Straight from the (Stratfor) Horse's Mouth

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Fri Dec 13 05:44:24 MST 2002


Just received this from Stratfor, it's very interesting that it's so open
about US intentions.

Paul F

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----- Original Message -----
From: alert at stratfor.com
To: redalert at stratfor.com
Sent: Thursday, December 12, 2002 11:03 PM
Subject: War Diary: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002


War Diary: Thursday, Dec. 12, 2002

Wednesday, Dec. 11, saw the international focus shift away from
the inspections in Iraq toward what appeared to be a more
substantial military matter. The U.S. government issued a report
called "National Strategy to Combat Weapons of Mass Destruction."
At the heart of it was a statement that the United States
"reserves the right to respond with overwhelming force --
including through resort to all of our options -- to the use of
WMD (weapons of mass destruction) against the United States, our
forces abroad and friends and allies."

The new report does not represent an actual shift in strategy.
Washington publicly shifted its strategy last winter, saying not
only that it was prepared to respond to the use of WMD but that
it also reserved the right to use such weapons pre-emptively, a
point on which the current report is somewhat ambiguous. What the
report does is codify what has been operational principle for a
while.

What is interesting, of course, is not the substance but the
timing of the release. It occurs, quite obviously, in the context
of the inspection process, which many nations view as a means for
preventing war. As U.S. forces continue to move into position
around Iraq, the report is designed to drive home the fact that
the Bush administration has in no way dropped its war plans and
that it sees the inspection process as creating a justification
for war rather than as preventing it.

The strategy document also is part of an effort to signal
potential opposition forces inside Baghdad about the consequences
of certain actions. Washington regards chemical weapons as
potential weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that
Baghdad had such weapons in the past and, in likelihood, still
retains them. It also is likely that it is considering using
chemical weapons against U.S. forces attacking Iraq. The United
States already has signaled military leaders in Iraq that they
would be held personally responsible for any use of WMD against
U.S. forces. This new publication goes on to make clear that
should Iraqi President Saddam Hussein order their use and should
they be used, Iraq could undergo devastating counterstrikes from
the United States. It also telegraphs to other Islamic countries
just how serious the White House is and how far it is prepared to
go -- something that the Bush administration sees as being of
value at this time.

The United States clearly is trying to drive a wedge between
Hussein and his subordinate officers in the hopes of creating
some opposition. The United States also is deliberately driving
home to its allies how serious it is and, ultimately, that it is
going to be indifferent to their sensibilities. From a political
standpoint, the White House clearly has determined that verbal
attacks from Europe, rather than hurting the president
domestically, actually help him. And the president has determined
that given U.S. plans, creating a clear policy over which
European leaders can make their decisions is useful in clarifying
the nature of the alliance. In other words, the more extreme the
statement, the less likely the Europeans are to be surprised at
more moderate actions.

The German government, the main allied antagonist to the U.S.
position, signaled its own position quickly. Franz Muentefering,
parliamentary leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, said
Germany would either abstain or vote against a U.N. resolution
authorizing force when it joins the Security Council next month
and becomes its chair in February. Germany is now very much on
the mind of Bush administration members whenever they speak about
Iraq. Germany will be key to the diplomacy in the Security
Council and is critical in NATO. The United States is signaling
to Germany that Washington is not going to be influenced by
German opposition, while German leaders are signaling that they
will continue to oppose a war regardless of diplomatic pressure.

What is important here is that people are beginning to look
beyond the inspection process. The obvious is now being addressed
-- which is that the Security Council will have to vote on a war
resolution in the next month or so and that the United States
will demand that vote regardless of what Hans Blix's inspectors
ultimately report. There also is a growing sense in some quarters
that violations by Iraq will be found. The Bush government is
making it clear how far it intends to go in dealing with the
threat, while others are making it clear what their limits are.

In other words, the diplomatic dance is entering its end game.




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