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Wider War Watch -- September 2001

Commentary and Analysis - 28 September 2001
Beyond bin Laden:  The Temptations of a Wider War
Carl Conetta. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute.

[excerpt]  The nature of the new terrorism and the unique importance of international cooperation in combating it has been blurred by the recent focus on targeting states who associate with terrorists. (The Bush administration estimates that there are 60 such states.) Action against states and conventional armed forces accords well with America's current military capabilities. But such action does not strike at the heart of the current threat, which is distinguished by being transnational, decentralized, and relatively independent of states. We can focus our military power on nations that, in one way or another, have been associated with terrorism -- but the new terrorism will slip the noose.

Commentary and Analysis - 25 September 2001
Focus on Iraq
Stephen Holmes. The American Prospect (25 September 2001).

[excerpt]  ...a move to topple Saddam's regime, to be effective, would require support from allies in both Europe and the Middle East. It would also have to be integrated into a multi-dimensional regional strategy. For one thing, an invasion of Iraq, unlike an invasion of Afghanistan, would provide an opportunity to remove a bitter irritant to Islamic public opinion: We could relocate our troops away from the vicinity of Mecca and Medina, not in retreat or bowing to pressure but rather in order to occupy Iraq, and thereby to continue stabilizing the region militarily. We could call an immediate election that would result in a Shia government, which would have the collateral benefit (if combined with a go-ahead for a trans-Iranian oil pipeline) of conciliating Iran to our cause. Discontent stimulated by a post WWII-style American occupation of Iraq, devoted to political and economic reconstruction, would be tempered by the end of grueling sanctions (and bombings to the extent that these have occurred) from which Iraqi civilians have long suffered. The Syrians and Saudis could also be brought to support this effort if, along with some other incentives, we combined the toppling of the despised and feared Saddam with a all-out effort to create a viable Palestinian state, compatible with Israel's basic security, along the lines of the Mitchell plan, with perhaps some sort of international protectorate in East Jerusalem -- not sometime later, but now.

Commentary and Analysis - 24 September 2001
The Trap
Hendrik Hertzberg and David Remnick. The New Yorker (01 October 2001).

[excerpt]  What the terrorists did was aimed only in the first instance at the destruction they so spectacularly achieved and the demoralization and disruption they sought to engender. What they did was, in the classic sense, a provocation; and what they meant to provoke was war--the bigger, the better.
Just as American planes were the found object that devastated American cities, the terrorists hope that American passions will inexorably ignite a greater and ultimately far more dangerous conflagration.
Bush gave few particulars about the form such intervention might take, its duration, or the goals that will be defined for it, but he promised that the Taliban "will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate." At the moment, then, our "they" encompasses only the terrorists and their Taliban hosts. How the "they" comes to be defined in the months ahead, and who does the defining, will be absolutely critical. The terrorists' fondest hope is that "they" will expand to include countries inhibited and ultimately paralyzed by the fear (or the power) of their own Islamic extremists (Pakistan, Saudi Arabia); countries where corners of "the street" exulted in the sight of the falling towers (the Palestinian territories, Egypt); and, finally, the whole of the Arab if not the Islamic world.

Commentary and Analysis - 24 September 2001
A Not-So-Global War on Terrorism?
Ivan Eland. Washington, DC: The Cato Institute, 24 September 2001.

[excerpt] his speech the president stated that the war on terror "will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." The revealing phrase here is "of global reach."
In addition, the president implicitly gave states that have been past sponsors of terrorism amnesty if they cease supporting terrorism. He said: "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." The operative phrase here is "from this day forward."

Source - 23 September 2001
Executive Order on Terrorist Financing: Blocking Property and Prohibiting Transactions With Persons Who Commit, Threaten to Commit, or Support Terrorism
George W. Bush. Washington, DC: The White House, 23 September 2001.

[excerpt]  Section 2(d): The term "terrorism" means an activity that -- (i) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life, property, or infrastructure; and (ii) appears to be intended --
(A) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(B) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(C) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, kidnapping, or hostage-taking.
Specific Terrorist(s) or Terrorist Financial Support Groups listed in the Annex:
Al Qaida/Islamic Army; Abu Sayyaf Group; Armed Islamic Group (GIA); Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM); Al-Jihad (Egyptian Islamic Jihad); Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU); Asbat al-Ansar; Salafist Group for Call and Combat (GSPC); Libyan Islamic Fighting Group; Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya (AIAI); Islamic Army of Aden; Usama bin Laden; Muhammad Atif (aka, Subhi Abu Sitta, Abu Hafs Al Masri); Sayf al-Adl; Shaykh Sai'id (aka, Mustafa Muhammad Ahmad); Abu Hafs the Mauritanian (aka, Mahfouz Ould al-Walid, Khalid Al-Shanqiti); Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi; Abu Zubaydah (aka, Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, Tariq); Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi (aka, Abu Abdallah); Ayman al-Zawahiri; Thirwat Salah Shihata; Tariq Anwar al-Sayyid Ahmad (aka, Fathi, Amr al-Fatih); Muhammad Salah (aka, Nasr Fahmi Nasr Hasanayn); Makhtab Al-Khidamat/Al Kifah; Wafa Humanitarian Organization; Al Rashid Trust; Mamoun Darkazanli Import-Export Company.

News - 21 September 2001
"A Clear Message: 'I Will Not Relent' "
R.W.Apple. The New York Times, 21 September 2001.

[lead paragraph]  Siding with those of his advisors who favor the broadest possible campaign against terrorism, President Bush told Congress, the nation and the world last night that the forthcoming American effort would not cease "until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."

News - 20 September 2001
"Bush Advisers Split on Scope of Retaliation"
Patrick E. Tyler and Elaine Sciolino. The New York Times, 20 September 2001.

[excerpt]  Some senior administration officials, led by Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, and I. Lewis Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, are pressing for the earliest and broadest military campaign against not only the Osama bin Laden network in Afghanistan, but also against other suspected terrorist bases in Iraq and in Lebanon's Bekaa region. These officials are seeking to include Iraq on the target list with the aim of toppling President Saddam Hussein, a step long advocated by conservatives who support Mr. Bush.
A number of conservatives circulated a new letter today calling on the president to "make a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power" even if he cannot be linked to the terrorists who struck New York and Washington last week.
One account of last weekend's private discussion among Mr. Bush and his senior aides suggested a tense exchange occurred when Mr. Wolfowitz made the the case for a broad and early campaign, including bombing Iraq. Secretary Powell said targeting Iraq and Saddam Hussein would "wreck" the coalition.
On Monday, Secretary Powell betrayed his own impatience with Mr. Wolfowitz's assertion -- later retracted -- that the administration was committed to "ending states" that supported terrorism. "We're after ending terrorism," Secretary Powell said when asked about Mr. Wolfowitz's formulation. "And if there are states and regimes, nations, that support terrorism, we hope to persuade them that it is in their interest to stop doing that. But I think 'ending terrorism' is where I would leave it and let Mr. Wolfowitz speak for himself."

Commentary - 20 September 2001
Toward a Comprehensive Strategy
William Kristol, et al. Washington, D.C.: Project for the New American Century, National Review Online (20 September 2001).

[excerpt]  We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.
...even if evidence does not link Iraq directly to the attack, any strategy aiming at the eradication of terrorism and its sponsors must include a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Failure to undertake such an effort will constitute an early and perhaps decisive surrender in the war on international terrorism.

Analysis - September 2001
Bin Laden's Network in Lebanon
Gary C. Gambill and Bassam Endrawos. Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (September 2001).

[excerpt]  The secular Ba'ath regime in Damascus has no affinity for Islamist ideology and has brutally repressed Islamist movements at home. They are allowed to operate above the law in Lebanon because their presence is seen by Damascus as a valuable hedge against domestic and international pressure to withdraw from the country.

News and Commentary - 19 September 2001
"From White House, mixed message on possible targets"
Anne E. Kornblut. The Boston Globe, 19 September 2001.

[excerpt]  President Bush pledged yesterday to "fight terrorism on all fronts," without saying how many fronts he envisioned or where they would be. According to the Bush administration, the Al Qaeda organization run by bin Laden has ties in more than 60 countries... Joe Montville, a security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said..."I think the way the president is putting it, he'd not really articulating a defined plan. It's more of a sentiment. I think the president probably gets a little discount for hyperbole in this early stage."

News - 19 September 2001
"US probes a possible Iraq link"
John Donnelly and Bryan Bender. The Boston Globe, 19 September 2001.

[lead paragraph]  US intelligence has begun to take a hard look at whether Iraq was involved...following a report that one of the suspected hijackers met with the head of Iraqi intelligence in Europe earlier this year.

Commentary - 18 September 2001
State Sponsors of Terrorism Should Be Wiped Out, Too
Richard N. Perle. Daily Telegraph (London), 18 September 2001.
Posted on the American Enterprise Institute Website.

[excerpt]  Those countries that harbour terrorists -- that provide the means with which they would destroy innocent civilians -- must themselves be destroyed. The war against terrorism is about the war against those regimes. We will not win the war against terror by chasing individual terrorists, any more than we will win the war against drugs by arresting the "mulesf who pass through Heathrow. It is the networks that send young men on suicide missions and their sponsors that must be destroyed.

Commentary - 18 September 2001
North Korea:  Another Outcropping Of Terrorism
Benjamin Fulford., 18 September 2001.

[excerpt]  The attack on the World Trade Center would be like a kid's firecracker compared to the damage an atomic bomb would do. Unfortunately for Americans, there is a rogue state that has a long terrorist track record, connections with Middle Eastern terror groups and nuclear capabilities: North Korea.

Commentary - 16 September 2001
Bush is Walking Into a Trap
Robert Fisk. Independent/UK, 16 September 2001.
Posted on the Common Dreams Website.

[excerpt]  ...the Americans need look no further than Ariel Sharon's futile war with the Palestinians to understand the folly of retaliation. In Lebanon, it was always the same. A Hizbollah guerrilla would kill an Israeli occupation soldier, and the Israelis would fire back in retaliation at a village in which a civilian would die. The Hizbollah would retaliate with a Katyusha missile attack over the Israeli border, and the Israelis would retaliate again with a bombardment of southern Lebanon.

Commentary - 14 September 2001
Days to Come
Melani McAlister. 14 September 2001.
Posted on the re: constructions Website.

[excerpt]  I...don't want to imply that I think the right foreign policies will lead to a world without violence. Even if the United States were to develop a far more judicious and just foreign policy than we have, it would not stop all the causes of terrorism. While it is obviously true that without attention to causes, there will never be solutions -- who can believe that there will ultimately be any end to the violence in Northern Ireland or in Israel/Palestine until the underlying political problems are resolved in ways that most people on both sides can accept as fair? -- it is also true that there are a certain number of people who will be opposed to even the best of policies, simply because human beings are unlikely to agree on what is "best."
Wars are military battles between nations over political goals. Civilians die in wars, and most of us can accept that as necessary if we believe that the goals are imperatives and that war, and war alone, will meet those imperatives. But just because a given group of criminals want a war, it doesn't mean that we should give them one. When Timothy McVeigh bombed a federal building in Oklahoma and killed 165 people, he made clear that he intended it as a declaration of war against the U.S. government. The U.S. government, however, responded by treating his action as what it was: a horrifying, vicious crime carried out, not by a government, but by a fanatic. Right-wingers like McVeigh can declare war on the U.S. government, but the terrible level of their violence does not give them the status of a nation state, and we don't go bombing Texas for giving succor to them and their kind.
I do know this, however: a world in which there is real progress in forging economic justice within and between countries, where the United States and its allies bomb less and talk more, and where the national rights of others are taken seriously, even when they are inconvenient, will be a world in which there is less terrorism.

Commentary - 14 September 2001
"Time to use the nuclear option"
Thomas Woodrow. The Washington Times, 14 September 2001.

[lead sentence]  The time has come for the United States to make good on its past pledges that it will use all military capabilities at its disposal to defend U.S. soil by delivering nuclear strikes against the instigators and perpetrators of the attacks...

Commentary - 13 September 2001
The Iraq Connection: Blood Baath
R. James Woolsey. The New Republic (24 September 2001).

Analysis - 12 September 2001
Interview with Larry C. Johnson, deputy director of the U.S. State Department Office of Counterterrorism from 1989 to 1993
Frontline, 12 September 2001.

[excerpt]  So, we're not looking at a global threat. We're not looking at multiple groups. This notion that all terrorists want to kill Americans, not true. If that's true, why haven't FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia] and ELM [National Liberation Army of Bolivia] been out attacking American targets and killing Americans? They'll blow up oil pipelines, but they shy away from killing Americans. Kurdish Workers Party in Turkey, no compunction about killing Turks in Europe. Very hesitant to kill Americans in Europe or in Turkey. What about Hamas and Hezbollah? Even Hamas with its suicide bomb killing, would kill Americans who happened to be onboard buses, but not because they were Americans. And they reached a point at which, [with] the death of Americans and such, they backed away from the suicide bombing campaign. The only one who's really been consistent with his actions to kill Americans has been bin Laden over the last eight or nine years, and those who have affiliated themselves with him.

Commentary - September 2001
Bin Laden's Strategy, America's Strategy
Steven Metz. Carlisle, PA: US Army War College Strategic Studies Institute Newsletter, September 2001.

[excerpt]  Exploring bin Laden's worldview suggests an important point for American strategy: any actions that contribute to world polarization will be counterproductive. The actual destruction of bin Laden and Al-Qa'ida must thus be America's second strategic priority. The first must be to prevent him from polarizing the world into conflicting camps.

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