middle East be NATO’s new central front?
    Will Marshal VERSUS   Peter Rudolf

Will Marshall is director of the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington DC.

Peter Rudolf is an analyst with the Berlin-based Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik specialising in transatlantic relations.

Dear Peter,

Since the 9/11 terror attacks, opinion in the United States has been congealing around the proposition that the Greater Middle East is to the 21st century what Europe was to the 20th century – the world’s prime crucible of conflict.

Of course, there are other hot spots; North Korea is especially worrisome. But the Greater Middle East, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan, is far and away the most likely nexus of the dangers we fear most today: nihilistic terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, rogue dictators and failed states.

This view seems to be gaining ground in Europe. At February’s Munich Conference on Security Policy, for example, Joschka Fischer described the Middle East as “the epicentre of the greatest threat to our regional and global security at the dawn of this century: destructive jihadist terrorism with its totalitarian ideology”.

NATO should be rededicated to defending our common security interests against the new totalitarianism brewing in the Greater Middle East

If Americans and Europeans are indeed moving toward a common definition of the new threats we face, it follows that NATO, the institutional cornerstone of the transatlantic Alliance, should reorient itself to confront those threats.

What’s the alternative? The Alliance has been running on fumes since the Soviet Union unravelled. NATO enlargement has given the appearance of purposeful activity, but it has had more to do with consolidating the West’s Cold War gains than with defining a new mission for the Alliance. The question remains, what is NATO for? Especially after the rupture over Iraq, the transatlantic partners had better agree on an answer, and soon, or else find themselves moving inexorably down divergent paths.

I think the answer is pretty straightforward: NATO should be rededicated to defending our common security interests and liberal values against the new totalitarianism brewing in the Greater Middle East. This is not exclusively a military challenge. Over the long haul, success requires changing the conditions – harsh political repression, economic stagnation and pervasive fears of cultural decline – that breed fanaticism and violence in the region. In the United States, both President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, the Democratic challenger for the White House, have called for a broad strategy of modernising the region, through expanded trade, increased aid tied to governance reforms and vigorous support for human rights, the rule of law and independent civic groups. Fischer calls this strategy “positive globalisation”, but it amounts to the same thing.

But if military power by itself can’t defeat the new totalitarian threat, neither is victory likely without the credible threat of force. After all, al Qaida has already attacked three NATO Allies: Spain and Turkey as well as the United States. To defend the “transatlantic homeland” against further terrorist attacks, NATO must develop the capacity to detect and disrupt terror cells and deprive terrorists of safe havens. This of course is the justification for NATO’s precedent-shattering intervention in faraway Afghanistan.

In fact, in organising the 6,500-strong International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul, NATO has already crossed the Rubicon and begun its strategic reorientation toward the Greater Middle East. The challenge now is for NATO to become a more aggressive and effective peacemaker. That means moving out of the capital, disarming warlords and militias and bringing them under the central government’s authority, and cooperating more closely with the 10,000 Americans who are fighting Taliban and al-Qaida remnants along the Pakistan border.

Just as the United States cannot afford to fail in Iraq, NATO cannot afford to fail in Afghanistan. It’s essential that our European partners beef up ISAF with more troops and equipment and start extending security and stability to other parts of the country, especially the restive Pathan regions in the south. In fact, Afghanistan could be the catalyst Europe needs to hasten development of its new Rapid Deployment Force as well as the lift and logistical capacity necessary to project power at long distances.

A better-focused and equipped NATO could also reinforce more vigorous international diplomacy aimed at stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the region. Would Europe have succeeded in getting Iran to open its nuclear programmes to international inspection without a vivid demonstration of US military power next door? It seems unlikely. The same is true of Libya’s decision to renounce WMD and Pakistan’s belated crackdown on A.Q. Khan’s nuclear bazaar. But beyond improving its ability to project force in the region, NATO should work out arrangements with countries in the region, modelled on the Partnership for Peace programme with former Soviet bloc countries, aimed at boosting security cooperation, transparency and confidence-building measures throughout the region. And yes, NATO should develop the capacities that will allow it to strike pre-emptively at nuclear facilities in countries that flout international non-proliferation norms.

In addition, it’s not inconceivable that NATO could take a more active part in stemming conflicts and reinforcing political settlements in the region. For example, it could reinforce efforts to stop civil strife in Sudan by posting forces to protect non-Arabs in the south from slaughter. It could provide security guarantees to facilitate a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A new Palestinian state would need help in disarming Hamas and other terrorist groups, while Israel would need reassurance that it would not have to bear the burden of protecting its citizens alone. And NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer’s openness to a NATO mission in Iraq bodes well both for bolstering a new Iraqi government and for rebuilding Alliance unity.

Obviously, all this would require dramatic changes in European military budgets, the decision-making structure of an expanded NATO, and, above all, the outlook of Europeans themselves. Whereas security during the Cold War meant deterring a Soviet attack on Western Europe, security in the age of terror and jihad requires a more active and preventive approach. Are Europeans ready to trade present risks for future safety? I don’t know, but I hope they will ponder the key lesson Americans learned from 9/11: ignoring gathering threats doesn’t make you any safer.


Dear Will,

I may sound like an old-fashioned “realist”, but I believe that the management of great-power relations remains the basic international challenge. If there is a region with the potential for a great-power conflict escalating into (nuclear) war it is East Asia. The rise of China will surely pose difficult questions for both American policy-makers and their European counterparts. I don’t wish to downplay the fact that Islamist terrorism currently poses the most serious transnational threat. I only want to question the assumption that the Greater Middle East may be to the 21st century what Europe and Asia were to the 20th century.

On the other hand, I am too much influenced by liberal international relations thinking to believe that NATO will inevitably disintegrate as a security institution unless it has an overarching mission in terms of addressing common threats. Such a development, which you seem to expect, would entail a profound shift in strategic preferences within the core members of NATO. So dramatic a change in the domestic coalitions and ideas that favour the preservation of NATO as a security institution with multiple functions would surely only become possible, were the cost of NATO membership to become unacceptably high. Perhaps we should be more concerned about over-stretching the Alliance than about the absence of a unifying mission and a new central front.

Yes, there is a common threat. However, leaving political rhetoric aside, it is a threat of much greater importance to the United States as a “Middle Eastern power” than it is to Europe. That said, the threat posed by Islamist terrorism is, as you pointed out, not exclusively a military challenge. Indeed, I would argue that it is not primarily a military challenge at all. The real question seems to me: what functional contribution can NATO make to a broad strategy of addressing threats by transnational Islamist terrorists and of coping with security risks posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons? So broad a strategy should avoid grouping different challenges and risks into one monolithic threat, as appears to be the case in the current US foreign policy debate.

The focus on the Greater Middle East should not be seen as Alliance therapy. In the absence of a analysis of engagement in the Greater Middle East – one that is based upon strategic priorities and takes into account finite resources and capabilities – your long list of things the Alliance might get involved in could easily lead to over-stretch. NATO remains too important an institution for its existence to be jeopardised by an overly ambitious and costly engagement in the Middle East.

We should be more concerned about over-stretching the Alliance than about the absence of a unifying mission and a new central front

It has almost become a cliché to say that the West cannot afford to fail in Iraq and Afghanistan. But one should be careful about putting NATO’s prestige and credibility on the line. What does failure mean? It is certainly desirable that both countries develop into stable democracies. But this cannot be a yardstick for measuring success and failure in terms of an “exit strategy”. Preventing Afghanistan from again disintegrating into a haven for transnational terrorism is a more limited and realistic goal. Resources are finite and the readiness to incur costs limited – even in the United States. Official rhetoric and actual policies do not match. Deeds speak louder than words when it comes to assessing vital interests. Few NATO member states relish the idea of taking on warlords all over the country, which is presumably what you would expect from European Alliance forces.

You are right to say that your vision requires “dramatic changes” on the European side, including higher military budgets and a different strategic outlook. Yet these changes are no more likely than the required change on the US side that you failed to mention: a willingness to treat European states somewhat better than junior partners whose only option is to jump on the US bandwagon or to risk a confrontation with the dominant partner. The reasons that the United States is eager to share the burden of being a Middle Eastern power are clear. But burden-sharing among Allies involves shared decision-making. But while the tone of US foreign policy might become more amenable under a different President, accepting greater European influence in the Middle East will not come easy to Washington irrespective of who is in the White House.

Pre-emptive strikes “at nuclear facilities that flout international non-proliferation norms” might become necessary at some point. But would any US president be willing to try and build consensus within NATO for such a policy? NATO legitimisation for such a policy is no doubt a major political incentive for entering into such delicate negotiations, but the cost of trying to reach agreement on action against, say, Iran, might prove prohibitively high.

If the United States is successful in fighting the insurgency in Iraq and the political situation there begins to improve and evolve in a positive direction, involving NATO would be politically attractive but of comparatively modest military value. If, however, the situation does not improve, the guerrilla campaign gathers momentum and Iraq disintegrates in civil war, any NATO forces deployed there would have to expect to face combat missions. This is not an attractive scenario, given public sentiment in most member states and it would surely be a recipe for transatlantic strife.

The Greater Middle East is emerging as the focal region of European-US policy coordination. But Greater Middle East initiatives will lead nowhere unless the US administration re-engages in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Pushing for economic modernisation and political liberalisation might in the very long run contribute to drying out the reservoir for new terrorists. In the process, however, we must expect a lot of instability and this may pose even greater challenges and dilemmas for the West. If NATO can contribute to managing those challenges, it should be used to this end. If, for example, military partnerships along the lines of the Partnership for Peace can help socialise Middle Eastern military officers in democratic norms, such initiatives would no doubt bolster the overall strategic approach.

But NATO as a security institution with a growing membership cannot be expected to develop into the central forum for transatlantic policy coordination on the Greater Middle East. Such coordination would surely be easier within functional and smaller groupings involving the European Union as an important actor.


Dear Peter,

With images of the horrendous carnage of Madrid fresh in my mind, it’s hard to take seriously the idea that “the management of great-power relations” is more important than confronting the new terrorism of mass murder, as well as the dreadful prospect that terrorists could get their hands on mass destruction weapons. The one challenge seems abstract, academic; the other is exploding in our faces.

In any case, the United States has been managing its great-power relationship with China since the Korean War and will go on doing so even as we confront terrorism and jihadi fanaticism. I don’t believe China’s growing geopolitical weight poses a potential threat to America or Europe. The threat, if there is one, arises from the ideology and ambitions of China’s leaders, and the habitual tendency of despotic regimes to conjure up external “threats” to justify their repressive rule. If the liberalising forces now transforming China aren’t suppressed and continue to seep from the economic into the political realm, Sino-US relations are likely to get better, not worse. That’s why, for the present, I’m more worried about Russia’s relapse into authoritarianism than the prospect of war with China.

But let’s get to the crux of our disagreement. You say NATO is too important for “its existence to be jeopardised by an overly ambitious and costly engagement in the Middle East.” Important for what? Does NATO now exist simply for the sake of existing, or does it have a strategic purpose? If the Alliance now confronts challenges of such overriding importance that it cannot commit more resources to stabilising Afghanistan, I would like to know what they are. Without a real mission to counter real threats, NATO risks becoming the institutional equivalent of a child’s security blanket – something that comforts but doesn’t actually ward off dangers.

NATO could provide security guarantees to facilitate a negotiated, two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Incidentally, contrary to your suggestion I did not say that NATO’s mission in Afghanistan should be to establish a democratic government. Rather it is to help the central government pacify the country so that it doesn’t dissolve into chaos and once again become a haven for terrorists. Yes, that will probably require taking on some warlords, an idea you say few European countries would relish. And yet it needs to be done if the mission is to be accomplished. There’s no danger of overreach in this instance: Wealthy Europe obviously has ample human and material resources to help the government of an impoverished, backward country extend its writ beyond Kabul and, while you’re at it, help US forces destroy Taliban and al-Qaida remnants along the Pakistan border. This is a question of will, not resources.

Finally, you are right that a new transatlantic project aimed at modernising the Greater Middle East will require a new attitude in the United States as well as in Europe. But Europeans can’t have it both ways: If they don’t want the United States to treat them like “junior partners”, they’ve got to carry a senior partner’s load. That means spending more on defence, developing the new capabilities of high-tech warfare and, probably hardest of all, being willing to use force when our mutual security interests demand it. I recognise that these are big, politically difficult steps. Many European leaders apparently don’t believe the threats arising from the Greater Middle East justify taking them. Maybe they are right, but what happened in Madrid argues powerfully against complacency.


Dear Will,

Let’s leave aside the issue of whether the peaceful management of great-power relations and the avoidance of catastrophic greater-power conflict will remain as great a challenge in this century as it was in the last. I only wish that I could share your liberal optimism about the end of great-power rivalry. What I question is the emerging assumption in the US foreign policy debate that the Middle East will become the predominant conflict region of this century – not the fact that we are confronted with a mortal, transnational terrorist threat of unprecedented historic proportions.

This transnational threat does originate in the Middle East, but it has already been present within European societies for some time and cannot be dealt with primarily by military means. As a result, NATO will be of limited value in this struggle. But, as far as most Europeans are concerned, this does not mean that the Alliance will become irrelevant unless it goes into the Middle East. You seem to take it for granted that traditional European security dilemmas and problems will never re-emerge, though, to be fair, you do express some concern about developments in Russia. Maybe they won’t re-emerge. But we cannot be sure. NATO is not “a child’s security” blanket, but a wise insurance policy. Certain risks may not be particularly likely and therefore appear, in your words, “academic”. But it is surely both prudent and rational to insure against them, as long as the premiums are not too high.

Greater Middle East initiatives will lead nowhere unless the US administration re-engages in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

In addition to the structural role the Alliance plays in underwriting European security, as a result of ingrained habits formed by years of military cooperation, the “new” NATO is in many ways a security-services provider. As such, it is also able to make available a pool of forces of coalitions of the willing. If, therefore, NATO can make a useful contribution to resolving or managing specific problems in the Middle East, it should clearly be used. But contingency planning for politically delicate military missions in the region – and one could easily imagine crisis scenarios involving “friendly” countries such as Saudi Arabia and/or Pakistan – is one thing. Elevating the importance of the Greater Middle East to the Alliance so that it becomes NATO’s new central front and raison d’être is another.

In the case of Afghanistan, there is simply no denying the fact that no member of NATO – not even the United States – is willing to devote the human and material resources necessary to get the job done. Well-meant calls for ambitious undertakings, which ignore political constraints and different strategic perspectives, are doomed to end in frustration and irritation.

Nevertheless, I think that we agree that both within NATO and, more likely, in other settings, a sustained transatlantic dialogue about strategic priorities and possible common policies in the Greater Middle East is urgently needed.


Dear Peter,

I don’t assume the end of great-power rivalry. It’s not inconceivable that a new strain of pan-Slav nationalism could take hold in Russia, perhaps prompting an aggressive bid by Moscow to absorb parts of the old Soviet empire. This is a worst-case scenario, but with liberalism seemingly in retreat in Russia now, it cannot be entirely ruled out so by all means, let’s preserve NATO as an insurance policy.

What’s puzzling, however, is the argument that such purely conjectural dangers should take precedence over the unmistakable threats we face right here and now. NATO is a military alliance formed to protect its members against armed attacks and intimidation. Three NATO members have now been attacked by a global terrorist network rooted in the Middle East and Islamic extremism. Either NATO should develop the plans, capacities and will to combat this menace effectively, or it should give up any pretence of remaining a true mutual-defence pact.

The notion that NATO could become a pool from which members could draw military assets or form “coalitions of the willing” seems fanciful given the absence of a political consensus about the purposes for which those assets should be used. More likely, it would devolve into a transatlantic security forum or perhaps a predominantly European framework for security integration. In either case, that would spell an end to NATO as we knew it – the potent American-European partnership, based on a clear and unambiguous mission, that underpinned the West’s successful Cold War strategy and a dramatic expansion of liberal democracy.

We agree that terrorism cannot be defeated by military means alone. But some tasks – denying terrorists safe havens in failed or rogue states, detecting and destroying terror cells wherever they may be plotting to do us harm, keeping the peace and nation-building in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, interdicting the transport of nuclear and other dangerous materials – ineluctably involve military force. Afghanistan does pose a crucial test. You assert that neither the United States nor European members of NATO are willing to devote the resources to get the job done. Shall we then withdraw and hope for the best? Is Osama bin Laden right about the irresolution of the democratic West?

Without a real mission to counter real threats, NATO risks becoming the institutional equivalent of a child’s security blanket

Lurking just below the surface of today’s transatlantic debates on terrorism, Iraq and Middle East transformation are mostly unstated fears about each other. Europeans fear that America will drag them into unnecessary fights; Americans fear that Europeans don’t have the stomach for necessary fights. I do agree with you that a candid transatlantic dialogue is urgently needed to dispel both fears and forge a more effective, common response to the new dangers we face.


Dear Will,

You rightly mention fears lurking just below the surface of the transatlantic debate. They seem to be the current manifestation of what academics have called the “alliance security dilemma”. On the one hand, states belonging to an alliance fear that their allies may abandon them in their moment of need. On the other, they themselves are afraid of becoming entrapped in conflicts they do not consider to be in their own vital interests. And the Iraq War stirred up some fear of entrapment in Europe – and created serious doubts about the strategic wisdom of this US administration and its priorities at a time when global Islamist terrorism is, no doubt about it, the clear and present danger.

Again, I do not believe that the “old” NATO based on one overriding geographically focused mission can be resurrected. After the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, NATO did invoke Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, yet no member state interpreted this action as obliging it to provide unconditional military support. Moreover, as you will recall, Washington clearly preferred to build a coalition of the willing for its war on terror to risking becoming entangled in Alliance decision-making.

NATO is not a “child’s security blanket”, but a wise insurance policy

I have not advocated and do not advocate a NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, I don’t see how the mismatch between high-flying rhetoric and actual policies can be bridged. And I’ve been unable to detect any evidence to the effect that the stabilisation of Afghanistan is a top priority for Washington. As a result, I would be cautious about the extent to which we put NATO`s credibility and prestige on the line in this operation. More than a decade ago, the United Nations was strongly (and wrongly) criticised and subsequently held responsible in the United States for the failure of the international community’s intervention in Somalia. This contributed to further erosion of support for the United Nations in the United States. For the sake of NATO and the transatlantic relationship I hope that the Alliance is able to avoid a similar fate in Afghanistan.


Les Etats-Unis face à la stratégie de l'Iran en Iraq

Article lié :

Federico Bordonaro


depuis une étonnante analyse du Dr. George Friedman
U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface
June 23, 2004   2137 GMT

By George Friedman

We are in a pattern of escalating confrontation between Iran and the United States and its allies. Two issues have surfaced. There is the question of Iran’s nuclear program. And there is the more urgent question of Iran’s capture of three British patrol boats along the Iraq-Iran frontier. Neither of these surface issues is trivial, but the underlying issues are far more significant. The fact that they have surfaced indicates how serious the underlying questions are, and points to serious tensions between the Iranians and the United States.

Iran has historically faced two threats. Russia has pressed it from the north; during and after World War II, the Soviets occupied a substantial part of Iran, as did the British. The other threat has come from the west—from Iraq, from its predecessor states or from states that have occupied Iraq, including Britain. The collapse of the Soviet Union has gone a long way toward securing Iran’s northern frontier. In fact, the instability to Iran’s north has created opportunities for it to extend its influence in that direction.

Iraq, however, has remained a threat. Iraq’s defeat in Desert Storm decreased the threat, with the weakening of Iraq’s armed forces and constant patrolling of Iraqi skies by U.S. and British warplanes. But what Iran wanted most to see—the collapse of the hated Saddam Hussein regime and its replacement by a government at least neutral toward Iran and preferably under Iranian influence—did not materialize. One of the primary reasons the United States did not advance to Baghdad in 1991 was the fear that an Iraqi collapse would increase Iran’s power and make it the dominant force in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Develops a Strategy

Subsequently, Iran’s goals were simple: First, Iraq should never pose a threat to Iran; it never wanted to be invaded again by Iraq. Second, Iran should be in a position to shape Iraqi behavior in order to guarantee that it would not be a threat. Iran was not in a position to act on this goal itself. What it needed was to induce outside powers—the United States in particular—to act in a manner that furthered Iranian national interests. Put somewhat differently, Iran expected the United States to invade Iraq or topple Hussein by other means. It intended to position itself to achieve its primary national security goals when that happened.

From the end of Desert Storm to the fall of Baghdad, Iran systematically and patiently pursued its goal. Following Desert Storm, Iran began a program designed both to covertly weaken Hussein’s regime and to strengthen Iranian influence in Iraq—focusing on Iraq’s Shiite population. If Hussein fell under his own weight, if he were overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup or if the United States invaded Iraq, Iran intended to be in a position to neutralize the Iraqi threat.

There were three parts to the Iranian strategy:

1. Do nothing to discourage the United States from taking action against Iraq. In other words: Mitigate threats from Iran so the United States would not leave Hussein in place again because it feared the consequences of a power vacuum that Iran could fill.

2. Create an information environment that would persuade the United States to topple Hussein. The Iranians understood the analytic methods of U.S. policy makers and the intelligence processes of the Central Intelligence Agency. Iran created a program designed to strengthen the position of those in the United States who believed that Iraq was a primary threat, while providing the United States with intelligence that maximized the perception of Hussein as a threat. This program preceded the 2003 invasion and the Bush administration as well. Desert Fox—the air campaign launched by the Clinton administration in December 1998—was shaped by the same information environment as the 2003 invasion. The Iranians understood the nature of the intelligence channels the United States used, and fed information through those that intensified the American threat perception.

3. Prepare for the fall of Hussein by creating an alternative force in Iraq whose primary loyalty was to Iran. The Shiite community—long oppressed by Hussein and sharing religious values with the Iranian government—had many of the same interests as Iran. Iranian intelligence services had conducted a long, patient program to organize the Iraqi Shiite community and prepare the Shia to be the dominant political force after the fall of Hussein.

As it became increasingly apparent in 2002 that the United States was searching for a follow-on strategy after Afghanistan, the Iranians recognized their opportunity. They knew they could not manipulate the United States into invading Iraq—or provide justification for it—but they also knew they could do two things. The first was to reduce the threat the United States felt from Iran. The second was to increase, to the extent possible, the intelligence available to those in the Bush administration who supported the invasion.

They accomplished the first with formal meetings in Geneva and back-channel discussions around the world. The message they sent was that Iran would do nothing to hinder a U.S. invasion, nor would it seek to take advantage of it on a direct state basis. The second process was facilitated by filling the channels between Iraqi Shiite exiles and the United States with apparently solid information—much of it true—about conditions in Iraq. This is where Ahmed Chalabi played a role.

In our opinion, Iranian intelligence knew two things that it left out of the channels. The first was that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs had been abandoned. The United States did not invade Iraq because of WMD, but used them as a justification. The Iranians knew none would be found, but were pleased that the United States would use this as a justification. The second thing Iran kept from the United States was that Hussein and his key aides did not expect to defeat the United States in a conventional war, but had planned a guerrilla war to follow the fall of Baghdad.

The Iranians had a specific reason for leaving these things out. They knew the Americans would win the conventional war. They did not want the United States to have an easy time occupying Iraq. The failure to find WMD would create a crisis in the United States. The failure to anticipate a Baathist guerrilla war would create a crisis in Iraq. Iran wanted both to happen.

The worse the situation became in Iraq, the less the United States prepared for the real postwar environment—and the more the credibility of President George W. Bush was questioned, the more eager the United States would be in seeking allies in Iraq. The only ally available—apart from the marginal Kurds—was the Shiite majority. As the situation deteriorated in the summer and fall of 2003, the United States urgently needed an accommodation with Iraq’s Shia. The idea of a Shiite rising cutting lines of supply to Kuwait while there was a Sunni rising drove all U.S. thinking. It also pushed the United States toward an accommodation with the Shia—and that meant an accommodation with Iran.

Such an accommodation was reached in the fall of 2003. The United States accepted that the government would be dominated by the Shia, and that the government would have substantial Iranian influence. During the Ramadan offensive, when the lid appeared to be flying off in Iraq, the United States was prepared to accommodate almost any proposal. The Iranians agreed to back-burner—but not to shut down—their nuclear proposal, and quiet exchanges of prisoners were carried out. Iran swapped al Qaeda prisoners for anti-Iranian prisoners held by the United States.

Things Fall Apart

Two things happened after the capture of Hussein in mid-December 2003. The first was that the Iranians started to make clear that they—not the Americans—were defining the depth of the relationship. When the United States offered to send representatives to Iran after an earthquake later in December, the Iranians rejected the offer, saying it was too early in the relationship. On many levels, the Iranians believed they had the Americans where they wanted them and slowly increased pressure for concessions.

Paradoxically, the United States started to suffer buyer’s remorse on the deal it made. As the guerrilla threat subsided in January and February, the Americans realized that the deal did not make nearly as much sense in January as it had in November. Rather than moving directly toward a Shiite government, the United States began talking to the Sunni sheikhs and thinking of an interim government in which Kurds or Sunnis would have veto power.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani—who is an Iranian—began to signal the United States that trouble was brewing in Iraq. He staged major demonstrations in January, calling for direct elections—his code words for a Shiite government. The United States, no longer pressured and growing uneasy about the enormous power of the Iranians, did two things: They pressed ahead with plans for the interim government, and started leaking that they knew the game the Iranians were playing. The release of the news that Chalabi was an Iranian agent was part of this process.

The Iranians and al-Sistani—seeing the situation slipping out of control—tried to convince the Americans that they were willing to send Iraq up in flames. During the Sunni rising in Al Fallujah, they permitted Muqtada al-Sadr to rise as well. The United States went to al-Sistani for help, but he refused to lift a finger for days. Al-Sistani figured the United States would reverse its political plans and make concessions to buy Shiite support.

Just the opposite happened. The United States came to the conclusion that the Shia and Iran were completely unreliable—and that they were no longer necessary. Rather than negotiate with the Shia, the Americans negotiated with the Sunni guerrillas in Al Fallujah and reached an agreement with them. The United States also pressed ahead with a political solution for the interim government that left the Shia on the margins.

The breakdown in U.S.-Iranian relations dates to this moment. The United States essentially moved to reverse alliances. In addition, it made clear to al-Sistani and others that they could be included in the coalition—in a favored position. In other words, the United States reversed the process by trying to drive a wedge between the Iranians and the Iraqi Shia. And it appeared to be working, with al-Sistani and al-Sadr seeming to shift positions so as not to be excluded.

Iran Roils the Surface

It was at that moment that the Iranians saw more than a decade of patient strategy going out the window. They took two steps. First, they created a crisis with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear weapons that was certain to draw U.S. attention. Second, they seized the British patrol boats. Their point? To let the United States know that it is on the verge of a major crisis with Iran.

The United States knows this, of course. Military planners are updating plans on Iran as we speak. The crisis is avoidable—and we would expect it to wax and wane. But the fundamental question is this: Are American and Iranian national interests compatible and, if they are not, is either country in a position at this moment to engage in a crisis or a war? Iran is calculating that it can engage in a crisis more effectively than the United States. The United States does not want a crisis with Iran before the elections—and certainly not over WMD.

But there is another problem. The Americans cannot let Iran get nuclear weapons, and the Iranians know it. They assume that U.S. intelligence has a clear picture of how far weapons development has gone. But following the U.S. intelligence failure on WMD in Iraq—ironically aided by Iran—will any policy maker trust the judgment of U.S. intelligence on how far Iran’s development has gone? Is the U.S. level of sensitivity much lower than Iran thinks? And since Israel is in the game—and it certainly cannot accept an Iranian nuclear capability—and threatens a pre-emptive strike with its own nuclear weapons, will the United States be forced to act when it does not want to?

Like other major crises in history, the situation is not really under anyone’s control. It can rapidly spin out of control and—even if it is in control—it can become a very nasty crisis. This is not a minor misunderstanding, but a clash of fundamental national interests that will not be easy to reconcile.

Come on (in Irak), NATO... and Stay for years !

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Video interview with Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,
NATO Secretary General
Q: What will NATO decide about Iraq?
de Hoop Scheffer: Well, that’s a very important question and a sensitive question. You know that Allies… Allied Heads of State and Government are meeting hours before the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq. Let’s take the Security Council resolution which has been adopted last week as a starting point. Let’s not redo the discussion we have had in the run-up to the war in Iraq. I think if, on the basis of that resolution, the Iraqi government… the UN or the Iraqi government would come to NATO and ask NATO if we could do anything, then NATO should not turn a blind eye to such a request from what is a legitimate and sovereign Iraqi government.
I cannot, let’s say, prejudge, of course, the outcome of this discussion, but again I think that the Heads of State and Government will certainly discuss this, but I must add the key for the answer to this question you’re asking me is in fact in Baghdad, because after the 30th of June it will be up to the Iraqis and not up to anybody else to decide the fate of their country.
Q: Mr. Secretary General, thank you very much.
de Hoop Scheffer: Thank you.

Wolfowitz Says Iraq Stay Could Last Years
By Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 23, 2004; Page A16
The U.S. military could remain in Iraq for years, but with the passage of time it should be able to step back into more of a supporting role for Iraqi security forces, the Pentagon’s number two official said yesterday in a hearing notable for sharp partisan exchanges.
“I think it’s entirely possible” that U.S. troops could be stationed in Iraq for years, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz told the House Armed Services Committee. But, he added, as the Iraqi army and new national guard develop, “we will be able to let them be in the front lines and us be in a supporting position.”
Wolfowitz said it is possible that U.S. troops could be used to enforce Iraqi martial law after the partial transfer of power a week from now. Ayad Alawi, Iraq’s interim prime minister, has said martial law is possible to crack down on insurgents.
Helping impose martial law, Wolfowitz said, “might actually be something that we might mutually agree was necessary to bring order in a particularly difficult place.”
But much of the hearing was devoted to a series of unusually pointed discussions between Wolfowitz and Rep. Ike Skelton, a centrist Missourian who is the committee’s senior Democrat.
Skelton told Wolfowitz he senses two Iraqs: “One is the optimistic Iraq that you describe, and the other Iraq is the one that I see every morning, with the violence, the deaths of soldiers and Marines.” He added, with some emotion: “I must tell you, it breaks my heart a little bit more every day.”
Skelton also was dismissive of White House comments about “staying the course” in Iraq. “I don’t think anyone here questions your resolve or questions the resolve of the president to succeed in Iraq,” he said. “But there’s a difference between the resolve on the one hand and competence on the other.” He said he now fears that the United States is descending into “a security quagmire” in Iraq.
The two men went back and forth several times.
“From your description, Mr. Secretary, I don’t see an end in sight,” Skelton said. “We’re stuck.”
“We’re not stuck, Mr. Skelton,” Wolfowitz replied. He said that the U.S. strategy in Iraq clearly is to develop Iraqi forces that can take over security from U.S. and allied troops.
At another point, Skelton said he did not see a plan to bring about success in Iraq. He added, “We broke it—we must do our best to fix it.”
Wolfowitz shot back, “We didn’t break Iraq. Saddam Hussein broke Iraq.” The Pentagon official, just back from a four-day visit to Iraq, said, “It is going to be a big job to repair it, but I feel much more confident than before this trip, after spending many hours with the new prime minister and members of his government, that there is an Iraqi team ready to take charge on July 1st and committed to fixing that damage.”
As the hearing went on, Wolfowitz sought to temper his initial presentation. “Maybe it’s optimistic compared to the total gloom and doom that one otherwise hears, but I in no way mean to minimize the security problem,” he said. “I agree with you, it is the obstacle to all the other progress that has been made.” He said he is worried especially about the next six months, as insurgents seek to derail the Iraqi elections being planned for January 2005.
Wolfowitz also said the media are part of the problem in Iraq. “Frankly, part of our problem is a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and they publish rumors,” he said.
Reporters in Iraq recently have restricted their movements, sometimes at the recommendation of U.S. officials, because of widespread violence.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
Allaoui appelle l’Otan à la rescousse
Le Premier ministre irakien Allaoui a envoyé une lettre à l’Otan demandant l’aide de l’organisation pour la formation des forces de sécurité de son pays, mais sans réclamer l’envoi de troupes alliées. Ce qui va toutefois contraindre l’Alliance à se pencher rapidement sur cette requête.
M. Allaoui a adressé une lettre à l’Alliance demandant l’assistance de l’Otan, en matière de formation et d’autres formes d’assistance technique, a affirmé un responsable de l’OTAN s’exprimant sous le couvert de l’anonymat. Il n’est pas fait mention dans la lettre d’une demande en termes d’envoi de soldats, a-t-il précisé.
  La demande est parvenue à l’Otan lundi et a été transmise aux différentes capitales pour examen par le secrétaire général de l’Otan, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a ajouté le responsable. La prochaine étape est de consulter les nations membres, a-t-il encore affirmé.
  La demande irakienne intervient à quelques jours du sommet des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de l’Alliance atlantique, les 28 et 29 juin à Istanbul (Turquie), à la veille du transfert prévu de souveraineté en Irak. Le président américain George W. Bush avait récemment suggéré que l’OTAN puisse peut-être aider à entraîner les forces de sécurité irakiennes.
  Je ne peux pas anticiper de décision mais les alliés vont clairement examiner la requête et auront une discussion approfondie sur ce sujet à Istanbul, a souligné le responsable de l’Alliance. Les Etats-Unis n’ont jamais fait mystère de leur volonté de voir l’Otan jouer un rôle en Irak, mais ils se sont heurtés jusqu’ici aux réticences exprimées par certains de leurs partenaires, comme l’Allemagne, la France et la Belgique qui formaient l’an dernier le “camp de la paix” opposé à l’intervention américano-britannique en Irak.
  Washington a déjà indiqué qu’il ne s’attendait pas à des renforts en soldats par le biais de l’Otan, étant donné que 16 des 26 Etats membres sont déjà militairement présents en Irak. En outre, les pays de l’Alliance opposés à la guerre l’année dernière, France et Allemagne en tête, ont refusé d’envoyer des troupes. La nécessité de mettre les services de sécurité irakiens à la hauteur de la tâche, notamment face aux attaques des insurgés, est l’une des priorités des Américains qui, dans l’attente, maintiennent 138.000 soldats dans le pays.
  Le Premier ministre irakien a affirmé de son côté dimanche que tous les services de sécurité du pays seraient mobilisés pour enrayer la vague de violence et annoncé la création de forces spéciales de l’armée pour combattre la guérilla. Le “camp de la paix”, qui ne souhaite pas renouveller les déchirements qu’avait subis l’Otan l’an dernier, estime toutefois que l’entraînement des forces de sécurité irakiennes n’est pas nécessairement une tâche pour l’Alliance dans son ensemble, mais plutôt pour des pays membres pris individuellement.
  L’Otan est considéré dans la région comme une succursale du Pentagone, a fait observer un diplomate en rappelant les objections déjà exprimées par la France et l’Allemagne. L’Otan n’a pas vocation à intervenir en Irak et une ingérence de l’Alliance dans ce pays comporterait de grands risques, avait récemment affirmé le président français Jacques Chirac.

You know Plan B ∫ Israel cosseting the Kurds.

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  Plan B
  By Seymour M. Hersh
  The New Yorker
  Monday 21 June 2004
As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds.
  In July, 2003, two months after President Bush declared victory in Iraq, the war, far from winding down, reached a critical point. Israel, which had been among the war’s most enthusiastic supporters, began warning the Administration that the American-led occupation would face a heightened insurgency - a campaign of bombings and assassinations - later that summer. Israeli intelligence assets in Iraq were reporting that the insurgents had the support of Iranian intelligence operatives and other foreign fighters, who were crossing the unprotected border between Iran and Iraq at will. The Israelis urged the United States to seal the nine-hundred-mile-long border, at whatever cost.
  The border stayed open, however. “The Administration wasn’t ignoring the Israeli intelligence about Iran,” Patrick Clawson, who is the deputy director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and has close ties to the White House, explained. “There’s no question that we took no steps last summer to close the border, but our attitude was that it was more useful for Iraqis to have contacts with ordinary Iranians coming across the border, and thousands were coming across every day - for instance, to make pilgrimages.” He added, “The questions we confronted were ‘Is the trade-off worth it? Do we want to isolate the Iraqis?’ Our answer was that as long as the Iranians were not picking up guns and shooting at us, it was worth the price.”
  Clawson said, “The Israelis disagreed quite vigorously with us last summer. Their concern was very straightforward - that the Iranians would create social and charity organizations in Iraq and use them to recruit people who would engage in armed attacks against Americans.”
  The warnings of increased violence proved accurate. By early August, the insurgency against the occupation had exploded, with bombings in Baghdad, at the Jordanian Embassy and the United Nations headquarters, that killed forty-two people. A former Israeli intelligence officer said that Israel’s leadership had concluded by then that the United States was unwilling to confront Iran; in terms of salvaging the situation in Iraq, he said, “it doesn’t add up. It’s over. Not militarily - the United States cannot be defeated militarily in Iraq - but politically.”
  Flynt Leverett, a former C.I.A. analyst who until last year served on the National Security Council and is now a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, told me that late last summer “the Administration had a chance to turn it around after it was clear that ‘Mission Accomplished’” - a reference to Bush’s May speech - “was premature. The Bush people could have gone to their allies and got more boots on the ground. But the neocons were dug in - ‘We’re doing this on our own.’”
  Leverett went on, “The President was only belatedly coming to the understanding that he had to either make a strategic change or, if he was going to insist on unilateral control, get tougher and find the actual insurgency.” The Administration then decided, Leverett said, to “deploy the Guantánamo model in Iraq” - to put aside its rules of interrogation. That decision failed to stop the insurgency and eventually led to the scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison.
  In early November, the President received a grim assessment from the C.I.A.‘s station chief in Baghdad, who filed a special field appraisal, known internally as an Aardwolf, warning that the security situation in Iraq was nearing collapse. The document, as described by Knight-Ridder, said that “none of the postwar Iraqi political institutions and leaders have shown an ability to govern the country” or to hold elections and draft a constitution.
  A few days later, the Administration, rattled by the violence and the new intelligence, finally attempted to change its go-it-alone policy, and set June 30th as the date for the handover of sovereignty to an interim government, which would allow it to bring the United Nations into the process. “November was one year before the Presidential election,” a U.N. consultant who worked on Iraqi issues told me. “They panicked and decided to share the blame with the U.N. and the Iraqis.”
  A former Administration official who had supported the war completed a discouraging tour of Iraq late last fall. He visited Tel Aviv afterward and found that the Israelis he met with were equally discouraged. As they saw it, their warnings and advice had been ignored, and the American war against the insurgency was continuing to founder. “I spent hours talking to the senior members of the Israeli political and intelligence community,” the former official recalled. “Their concern was ‘You’re not going to get it right in Iraq, and shouldn’t we be planning for the worst-case scenario and how to deal with it?’”
  Ehud Barak, the former Israeli Prime Minister, who supported the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq, took it upon himself at this point to privately warn Vice-President Dick Cheney that America had lost in Iraq; according to an American close to Barak, he said that Israel “had learned that there’s no way to win an occupation.” The only issue, Barak told Cheney, “was choosing the size of your humiliation.” Cheney did not respond to Barak’s assessment. (Cheney’s office declined to comment.)
  In a series of interviews in Europe, the Middle East, and the United States, officials told me that by the end of last year Israel had concluded that the Bush Administration would not be able to bring stability or democracy to Iraq, and that Israel needed other options. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government decided, I was told, to minimize the damage that the war was causing to Israel’s strategic position by expanding its long-standing relationship with Iraq’s Kurds and establishing a significant presence on the ground in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Several officials depicted Sharon’s decision, which involves a heavy financial commitment, as a potentially reckless move that could create even more chaos and violence as the insurgency in Iraq continues to grow.
  Israeli intelligence and military operatives are now quietly at work in Kurdistan, providing training for Kurdish commando units and, most important in Israel’s view, running covert operations inside Kurdish areas of Iran and Syria. Israel feels particularly threatened by Iran, whose position in the region has been strengthened by the war. The Israeli operatives include members of the Mossad, Israel’s clandestine foreign-intelligence service, who work undercover in Kurdistan as businessmen and, in some cases, do not carry Israeli passports.
  Asked to comment, Mark Regev, the spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Washington, said, “The story is simply untrue and the relevant governments know it’s untrue.” Kurdish officials declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the State Department.
  However, a senior C.I.A. official acknowledged in an interview last week that the Israelis were indeed operating in Kurdistan. He told me that the Israelis felt that they had little choice: “They think they have to be there.” Asked whether the Israelis had sought approval from Washington, the official laughed and said, “Do you know anybody who can tell the Israelis what to do? They’re always going to do what is in their best interest.” The C.I.A. official added that the Israeli presence was widely known in the American intelligence community.
  The Israeli decision to seek a bigger foothold in Kurdistan - characterized by the former Israeli intelligence officer as “Plan B” - has also raised tensions between Israel and Turkey. It has provoked bitter statements from Turkish politicians and, in a major regional shift, a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey, all of which have significant Kurdish minorities. In early June, Intel Brief, a privately circulated intelligence newsletter produced by Vincent Cannistraro, a retired C.I.A. counterterrorism chief, and Philip Giraldi, who served as the C.I.A.‘s deputy chief of base in Istanbul in the late nineteen-eighties, said:
  Turkish sources confidentially report that the Turks are increasingly concerned by the expanding Israeli presence in Kurdistan and alleged encouragement of Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state. . . . The Turks note that the large Israeli intelligence operations in Northern Iraq incorporate anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian activity, including support to Iranian and Syrian Kurds who are in opposition to their respective governments.
  In the years since the first Gulf War, Iraq’s Kurds, aided by an internationally enforced no-fly zone and by a U.N. mandate providing them with a share of the country’s oil revenues, have managed to achieve a large measure of independence in three northern Iraqi provinces. As far as most Kurds are concerned, however, historic “Kurdistan” extends well beyond Iraq’s borders, encompassing parts of Iran, Syria, and Turkey. All three countries fear that Kurdistan, despite public pledges to the contrary, will declare its independence from the interim Iraqi government if conditions don’t improve after June 30th.
  Israeli involvement in Kurdistan is not new. Throughout the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Israel actively supported a Kurdish rebellion against Iraq, as part of its strategic policy of seeking alliances with non-Arabs in the Middle East. In 1975, the Kurds were betrayed by the United States, when Washington went along with a decision by the Shah of Iran to stop supporting Kurdish aspirations for autonomy in Iraq.
  Betrayal and violence became the norm in the next two decades. Inside Iraq, the Kurds were brutally repressed by Saddam Hussein, who used airpower and chemical weapons against them. In 1984, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P.K.K., initiated a campaign of separatist violence in Turkey that lasted fifteen years; more than thirty thousand people, most of them Kurds, were killed. The Turkish government ruthlessly crushed the separatists, and eventually captured the P.K.K.‘s leader, Abdullah Ocalan. Last month, the P.K.K., now known as the Kongra-Gel, announced that it was ending a five-year unilateral ceasefire and would begin targeting Turkish citizens once again.
  The Iraqi Kurdish leadership was furious when, early this month, the United States acceded to a U.N. resolution on the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty that did not affirm the interim constitution that granted the minority Kurds veto power in any permanent constitution. Kurdish leaders immediately warned President Bush in a letter that they would not participate in a new Shiite-controlled government unless they were assured that their rights under the interim constitution were preserved. “The people of Kurdistan will no longer accept second-class citizenship in Iraq,” the letter said.
  There are fears that the Kurds will move to seize the city of Kirkuk, together with the substantial oil reserves in the surrounding region. Kirkuk is dominated by Arab Iraqis, many of whom were relocated there, beginning in the nineteen-seventies, as part of Saddam Hussein’s campaign to “Arabize” the region, but the Kurds consider Kirkuk and its oil part of their historic homeland. “If Kirkuk is threatened by the Kurds, the Sunni insurgents will move in there, along with the Turkomen, and there will be a bloodbath,” an American military expert who is studying Iraq told me. “And, even if the Kurds do take Kirkuk, they can’t transport the oil out of the country, since all of the pipelines run through the Sunni-Arab heartland.”
  A top German national-security official said in an interview that “an independent Kurdistan with sufficient oil would have enormous consequences for Syria, Iran, and Turkey” and would lead to continuing instability in the Middle East - no matter what the outcome in Iraq is. There is also a widespread belief, another senior German official said, that some elements inside the Bush Administration - he referred specifically to the faction headed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz - would tolerate an independent Kurdistan. This, the German argued, would be a mistake. “It would be a new Israel - a pariah state in the middle of hostile nations.”
  A declaration of independence would trigger a Turkish response - and possibly a war - and also derail what has been an important alliance for Israel. Turkey and Israel have become strong diplomatic and economic partners in the past decade. Thousands of Israelis travel to Turkey every year as tourists. Turkish opposition to the Iraq war has strained the relationship; still, Turkey remains oriented toward the West and, despite the victory of an Islamic party in national elections in 2002, relatively secular. It is now vying for acceptance in the European Union. In contrast, Turkey and Syria have been at odds for years, at times coming close to open confrontation, and Turkey and Iran have long been regional rivals. One area of tension between them is the conflict between Turkey’s pro-Western stand and Iran’s rigid theocracy. But their mutual wariness of the Kurds has transcended these divisions.
  A European foreign minister, in a conversation last month, said that the “blowing up” of Israel’s alliance with Turkey would be a major setback for the region. He went on, “To avoid chaos, you need the neighbors to work as one common entity.”
  The Israelis, however, view the neighborhood, with the exception of Kurdistan, as hostile. Israel is convinced that Iran is on the verge of developing nuclear weapons, and that, with Syria’s help, it is planning to bolster Palestinian terrorism as Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip.
  Iraqi Shiite militia leaders like Moqtada al-Sadr, the former American intelligence official said, are seen by the Israeli leadership as “stalking horses” for Iran - owing much of their success in defying the American-led coalition to logistical and communications support and training provided by Iran. The former intelligence official said, “We began to see telltale signs of organizational training last summer. But the White House didn’t want to hear it: ‘We can’t take on another problem right now. We can’t afford to push Iran to the point where we’ve got to have a showdown.’”
  Last summer, according to a document I obtained, the Bush Administration directed the Marines to draft a detailed plan, called Operation Stuart, for the arrest and, if necessary, assassination of Sadr. But the operation was cancelled, the former intelligence official told me, after it became clear that Sadr had been “tipped off” about the plan. Seven months later, after Sadr spent the winter building support for his movement, the American-led coalition shut down his newspaper, provoking a crisis that Sadr survived with his status enhanced, thus insuring that he will play a major, and unwelcome, role in the political and military machinations after June 30th.
  “Israel’s immediate goal after June 30th is to build up the Kurdish commando units to balance the Shiite militias - especially those which would be hostile to the kind of order in southern Iraq that Israel would like to see,” the former senior intelligence official said. “Of course, if a fanatic Sunni Baathist militia took control - one as hostile to Israel as Saddam Hussein was - Israel would unleash the Kurds on it, too.” The Kurdish armed forces, known as the peshmerga, number an estimated seventy-five thousand troops, a total that far exceeds the known Sunni and Shiite militias.
  The former Israeli intelligence officer acknowledged that since late last year Israel has been training Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the same effectiveness as Israel’s most secretive commando units, the Mistaravim. The initial goal of the Israeli assistance to the Kurds, the former officer said, was to allow them to do what American commando units had been unable to do - penetrate, gather intelligence on, and then kill off the leadership of the Shiite and Sunni insurgencies in Iraq. (I was unable to learn whether any such mission had yet taken place.) “The feeling was that this was a more effective way to get at the insurgency,” the former officer said. “But the growing Kurdish-Israeli relationship began upsetting the Turks no end. Their issue is that the very same Kurdish commandos trained for Iraq could infiltrate and attack in Turkey.”
  The Kurdish-Israeli collaboration inevitably expanded, the Israeli said. Some Israeli operatives have crossed the border into Iran, accompanied by Kurdish commandos, to install sensors and other sensitive devices that primarily target suspected Iranian nuclear facilities. The former officer said, “Look, Israel has always supported the Kurds in a Machiavellian way - as balance against Saddam. It’s Realpolitik.” He added, “By aligning with the Kurds, Israel gains eyes and ears in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.” He went on, “What Israel was doing with the Kurds was not so unacceptable in the Bush Administration.”
  Senior German officials told me, with alarm, that their intelligence community also has evidence that Israel is using its new leverage inside Kurdistan, and within the Kurdish communities in Iran and Syria, for intelligence and operational purposes. Syrian and Lebanese officials believe that Israeli intelligence played a role in a series of violent protests in Syria in mid-March in which Syrian Kurdish dissidents and Syrian troops clashed, leaving at least thirty people dead. (There are nearly two million Kurds living in Syria, which has a population of seventeen million.) Much of the fighting took place in cities along Syria’s borders with Turkey and Kurdish-controlled Iraq. Michel Samaha, the Lebanese Minister of Information, told me that while the disturbances amounted to an uprising by the Kurds against the leadership of Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, his government had evidence that Israel was “preparing the Kurds to fight all around Iraq, in Syria, Turkey, and Iran. They’re being programmed to do commando operations.”
  The top German national-security official told me that he believes that the Bush Administration continually misread Iran. “The Iranians wanted to keep America tied down in Iraq, and to keep it busy there, but they didn’t want chaos,” he said. One of the senior German officials told me, “The critical question is ‘What will the behavior of Iran be if there is an independent Kurdistan with close ties to Israel?’ Iran does not want an Israeli land-based aircraft carrier” - that is, a military stronghold - “on its border.”
  Another senior European official said, “The Iranians would do something positive in the south of Iraq if they get something positive in return, but Washington won’t do it. The Bush Administration won’t ask the Iranians for help, and can’t ask the Syrians. Who is going to save the United States?” He added that, at the start of the American invasion of Iraq, several top European officials had told their counterparts in Iran, “You will be the winners in the region.”
  Israel is not alone in believing that Iran, despite its protestations, is secretly hard at work on a nuclear bomb. Early this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for monitoring nuclear proliferation, issued its fifth quarterly report in a row stating that Iran was continuing to misrepresent its research into materials that could be used for the production of nuclear weapons. Much of the concern centers on an underground enrichment facility at Natanz, two hundred and fifty miles from the Iran-Iraq border, which, during previous I.A.E.A. inspections, was discovered to contain centrifuges showing traces of weapons-grade uranium. The huge complex, which is still under construction, is said to total nearly eight hundred thousand square feet, and it will be sheltered in a few months by a roof whose design allows it to be covered with sand. Once the work is completed, the complex “will be blind to satellites, and the Iranians could add additional floors underground,” an I.A.E.A. official told me. “The question is, will the Israelis hit Iran?”
  Mohamed ElBaradei, the I.A.E.A. director, has repeatedly stated that his agency has not “seen concrete proof of a military program, so it’s premature to make a judgment on that.” David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who is an expert on nuclear proliferation, buttressed the I.A.E.A. claim. “The United States has no concrete evidence of a nuclear-weapons program,” Albright told me. “It’s just an inference. There’s no smoking gun.” (Last Friday, at a meeting in Vienna, the I.A.E.A. passed a resolution that, while acknowledging some progress, complained that Iran had yet to be as open as it should be, and urgently called upon it to resolve a list of outstanding questions.)
  The I.A.E.A. official told me that the I.A.E.A. leadership has been privately warned by Foreign Ministry officials in Iran that they are “having a hard time getting information” from the hard-line religious and military leaders who run the country. “The Iranian Foreign Ministry tells us, ‘We’re just diplomats, and we don’t know whether we’re getting the whole story from our own people,’” the official said. He noted that the Bush Administration has repeatedly advised the I.A.E.A. that there are secret nuclear facilities in Iran that have not been declared. The Administration will not say more, apparently worried that the information could get back to Iran.
  Patrick Clawson, of the Institute for Near East Policy, provided another explanation for the reluctance of the Bush Administration to hand over specific intelligence. “If we were to identify a site,” he told me, “it’s conceivable that it could be quickly disassembled and the I.A.E.A. inspectors would arrive” - international inspections often take weeks to organize - “and find nothing.” The American intelligence community, already discredited because of its faulty reporting on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, would be criticized anew. “It’s much better,” Clawson said, “to have the I.A.E.A. figure out on its own that there’s a site and then find evidence that there had been enriched material there.”
  Clawson told me that Israel’s overwhelming national-security concern must be Iran. Given that a presence in Kurdistan would give Israel a way to monitor the Iranian nuclear effort, he said, “it would be negligent for the Israelis not to be there.”
  At the moment, the former American senior intelligence official said, the Israelis’ tie to Kurdistan “would be of greater value than their growing alliance with Turkey. ‘We love Turkey but got to keep the pressure on Iran.’” The former Israeli intelligence officer said, “The Kurds were the last surviving group close to the United States with any say in Iraq. The only question was how to square it with Turkey.”
  There may be no way to square it with Turkey. Over breakfast in Ankara, a senior Turkish official explained, “Before the war, Israel was active in Kurdistan, and now it is active again. This is very dangerous for us, and for them, too. We do not want to see Iraq divided, and we will not ignore it.” Then, citing a popular Turkish proverb - “We will burn a blanket to kill a flea” - he said, “We have told the Kurds, ‘We are not afraid of you, but you should be afraid of us.’” (A Turkish diplomat I spoke to later was more direct: “We tell our Israeli and Kurdish friends that Turkey’s good will lies in keeping Iraq together. We will not support alternative solutions.”)
  “If you end up with a divided Iraq, it will bring more blood, tears, and pain to the Middle East, and you will be blamed,” the senior Turkish official said. “From Mexico to Russia, everybody will claim that the United States had a secret agenda in Iraq: you came there to break up Iraq. If Iraq is divided, America cannot explain this to the world.” The official compared the situation to the breakup of Yugoslavia, but added, “In the Balkans, you did not have oil.” He said, “The lesson of Yugoslavia is that when you give one country independence everybody will want it.” If that happens, he said, “Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq. If something happens there, it will be impossible to contain the crisis.”
  In Ankara, another senior Turkish official explained that his government had “openly shared its worries” about the Israeli military activities inside Kurdistan with the Israeli Foreign Ministry. “They deny the training and the purchase of property and claim it’s not official but done by private persons. Obviously, our intelligence community is aware that it was not so. This policy is not good for America, Iraq, or Israel and the Jews.”
  Turkey’s increasingly emphatic and public complaints about Israel’s missile attacks on the Hamas leadership in the Gaza Strip is another factor in the growing tensions between the allies. On May 26th, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah Gul, announced at a news conference in Ankara that the Turkish government was bringing its Ambassador in Israel home for consultations on how to revive the Middle East peace process. He also told the Turkish parliament that the government was planning to strengthen its ties to the Palestinian Authority, and, in conversations with Middle Eastern diplomats in the past month, he expressed grave concern about Israel. In one such talk, one diplomat told me, Gul described Israeli activities, and the possibility of an independent Kurdistan, as “presenting us with a choice that is not a real choice - between survival and alliance.”
  A third Turkish official told me that the Israelis were “talking to us in order to appease our concern. They say, ‘We aren’t doing anything in Kurdistan to undermine your interests. Don’t worry.’” The official added, “If it goes out publicly what they’ve been doing, it will put your government and our government in a difficult position. We can tolerate ‘Kurdistan’ if Iraq is intact, but nobody knows the future - not even the Americans.”
  A former White House official depicted the Administration as eager - almost desperate - late this spring to install an acceptable new interim government in Iraq before President Bush’s declared June 30th deadline for the transfer of sovereignty. The Administration turned to Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations special envoy, to “put together something by June 30th - just something that could stand up” through the Presidential election, the former official said. Brahimi was given the task of selecting, with Washington’s public approval, the thirty-one members of Iraq’s interim government. Nevertheless, according to press reports, the choice of Iyad Allawi as interim Prime Minister was a disappointment to Brahimi.
  The White House has yet to deal with Allawi’s past. His credentials as a neurologist, and his involvement during the past two decades in anti-Saddam activities, as the founder of the British-based Iraqi National Accord, have been widely reported. But his role as a Baath Party operative while Saddam struggled for control in the nineteen-sixties and seventies - Saddam became President in 1979 - is much less well known. “Allawi helped Saddam get to power,” an American intelligence officer told me. “He was a very effective operator and a true believer.” Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former C.I.A. case officer who served in the Middle East, added, “Two facts stand out about Allawi. One, he likes to think of himself as a man of ideas; and, two, his strongest virtue is that he’s a thug.”
  Early this year, one of Allawi’s former medical-school classmates, Dr. Haifa al-Azawi, published an essay in an Arabic newspaper in London raising questions about his character and his medical bona fides. She depicted Allawi as a “big husky man . . . who carried a gun on his belt and frequently brandished it, terrorizing the medical students.” Allawi’s medical degree, she wrote, “was conferred upon him by the Baath party.” Allawi moved to London in 1971, ostensibly to continue his medical education; there he was in charge of the European operations of the Baath Party organization and the local activities of the Mukhabarat, its intelligence agency, until 1975.
  “If you’re asking me if Allawi has blood on his hands from his days in London, the answer is yes, he does,” Vincent Cannistraro, the former C.I.A. officer, said. “He was a paid Mukhabarat agent for the Iraqis, and he was involved in dirty stuff.” A cabinet-level Middle East diplomat, who was rankled by the U.S. indifference to Allawi’s personal history, told me early this month that Allawi was involved with a Mukhabarat “hit team” that sought out and killed Baath Party dissenters throughout Europe. (Allawi’s office did not respond to a request for comment.) At some point, for reasons that are not clear, Allawi fell from favor, and the Baathists organized a series of attempts on his life. The third attempt, by an axe-wielding assassin who broke into his home near London in 1978, resulted in a year-long hospital stay.
  The Saban Center’s Flynt Leverett said of the transfer of sovereignty, “If it doesn’t work, there is no fallback - nothing.” The former senior American intelligence official told me, similarly, that “the neocons still think they can pull the rabbit out of the hat” in Iraq. “What’s the plan? They say, ‘We don’t need it. Democracy is strong enough. We’ll work it out.’”
  Middle East diplomats and former C.I.A. operatives who now consult in Baghdad have told me that many wealthy Iraqi businessmen and their families have deserted Baghdad in recent weeks in anticipation of continued, and perhaps heightened, suicide attacks and terror bombings after June 30th. “We’ll see Christians, Shiites, and Sunnis getting out,” Michel Samaha, the Lebanese Minister of Information, reported. “What the resistance is doing is targeting the poor people who run the bureaucracy - those who can’t afford to pay for private guards. A month ago, friends of mine who are important landowners in Iraq came to Baghdad to do business. The cost of one day’s security was about twelve thousand dollars.”
  Whitley Bruner, a retired intelligence officer who was a senior member of the C.I.A.‘s task force on Iraq a decade ago, said that the new interim government in Iraq is urgently seeking ways to provide affordable security for second-tier officials - the men and women who make the government work. In early June, two such officials - Kamal Jarrah, an Education Ministry official, and Bassam Salih Kubba, who was serving as deputy foreign minister - were assassinated by unidentified gunmen outside their homes. Neither had hired private guards. Bruner, who returned from Baghdad earlier this month, said that he was now working to help organize Iraqi companies that could provide high-quality security that Iraqis could afford. “It’s going to be a hot summer,” Bruner said. “A lot of people have decided to get to Lebanon, Jordan, or the Gulf and wait this one out.”
  Go to Original
  Kurds Advancing to Reclaim Land in Northern Iraq
  By Dexter Filkins
  New York Times
  Sunday 20 June 20 2004
  Makhmur, Iraq - Thousands of ethnic Kurds are pushing into lands formerly held by Iraqi Arabs, forcing tens of thousands of them to flee to ramshackle refugee camps and transforming the demographic and political map of northern Iraq.
  The Kurds are returning to lands from which they were expelled by the armies of Saddam Hussein and his predecessors in the Baath Party, who ordered thousands of Kurdish villages destroyed and sent waves of Iraqi Arabs north to fill the area with supporters.
  The new movement, which began with the fall of Mr. Hussein, appears to have quickened this spring amid confusion about American policy, along with political pressure by Kurdish leaders to resettle the areas formerly held by Arabs. It is happening at a moment when Kurds are threatening to withdraw from the national government if they are not confident of having sufficient autonomy.
  In Baghdad, American officials say they are struggling to keep the displaced Kurds on the north side of the Green Line, the boundary of the Kurdish autonomous region. The Americans agree that the Kurds deserve to return to their ancestral lands, but they want an orderly migration to avoid ethnic strife and political instability.
  But thousands of Kurds appear to be ignoring the American orders. New Kurdish families show up every day at the camps that mark the landscape here, settling into tents and tumble-down homes as they wait to reclaim their former lands.
  The Kurdish migration appears to be causing widespread misery, with Arabs complaining of expulsions and even murders at the hands of Kurdish returnees. Many of the Kurdish refugees themselves are gathered in crowded camps.
  American officials say as many as 100,000 Arabs have fled their homes in north-central Iraq and are now scattered in squalid camps across the center of the country. With the anti-American insurgency raging across much of the same area, the Arab refugees appear to be receiving neither food nor shelter from the Iraqi government, relief organizations or American forces.
  “The Kurds, they laughed at us, they threw tomatoes at us,” said Karim Qadam, a 45-year-old father of three, now living amid the rubble of a blown-up building in Baquba, northeast of Baghdad. “They told us to get out of our homes. They told us they would kill us. They told us, ‘You don’t own anything here anymore.’ ”
  Ten years ago, Mr. Qadam said, Iraqi officials forced him to turn over his home in the southern city of Diwaniya and move north to the formerly Kurdish village of Khanaqaan, where he received a free parcel of farmland. Now, like the thousands of Arabs encamped in the parched plains northeast of Baghdad, Mr. Qadam, his wife and three children have no home to return to.
  The push by the Kurds into the formerly Arab-held lands, while driven by the returnees themselves, appears to be backed by the Kurdish government, which has long advocated a resettlement of the disputed area. Despite an explicit prohibition in the Iraqi interim constitution, Kurdish officials are setting up offices and exercising governmental authority in the newly settled areas.
  The shift in population is raising fears in Iraq that the Kurds are trying to expand their control over Iraqi territory at the same time they are suggesting that they may pull out of the Iraqi government.
  American officials say they are trying to fend off pressure from Kurds to move their people back into the area. “There is a lot of pressure in the Kurdish political context to bring the people who were forced out back into their hometowns,” said a senior American official in Baghdad, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “What we have tried to do so far, through moral suasion, is to get the Kurds to recognize that if they put too much pressure on Kirkuk and other places south of the Green Line, they could spark regional and national instability.”
  But local occupation officials appear in some areas to have accepted the flow of Kurds back to their homes. According to minutes of a recent meeting of occupation officials and relief workers in the northern city of Erbil, an American official said the Americans would no longer oppose Kurds’ crossing the Green Line, as long as the areas they were moving into were uncontested.
  And Kurdish and American officials say the occupation authority has been financing projects here in Makhmur, a formerly Arab area recently resettled by Kurds.
  The biggest potential flash point is Kirkuk, a city contested by Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen. Kurdish leaders want to make the city, with its vast oil deposits, the Kurdish regional capital and resettle it with Kurds who were driven out in the 1980’s.
  To make the point, some 10,000 Kurds have gathered in a sprawling camp outside Kirkuk, where they are pressing the American authorities to let them enter the city. American military officers who control Kirkuk say they are blocking attempts to expel more Arabs from the town, for fear of igniting ethnic unrest.
  “The Kurds are pushing, pushing,” said Pascal Ishu Warda, the minister for displaced persons and migration. “We have to set up a system to deal with these people who have been thrown out of their homes.”
  To treat the burgeoning crisis, American officials last month approved spending $180 million to compensate Arab families thrown out of their homes; earlier they set up a similar program, with similar financing, for the Kurds.
  The Americans have distributed handbills in Arab and Kurdish camps calling on Iraqis to file claims and produce ownership documents.
  But some Iraqi and American officials say those claims could take months or even years to sort out, and will provide little immediate help to the families, Arab and Kurdish, languishing in the camps.
  Some people said American officials waited too long - more than a year - to set up a mechanism to resettle displaced Iraqis. By then, they said, the Kurds, tired of waiting, took matters into their own hands.
  Peter W. Galbraith, a former United States ambassador, who has advised the Kurdish leadership, said he recommended a claim system for Kurds and Arabs to Pentagon officials in late 2002. Nothing was put in place on the ground until last month, he said, long after the Kurds began to move south of the Green Line.
  “The C.P.A. adopted a sensible idea, but it required rapid implementation,” Mr. Galbraith said. “They dropped the ball, and facts were created on the ground. Of course people are going to start moving. If the political parties are encouraging this, that, too, is understandable.”
  Kurdish leaders say they are merely taking back land that was stolen from them over four decades. Publicly, the Kurdish leaders say that they are committed to working within the Iraqi state as long as their federal rights are assured, and that no Arabs have been forced from their homes.
  But in the villages and camps where the Kurds have returned, Kurdish leaders are more boastful. They say they pushed the Arab settlers out as part of a plan to expand Kurdish control over the territory.
  “We made sure there wasn’t a single Arab left here who came as part of the Arabization program,” said Abdul Rehman Belaf, the mayor of Makhmur, a large area in northern Iraq that was emptied of Arabs and is now being resettled by Kurds.
  Mr. Belaf is a member of the Kurdish Democratic Party, one of the two main Kurdish political parties active on the other side of the Green Line; virtually all of Makhmur’s officials belong to the party, too.
  “We haven’t stopped yet,” he said. “We have more land to take back.”
  Before the war began in 2003, Arab settlers worked the fields in the areas surrounding Makhmur. Most of the settlers were brought north by successive waves of Mr. Hussein’s campaign to populate the north with Arabs, killing or expelling tens of thousands of Kurds.
  Exactly what happened when Mr. Hussein’s army collapsed is disputed. Kurdish officials say the Arab settlers fled with the army. No expulsions were necessary, they said.
  But some Arab families, like those who settled around Makhmur long ago, have largely been left alone.
  “Saddam’s people asked me to take Kurdish lands in 1987, and I said no,” said Salim Sadoon al-Sabawi, a 60-year-old Arab farmer in the village where his family has lived for generations. “When the Kurds returned, they left me alone. There was no violence. We are like brothers.”
  Asked what the Kurds did to the Arabs who migrated into the area recently, Mr. Sabawi paused, and his son, Arkan, broke in. “They threatened people with death,” Arkan said. “They told them to get out.”
  “Let’s be honest,” Mr. Sabawi told his son. “The Arabs who left all came here as part of the Arabization program. They kicked out the Kurds. It wasn’t their land to begin with.”
  Mr. Belaf, the Kurdish mayor, said that before the war, the area around Makhmur was 80 percent Arab. A year later, he said, it is 80 percent Kurdish, as it used to be.
  As hard as life is for Arabs in refugee camps, it seems to be hardly better for the Kurds displacing them.
  Adnan Karim, 34, said his home was burned by the Iraqi Army in 1987. He began a life on the run after that, fighting Mr. Hussein as a pesh merga, marrying, having children and moving from one place to another. Last year he returned to an old military camp near Kirkuk, Qara Hanjir, hoping the new government would set aside some land for returnees like him. Nearly a year later, he is still waiting in a camp.
  Mr. Karim said he was trying to provide for his wife and three children with a $40-a-month pesh merga pension and money from odd jobs. But much of his money is spent buying water from a truck.
  Watching his children play in the dirt around him, Mr. Karim, a bedraggled man, gave in to despair.
  “I have spent my whole life this way,” he said, “just as you see me.”