Hawks Hawking Strategy

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What’s happened to Mr. Colin Powell? He is barely recognizable! In its Sept.10 issue Time magazine labeled him ironically the missing man: ” Where have you gone Powell?” read the taunt on the cover. Is it not amazing that the man who in 1991 was in charge of the military operations called ” tempest of the desert”, has become today a “dove”? He is said to oppose the extension of the war to Iraq! Is it a joke? Not really, if we are to believe some rumors making of him the defender of the moderate line in Bush’s administration, against the hawks who, either in the Defense or the State Departments are trying to neutralize his “liberal diplomacy”.

Pro-Israeli people inside this administration, as well as Mossad, have been working hard to ensure the implication of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Sept.11 attacks. According to these rumors, Paul Wolfowitz – deputy secretary of defense -, Richard Perle, – former defense official under Reagan-, John Bolton – at State – and others are urging an action against Baghdad! And Powell is quoted as saying: ” Do you want to start World War III”?

Recently, the Israeli deputy defense minister, Dalia Rabin Vilozov, ” revealed” that Iraq is one of the next American targets after Afghanistan, noting that ” the US will inform Israel, in advance, about the attacks on Iraq”! Last Monday, the Israeli defense minister Benjamin Bin Aliazer announced Israel’s readiness to take part in the fighting the US will launch against Iraq!

Trouble is that the offensive against Iraq has not ceased since 1991, unless we call the siege and the no-fly zones ” cooperation with the Iraqi government”! What is all that non-sense? How can reasonable people fool themselves to that extent? But are they really reasonable? Don’t they hear news? No later than Saturday Oct.13, US and British planes attacked targets in the south of Iraq. According to the Iraqi News Agency – confirmed by Reuters- the warplanes ” carried out 11 sorties coming from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and flew over the provinces of Basra, Dhiqar, Muthana and Meisan”. It seems also that Western planes based in Turkey have also flown over northern Iraqi provinces. The Iraqi air-defense fired at them, although no casualties have been reported.

So far, such incidents never surprised the observers. But when one recalls some Arab officials pretending that they are against extending the “fight against terrorism” led by the West to Iraq, one cannot help but wonder: are those people blind or fools? Are they meaning that Iraq is not under attack right now and since years? That’s why they say they will not take part in the military operations within the “anti-terrorist coalition” although they support – to be sure! – the idea! Otherwise, they prefer that the US and GB go alone to “terminate” the ” dirty job” in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and anywhere they want!

And the US and GB seem ready to respond to that “untold message”. American investigators probing anthrax outbreaks in Florida and New York believe, according to The Observer (Oct.14), ” they have all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack, and named Iraq as prime suspect as the source of the deadly spores”.

The same scenario the US and GB have planned for Afghanistan is also available for Iraq. Thus, contacts have been made with Iraqi opposition in London aiming at preparing a government in exile ready to take over after ousting the current regime. This is to mean that a huge offensive against Iraq is possibly under way. To justify it, the US and GB need only to find the links between anthrax, al-Qaeda network, and Baghdad.

This strategy was settled in a September two -day seminar by the hawks gathered around Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, as it seems, and it is not unlikely that they earn Mr. Bush’s ear.

Hichem Karoui is a writer and journalist living in Paris, France.

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