[Marxism] [a MUST READ!!] Negroponte Appointment Signals 'Serbian Model' For Middle East

davidquarter at sympatico.ca davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Sun Feb 20 01:01:13 MST 2005


On 19 Feb 2005 at 20:57, Rick Rozoff wrote:

http://www.sundayherald.com/47857


Sunday Herald (Scotland)
February 20, 2005


NEW FRONT IN THE WAR ON TERROR


-Without any clear alternative leadership, Iran could
stumble into the same quagmire as post-war Iraq. Even
so, there is a growing body of opinion in Washington
that the “Serbian model” could be used to good effect.
Just as Slobodan Milosevic lost power after it became
obvious that he was unable to prevent coalition
attacks, and that his continuing presence was the
focus of international [sic] condemnation, so too
could a series of setbacks force a similar situation
in Iran and Syria.
-[T]he option [is open] of covert operations aimed at
making life impossible for the administration and
paving the way for a more sympathetic government. Last
week’s assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafiq al-Hariri is a good example of this approach. No
serious group has claimed responsibility for the
operation, which was well planned and efficiently
executed, but the attack has created the kind of
uncertainty that can encourage change. 
-Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad called the
assassination a “horrendous criminal act” and a black
day for the Arab world. 
Its timing was hardly fortuitous. Syria has been under
pressure to remove its 15,000-strong force from
Lebanon and was recently warned by the UN not to harm
opposition leaders or else face “total, final and
irrevocable divorce from the international community”.




With controversial diplomat John Negroponte installed
as the all-powerful Director of National Intelligence,
is the US about to switch from invasions to covert
operations and dirty tricks? The assassination of the
former Lebanese PM has aroused suspicions
By Trevor Royle, Diplomatic Editor 

 

Congress might still have to confirm the full extent
of his powers, but there is little doubt that John
Negroponte’s new position in Washington as George
Bush’s first Director of National Intelligence (DNI)
will be omnipotent.

Not only will he be in overall control of all 15
agencies involved in the war against terrorism but he
will have unprecedented power in deciding and
executing policy, allocating budgets and giving the
authority for covert operations.

In appointing Negroponte, a career diplomat [sic],
Bush has brought a new and, to many, unwelcome twist
to the US war on terror. Coming on top of his
statement that he would support Israel if it mounted
an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, and
following recent talk of enforcing regime change in
Iran and Syria, it sends the signal that the US is
entering a new phase in its operations against those
countries suspected of sponsoring al-Qaeda and its
allies [sic].

Members of the US security community believe
Negroponte will give the CIA and other agencies new
focus by ending the rivalry that bedevils their
operations. 
....
Negroponte’s appointment seems to have been brought
into being without any political checks and balances
other than in reporting directly to the President.

Not only does this make him the most powerful member
of the Bush administration, but it also heightens
fears the US could be returning to “dirty war” tactics
which allowed CIA-trained operatives to pinpoint and
neutralise known terrorist targets or obstructive
political leaders. 

Extra-judicial killings of this kind have been in the
CIA repertoire since it began its response to the 9/11
attacks. Sources close to the White House have already
admitted the US might have to resort to this approach
in its policy of fomenting internal regime changes in
the Middle East. 

A senior strategist in Washington told the Sunday
Herald that the US had no intention of getting bogged
down as it had done in Iraq and that the next two
stumbling blocks, Iran and Syria, would have to be
approached in a more subtle way. 

“We are in no position to take any military action
just now and, in any case, the odds are stacked
against us,” he said. “ Iran is on the point of
developing nuclear weapons and Syria is a patron of
terrorism [sic]. Both have created a powerful
alliance, both need to be brought round and both need
to mend their ways. If they are not open to
negotiation, we’ll have to take a more indirect
approach.”

For the moment, at least, the Iran question is being
allowed to simmer and, during this week’s visit to
Europe, Bush will publicly give his blessing to the EU
approach which is based on discussion and containment.
While this goes against the grain in Washington’s
neo-conservative circles, there is a weary acceptance
the US can do very little at the moment. Its forces
are stretched in coping with operations in Afghanistan
and Iraq, and senior commanders have warned that any
military attack on Iran will not be a walkover. 

Even pinpoint [sic] cruise missile attacks of the kind
favoured by the Clinton administration would not
neutralise Iran’s nuclear industry. The country’s
atomic facilities are not concentrated in one place,
as Iraq’s were in 1981 . Iran’s nuclear installations
are dispersed throughout the country and the attacks
would have to be carried out in several waves over
several days. 

The option of destabilising the government and
encouraging opposition groups is also not guaranteed.
As the experience in Iraq has shown all too clearly,
it is easy to execute regime change but it is
extremely difficult to enforce the creation of a new
administration. 

Without any clear alternative leadership, Iran could
stumble into the same quagmire as post-war Iraq. Even
so, there is a growing body of opinion in Washington
that the “Serbian model” could be used to good effect.
Just as Slobodan Milosevic lost power after it became
obvious that he was unable to prevent coalition
attacks, and that his continuing presence was the
focus of international condemnation, so too could a
series of setbacks force a similar situation in Iran
and Syria.

With aerial attacks out of the question at the moment,
that leaves the option of covert operations aimed at
making life impossible for the administration and
paving the way for a more sympathetic government. Last
week’s assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafiq al-Hariri is a good example of this approach. No
serious group has claimed responsibility for the
operation, which was well planned and efficiently
executed, but the attack has created the kind of
uncertainty that can encourage change. 

Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad called the
assassination a “horrendous criminal act” and a black
day for the Arab world. 

Its timing was hardly fortuitous. Syria has been under
pressure to remove its 15,000-strong force from
Lebanon and was recently warned by the UN not to harm
opposition leaders or else face “total, final and
irrevocable divorce from the international community”.
Assad has angrily denied any Syrian involvement in the
attack although it is possible that proxies or rogue
elements were involved with support from outside the
country. 

As is the case with every action of this kind, if the
assassination has the desired effect then the reasons
for it can usually be rationalised. Last September,
Mossad agents assassinated Hamas leader Izz el-Deen
al-Sheikh Khalil in Damascus in revenge for his part
in attacks on Israel.

While operations of this kind are not normal Israeli
policy [sic], a Mossad spokesman at the time explained
that the agency carefully assesses the risks, costs
and benefit before authorising extra- judicial
killings. While operations in other countries are not
a priority in Mossad’s tactics, each case is
considered on its merits, Khalil being an obvious
target. 

In contrast, the US operated a very different policy
in Nicaragua in the 1980s when the CIA was involved in
a secret policy of destabilising the Nicaraguan
government by training and funding terrorist forces
operating out of neighbouring Honduras. 

And that is why the appointment of John Negroponte as
DNI has raised eyebrows inside and outside of
Washington. At the time, in a previous incarnation as
a diplomat in Honduras between 1981 and 1985,
Negroponte turned a blind eye to atrocities and
political assassinations carried out by US-funded
Contra fighters during the illegal war against
Nicaragua’s Sandinista government. 

Throughout the period, Honduras receive huge funding
and military assistance from the US in what CIA
director William Casey called “the ultimate covert
operation” which culminated in the discredited
“Irangate” policy of channelling funds and weapons
through Israel and Iran. 

[T]he Contra scandal is one of the most shameful
episodes in US diplomatic history. 

Backed by the US, albeit secretly, Honduran forces
were accused of torture and assassination and Contra
fighters were repeatedly discovered perpetrating
atrocities on civilians. When the scandal was
revealed, it was discovered that CIA teams had
instructed the Contras in the art of political
assassination as well as taking part in the illegal
mining of Nicaraguan ports. 

According to critics, all this would have been known
to Negroponte but he kept his silence and the cover
was not blown until October 1986, when Sandanista
forces shot down a CIA aircraft carrying arms to
Contra forces inside Nicaragua. 







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