Stratfor on Possible Russia/USA Deal

Paul Flewers hatchet.job at virgin.net
Wed Sep 18 14:30:29 MDT 2002


List members may be interested in this Stratfor digest out today. It seems
to have a sense of realism about it. The US government is desperate for a
war with Iraq, and Russia can be easily bribed.

Paul F

++++++++++++++


Possible Iraq-for-Georgia Deal Could Seal Baghdad's Fate
17 September 2002
Summary

Washington and Moscow appear to be discussing a possible deal in which
Russia would not veto a U.S. attack on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council in
exchange for Washington's tacit agreement on a Russian counterterrorist
operation in Georgia. If the deal holds, Iraq's fate will be soon sealed,
but the consequences could hurt Russia as well in the end.

Analysis

Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened Sept. 11 to send troops into
Georgia's Pankisi Gorge unless Tbilisi deals with Islamic militants --
including alleged Chechen rebels -- within its borders, the BBC reports. On
Sept. 12 Putin also warned the United Nations that Russia would take
"necessary measures" to defend itself against cross-border Islamist attacks
if Tbilisi cannot control the gorge.

The Bush administration, which until just a few days ago publicly supported
Georgia against such Russian threats, recently said through statements by
U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow that al Qaeda agents are operating not
only in the Pankisi but also in Chechnya. Vershbow also met with Russian
officials Sept. 12 for talks on anti-terrorism cooperation and Iraq.

It appears that the United States and Russia may be close to some form of an
"Iraq-for-Georgia" deal. This likely means that Moscow will not veto an
American attack on Iraq in the U.N. Security Council in exchange for U.S.
acquiescence to a planned Russian operation in Georgia. It also suggests
that one of the last obstacles for a U.S. war on Iraq is being removed and
that Baghdad's fate soon will be sealed.


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