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Wider War Watch -- Antecedents

News - 27 August 2001
"Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud letter to President Bush dated 27 August 2001"
quoted in "Saudi Leader Warns U.S. of 'Separate Interests' "
James M. Dorsey. The Wall Street Journal, 29 October 2001.

[excerpt] ...a time comes when peoples and nations part. We are at a crossroads. It is time for the United States and Saudi Arabia to look at their separate interests. Those governments that don't feel the pulse of the people and respond to it will suffer the fate of the Shah of Iran.

Analysis - August 2001
Jihadi Groups, Nuclear Pakistan, and the new Great Game
M. Ehsan Ahrari. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, August 2001.

[excerpt]  President Clinton...during his brief stopover in Pakistan [in April 2000] urged General help the United States in extraditing Bin Laden from Afghanistan. The Jihadis of Pakistan were furious over Clinton's gall in coming to their country and insulting one of their brethren (Bin Laden), while refusing to put pressure on India regarding Kashmir. Regardless of whether the Jihadist's conclusion about the changing role of the United States in South Asia was correct, the battle lines were drawn. The United States (or at least the Clinton administration) was to be viewed as a friend of India, and essentially anti-Pakistani in its regional predilections.

News & Analysis - 26 June 2001
India in anti-Taliban military plan (26 June 2001).

[excerpt]  Indian foreign secretary Chokila Iyer attended a crucial session of the second Indo-Russian joint working group on Afghanistan in Moscow amidst increase of Taliban's military activity near the Tajikistan border. And, Russia's Federal Security Bureau (the former KGB) chief Nicolai Patroshev is visiting Teheran this week in connection with Taliban's military build-up. Indian officials say that India and Iran will only play the role of "facilitator" while the US and Russia will combat the Taliban from the front with the help of two Central Asian countries, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to push Taliban lines back to the 1998 position... Diplomats say that the anti-Taliban move followed a meeting between US Secretary of State Colin Powel and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and later between Powell and Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh in Washington.
Russia says it has evidence that the Taliban aims to create "liberated zones" all across Central Asia and Russia and links its Chechnya problem to the rise of Taliban fundamentalism. The US is directly hit by the anti-US thrust of Islamic groups who use Afghanistan as their base for terrorism and is demanding extradition of Osama Bin Laden to face trial in the embassy bombing case.

Commentary and Analysis - June 2001
Iraqi Complicity in the World Trade Center Bombing [1993] and Beyond
Laurie Mylroie. Middle East Intelligence Review (June 2001).

[excerpt]  Once Sheikh Omar was arrested, and as the terrorism continued, the new "face of terror" became Osama bin Laden. Fantastic capabilities are regularly ascribed to him. It is rarely asked: How is it possible for one man [to] do all the things that are attributed to him? It is highly probable that Iraqi intelligence is working with bin Laden.

News - 15 March 2001
India joins anti-Taliban coalition
Rahul Bedi. Jane's Intelligence Review, 15 March 2001.

[excerpt]  India is believed to have joined Russia, the USA and Iran in a concerted front against Afghanistan's Taliban regime. Intelligence sources in Delhi said that while India, Russia and Iran were leading the anti-Taliban campaign on the ground, Washington was giving the Northern Alliance information and logistic support. Military sources indicated that Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are being used as bases to launch anti-Taliban operations by India and Russia.

Commentary - 04 February 2001
What Justifies Military Intervention?
Charles Knight. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, presentation given 4 February 2001, Internet publication 27 September 2001.

[excerpt]  Few nations will simply acquiesce to such vast widening of military power differentials; Especially if this is associated with the military activism demonstrated recently by the United States. Other nations will do what they can to narrow the gap. As the fundamental defense of their national sovereignty against an unconstrained and unilaterlist United States becomes more difficult, it will appear increasingly attractive for a number of countries to acquire Weapons of Mass Destruction as the best available means to strategically balance against U.S. military power. In anticipation of this developing strategic situation, the United States has been preparing for what is called "offensive military counter-proliferation," meaning preemptive bombing of facilities in other countries used for developing and making weapons of mass destruction. The new administration is pre-disposed to such military action against Iraq, and I expect we will see a very substantial counter-proliferation raid against Iraq within a few months to a year.

Commentary - Spring 2001
"The Anglosphere Illusion"
Owen Harries. The National Interest, Spring 2001.

[excerpt]  [Great Britain is] the only hegemon that did not attract a hostile coalition against itself. It avoided that fate by showing great restraint, prudence and discrimination in the use of its power in the main political arena--by generally standing aloof and restricting itself to the role of balancer of last resort. In doing so it was heeding the warning given it by Edmund Burke, just as its era of supremacy was beginning:
Among precautions against ambition it may not be amiss to take one precaution against our own. I must fairly say, I dread our own power and our own ambition; I dread our being too much dreaded. . . . We may say that we shall not abuse this astonishing and hitherto unheard of power. But every other nation will think we shall abuse it. It is impossible but that, sooner or later, this state of things must produce a combination against us which may end in our ruin.
I believe that the United States is now in dire need of such a warning. ...I believe that the most useful role that Britain can sensibly play as a friend and ally of the United States is to urge discrimination, prudence and restraint on it. For it is those qualities and only those qualities--not a faith in American exceptionalism--that will in the long run enable the United States to avoid the usual fate of assertive hegemons.

Analysis - December 2000 and January 2001
Barak's "Generous Offers"
maps of the West Bank "peace offers" in December 2000 and January 2001 by the Barak government to the Palestian negotiators, from Gush Shalom.

News and Analysis - 14 August 2000
Bush's Foreign Policy: Like Father, Like Son?
Stan Crock. Business Week, 14 August 2000.
Posted on the Project for a New American Century Website.

[excerpt]  To help oust Saddam Hussein, Wolfowitz has backed using U.S. ground troops to create a staging ground in southern Iraq for that country's dissidents. In contrast, Cheney, Powell, and Rice have preferred more limited goals for deploying troops, which could garner support from a coalition of countries.

Commentary - 14 June 2000
U.S. Military-Strategic Ambitions:  Expanding to Fill the post-Soviet Vacuum
Charles Knight. Cambridge, MA: Commonwealth Institute, 14 June 2000.

[excerpt]  ...there appears to be a growing policy consensus in Washington for preserving by military means the new strategic depth afforded by Soviet collapse and for quasi-unilateralism as the easiest and most reliable way to pursue this strategic objective. In 1998 Charles William Maynes warned in Foreign Policy against the "growing mood of assertiveness" on both sides of the aisle in Washington. He cited an enthusiasm for militarizing U.S. foreign policy and noted that "the surplus of power that the United States enjoys is beginning to metastasize into an arrogance toward others that is bound to backfire." This quest, for what I would characterize as enduring global primacy, will require rising military budgets, especially as other nations eventually organize to counter that primacy which they will view as illegitimate and threatening to the degree that the United States acts unilaterally or in exclusive coalitions as we did in the recent Kosovo war.

Analysis and Commentary - 6 April 2000
"Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid
Jonathan Groner., 6 April 2000.

[excerpt]  There's also the matter of oil -- specifically the desire of international oil companies to build a pipeline from the Caspian oil-producing region (home to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and several other small nations) to serve potentially massive markets in South Asia. The route goes directly through Afghanistan... Oil is important -- but so is geopolitics, including the American desire to play off Afghanistan against Iran; and so are the obvious issues surrounding the oppression of women by the Taliban.

Commentary - Spring 2000
"The Present Danger"
Robert Kagan and William Kristol. The National Interest, Spring 2000.

[excerpt] the post-Cold War era a principal aim of American foreign policy should be to bring about a change of regime in hostile nations. The most effective form of non-proliferation when it comes to regimes such as those in North Korea and Iraq is not continuing efforts to bribe them into adhering to international arms control agreements, but efforts aimed at the demise of the regimes themselves.

Commentary - Spring 2000
"Remembering the Future"
Paul Wolfowitz. The National Interest, Spring 2000.

[excerpt]  Perhaps no Cold War lesson is more important than what can be learned from the remarkable record of the United States in building successful coalitions. This includes lessons about the importance of leadership and what it consists of: not lecturing and posturing and demanding, but demonstrating that your friends will be protected and taken care of, that your enemies will be punished, and that those who refuse to support you will live to regret having done so.

Analysis - January 2000
West Bank, Palestine: Facts on the Ground, January 2000
from the Al Aqsa Intifada, the Defense and the National Interest Website.

Analysis and Commentary - 2000
America's National Interests
Commission on America's National Interests, Washington, DC: The Nixon Center, 2000.

[excerpt]  Summary of US Vital Interests at Stake in the Middle East:
  • That Israel survive as a free state.
  • That there be no major sustained curtailment in energy supplies to the world.
  • That no state in the region hostile to the United States acquire new or additional weapons of mass destruction (WMD) capabilities.

Analysis and Commentary - 2000
"U.S. Grand Strategy: Setting a New Direction"
Zalmay Khalilzad. in Frank Carlucci, Robert Hunter, Zalmay Khalilzad, eds., Taking Charge: A Bipartisan Report to the President Elect on Foreign Policy and National Security, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corp., 2000.

[excerpt]  At present, the United States and many of its allies have essentially "agreed to disagree" over key questions of policy in the region: how to contain Iraq, whether and how to integrate Iran, and how to stop weapon proliferation in the region. These disagreements undermine any coherent policy. Although consensus on such issues will be difficult to achieve, the role of the United States in a system of global leadership would precisely be to forge such a consensus. Although the United States cannot and should not relinquish the role of leader in this region, U.S. policy should be coordinated with its allies, and those allies should do more to assist in providing for security.

Commentary - 18 November 1999
Don't Court Disaster In Iraq
Alan Kuperman. letter to the editor, The Wall Street Journal, 18 November 1999.
Posted on the Commonwealth Institute Website.

[excerpt]  Perhaps the only thing more dangerous than failing to study history is to draw the wrong lessons from it as Joshua Muravchik does in urging the U.S. to foster a military insurgency in Iraq ("Apply the Reagan Doctrine to Iraq," editorial page, Wall Street Journal November 3, 1999). Mr. Muravchik hails the Reagan Doctrine, which in the mid-1980s consisted mainly of supporting four anticommunist and ostensibly pro-democratic insurgencies: UNITA in Angola, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Mujahedin in Afghanistan and the Contras in Nicaragua. The doctrine's net impact world-wide was to foster instability, terrorism and genocide in three conflicts, and to transfer power from one ineffective government to another in the fourth. Despite this motley record, Mr. Muravchik urges reprise of the Reagan Doctrine in Iraq, where it likely would have equally disastrous consequences.
While nobody can be sanguine about someone as ruthless and risk-prone as Saddam Hussein continuing to rule Iraq, for the past eight years U.S. military forces and international sanctions have successfully deterred his external aggression or use of unconventional weapons. To switch now to a policy of fostering insurgency--based on a misreading of history and inappropriate analogies--could transform today's tense but manageable situation into a full-fledged disaster.

Analysis - September 1999
The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism:  Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?
Library of Congress Federal Research Division, September, 1999.

[excerpt]  The number of international terrorist incidents has declined in the 1990s, but the potential threat posed by terrorists has increased. The increased threat level, in the form of terrorist actions aimed at achieving a larger scale of destruction than the conventional attacks of the previous three decades of terrorism, was dramatically demonstrated with the bombing of the WTC. The WTC bombing illustrated how terrorists with technological sophistication are increasingly being recruited to carry out lethal terrorist bombing attacks. The WTC bombing may also have been a harbinger of more destructive attacks of international terrorism in the United States.
Al-Qaida's expected retaliation for the U.S. cruise missile attack against al-Qaida's training facilities in Afghanistan on August 20, 1998, could take several forms of terrorist attack in the nation's capital. Al-Qaida could detonate a Chechen-type building-buster bomb at a federal building. Suicide bomber(s) belonging to al-Qaida's Martyrdom Battalion could crash-land an aircraft packed with high explosives (C-4 and semtex) into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or the White House. Whatever form an attack may take, bin Laden will most likely retaliate in a spectacular way for the cruise missile attack against his Afghan camp in August 1998.

Commentary and Analysis - April 1999
The Southern Eurasian Great Game
Paul Michael Wihbey. Jerusalem: Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, April 1999.

[excerpt]  If we secure the economic independence of the former Soviet republics that border the Caspian, if we strengthen Turkey and neutralize Iran, if we roll back Saddam and cow Asad, we should have no trouble maintaining our alliances in the Persian Gulf.

Analysis - Winter 1998/1999
The Ties That Fray: Why Europe and America are Drifting Apart
Stephen M. Walt. The National Interest, #54, Winter 1998/1999 (.pdf file).
Posted on the Commonwealth Institute Website.

[excerpt]  Our allies also hold profoundly different views on the Middle East peace process and on the proper approach to Castro's Cuba, and they are quietly resentful of the America's penchant for cloaking unilateral action in the rhetoric of "multilateralism."

Historic Record - 16 March 1998
US efforts to make peace summed up by 'oil'
Lara Marlowe. Irish Times (19 November 2001).
Posted on the Centre for Research on Globalisation Website.

[excerpt]  ...the first country to issue an international arrest warrant against bin Laden was not the US, but Moamar Gadafy's Libya, in March 1998. The confidential notice...was sent by the Libyan interior ministry to Interpol on March 16th, 1998, and accuses bin Laden of murdering two German intelligence agents, Silvan Becker and his wife, in Libya in 1994. Bin Laden supported a fundamentalist group called al-Muqatila, made up of Libyans who had fought with him against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Al-Muqatila wanted to assassinate Gadafy, whom it considered an infidel.

Analysis and Commentary - September/October 1997
A geostrategy for Eurasia
Zbigniew Brzezinski. Foreign Affairs, 76:5, September/October 1997.
Posted on the Commonwealth Institute Website.

[excerpt]  Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two of the world's three most economically productive regions, Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's global primacy and historical legacy.

Commentary - 23 January 1997
Inevitable Clashes Between Civilizations?  Don't Believe It
William Pfaff. International Herald Tribune, 23 January 1997.

[excerpt]  [Samuel Huntington] says that the future will bring wars between civilizations, since civilizations have replaced nations as the dominant source of peoples' identity. He has a particular war in mind, between the United States ("the West") and "Islamic civilization," the latter allied with "Confucian" or Sinic civilization (meaning China). He discusses other civilizations in his paradigm, but his focus is on Islam. As the Islamic countries do not as yet produce high-technology weaponry, the threat he foresees is that of Islam armed by China. This obviously is a simple combination and projection into the future of two current preoccupations of the American policy community, Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism, and China's rivalry.

Source - 1996
Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places (English translation)
Usama Bin Muhammad Bin Ladin. Hindukush Mountains, Khurasan, Afghanistan, 23 August 1996.
Posted on the Commonwealth Institute Website.

Historical Record - 18 September 1995
Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs in Iraq
Charles A. Duelfer. Testimony before the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats & Capabilities, Armed Services Committee of the U.S. Senate, 27 February 2002.

[excerpt]  On September 18, 1995, I had a long, late night meeting with several senior Iraqi ministers and other officials. The meeting was arranged to discuss the Iraqi concepts and requirements for their WMD development and production programs. Previously, Baghdad had refused to engage in such a discussion. I remember the meeting quite well, not simply because there was an unusual amount of candor, but because I suddenly realized how unlikely it was that the government would ever comply fully with the UN demand to completely give up all WMD capabilities forever. Consequently, the UNSCOM inspectors had an ultimately hopeless task under the conditions it was permitted to operate. Iraq revealed that evening how weapons of mass destruction were viewed from the position of the Presidency. (They even provided selected presidential documents.) Partial descriptions of the origin of WMD efforts were discussed. They also discussed how these programs had been used and their importance to the regime.
In essence, the possession of WMD had saved the regime on two occasions. The first was in the war with Iran in the 1980's when Iranian human wave infantry attacks were repelled with chemical munitions (UNSCOM learned that 101,000 were reported "consumed" during this period). The second instance where WMD preserved the regime was more surprising. I had asked about the decision by the Iraqi leadership not to employ WMD in the 1991 Gulf War. In a carefully worded response, the impression was conveyed that the President thought if Iraq used chemical or biological weapons against the coalition, retaliation would end his regime and probably him personally. He was successfully deterred. However, my interlocutors went on to describe how they had loaded BW and CW agent into various missile warheads and bombs before hostilities began in 1991. Moreover they dispersed these weapons and pre-delegated the authority to use them if the United States moved on Baghdad. The Iraqis stated that these actions apparently deterred the United States from going to Baghdad.
Whether the Iraqi leadership believes this was the only reason the United States did not go to Baghdad in 1991 is unknown. However, clearly they are convinced that the possession of WMD contributed to keeping the Americans away and thus was vital to their survival. The Iraqi WMD programs, which were begun in the mid-1970's, and consumed large material and human resources throughout the 1980's were well worth the investment from the perspective of the leadership.

Analysis and Commentary - 28 November 1994
Royal Mess
Leslie and Andrew Cockburn. The New Yorker, 28 November 1994.

Source - 2 November 1989
"Draft Memorandum of Law 'Subject: Assassination' "
Judge Advocate General, Dept. of the Army. unclassified. released by the National Security Archive 18 September 2001.

[excerpt]  The purpose of Executive Order 12333 and its predecessors was to preclude unilateral actions by individual agents or agencies against selected foreign public officials, as allegedly had occurred prior to the promulgation of this prohibition. A national decision to employ military force in self defense against a legitimate terrorist threat would not be unlike that employed in response to an overt conventional threat; only the nature of the threat has changed, rather than the international legal right to respond to the threat. Whether the threat is by conventional force or by terrorists, a military response in defense of the national security of the United States would not constitute assassination.

Historical Record - 1987-1989
US agents told: Back off bin Ladens
Sidney Morning Herald, 07 November 2001.

The former head of the American visa bureau in Jeddah from 1987 to 1989, Michael Springman, told the program [BBC2 Newsnight 07 November 2001]: "In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high-level State Department officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants. People who had no ties either to Saudi Arabia or to their own country. I complained there. I complained here in Washington to Main State, to the inspector-general and to Diplomatic Security and I was ignored. What I was doing was giving visas to terrorists - recruited by the CIA and Osama bin Laden to come back to the United States for training to be used in the war in Afghanistan against the then Soviets."

Historical Record - 3 July 1979
Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski
Le Nouvel Observateur (15-21 January 1998), translated by William Blum.

Q: The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs "From the Shadows", that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahedin in Afghanistan 6 months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski:  Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahedin began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Commentary - 1965
We Seek No Wider War
Phil Ochs.

And the evil is done in hopes that evil surrenders
but the deeds of the devil are burned too deep in the embers
and a world of hunger in vengeance will always remember
So please be reassured, we seek no wider war, we seek no wider war.

Commentary and Analysis - 1962
Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society
Student for a Democratic Society, 1962.

[excerpt] Our own intentions, once clearly retaliatory, are now ambiguous since the President has indicated we might in certain circumstances be the first to use nuclear weapons. We can expect that [our adversary] will become more anxious herself, and perhaps even prepare to "preempt" us, and we (expecting the worst from [our adversary]) will nervously consider "preemption" ourselves. The symmetry of threat and counter-threat lead not to stability but to the edge of hell.

Source - 18 July 1956
Forbidden Conduct with Respect to Persons
"The Law of Land Warfare", U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10 (FM1-04.10), section 2.31, 18 July 1956 (revised 1976).

HR [Hague Regulations] provides: "It is especially forbidden to kill or wound treacherously individuals belonging to the hostile nation or army." (HR, art. 23, par. (b).)
This article is construed as prohibiting assassination, proscription, or outlawry of an enemy, or putting a price upon an enemy's head, as well as offering a reward for an enemy "dead or alive". It does not, however, preclude attacks on individual soldiers or officers of the enemy whether in the zone of hostilities, occupied territory, or elsewhere.

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