The USA v Iraq v Y2k (long) - Two Perspectives : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

This is a long post but worth persevering with. I'm afraid I don't have links for these. Saddam, as usual, is calling the shots.

PERSPECTIVE ONE +++++++++++++++

From STRATFOR inc. 504 Lavaca, Suite 1100 Austin, TX 78701 Phone: 512-583-5000 Fax: 512-583-5025 Internet: Global Intelligence Update Red Alert November 11, 1998

Anti-Saddam Coalition Builds, While Military Options Remain Inadequate

Amid much conjecture about military action against Iraq, following Baghdad's suspension of UNSCOM monitoring, a key U.S. ally in the region has now hinted that it may support another Desert Storm against Iraq. On November 10, the Saudi newspaper, "Al-Bilad" wrote:

"Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is misinterpreting the stand taken by Arab countries which have stated several times that they oppose any action against the Iraqi people. (The Iraqi leadership) must understand that nobody can prevent a military strike on Iraq if such action is approved by the UN Security Council. Support for the Iraqi people does not mean Iraq will be able to escape its commitments to the UN and halt cooperation with arms inspectors. The ideal solution for the Iraqi regime to avoid another Desert Storm would be to accept totally the demands of the UN."

This mention by a major Saudi newspaper of another possible U.S.- led invasion of Iraq through Saudi territory dramatically changes the equation in the current U.S.-Iraq standoff. During U.S. Defense Secretary Cohen's visit last week to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in search of support, Saudi's King Fahd reportedly rejected any use of Saudi airbases in the event of a military strike on Iraq. However, on November 6, NBC news reported that "despite a public statement from Saudi Arabia that it's soil would be off-limits in the event of further strikes on Iraq, privately the Saudis said that support operations (refueling, supply and maintenance operations) could be mounted from Prince Sultan Airbase." This report, likely generated by Cohen's entourage, was the first indication that there might be some flexibility in the Saudi position. The Al-Bilad story confirms the shift.

What is the driving force behind the Saudi change of heart? The answer is -- as in all Persian Gulf matters -- oil. A combination of factors, including the Asian economic crisis, has caused a glut in world oil supplies. The resulting decline in oil prices has severely damaged oil-dependent economies. Saudi Arabia has been doubly hurt by the price drop and the Asian economic collapse, as Saudi Aramco had bet heavily on Asia. Yet despite efforts by other OPEC members and even some non-OPEC countries to reduce global crude oil production, Iraqi production has continued and even gradually increased. Military action against Iraq would undoubtedly have one desirable effect. It would probably boost oil prices in the short run, and if sustained, could force Iraqi oil off the market. This prospect cannot but help please the Saudis.

The United States appears to have broken through the isolation we described last weekend. If Saudi Arabia is prepared to view a new Desert Storm with equanimity, the U.S. may have some real military options. Of course, the Saudi news report indicated that the use of Saudi territory is contingent on a vote of the UN Security Council approving military action. So far, the British, the U.S. have been alone in supporting some military action, while France and Russia have vehemently opposed this option. However, things are changing there as well. On November 10, Agence France Presse cited French Foreign Ministry spokesman Francois Rivasseau as saying, "We are not ruling out any response. Military strikes are an option." This leaves Russia as essentially the only country completely opposed to the "military option" against Iraq. We think that it is extremely unlikely that Moscow will change its position.

The U.S. currently has about 13 warships in the Gulf, including a carrier air wing aboard the USS Eisenhower. This number should reach 25 within the next ten days, including the USS Enterprise Battle Group and another Marine Expeditionary Unit. This would mean that the U.S. would have an "afloat force" of 140 aircraft and the capability to launch 200-300 Tomahawk missiles. Additionally, the U.S. has numerous aircraft stationed in Turkey and throughout the rest of the region. The U.S. also has 1,600 troops in Kuwait and 1,000 troops in Saudi Arabia, with equipment for another 6,000-9,000 troops pre-positioned in Kuwait and Qatar. This is enough for a series of hard air strikes against Iraq, but not for a sustained air campaign, and certainly not for offensive ground operations.

So far two options appear to be on the table. One is a limited strike against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) targets. The other would be a limited air campaign against a wider array of strategic targets, including valuable economic assets. The former strategy depends on U.S. intelligence sources. How confident is the United States that it knows the precise location of Iraqi NBC targets? The paradox of precision guided munitions is that the thing that makes them most valuable, precision, demands levels of intelligence that are frequently beyond the ability of intelligence services to deliver with extremely high levels of confidence. The ability to hit a given room in a building requires that you know what room to hit.

The other strategy would be a more sustained air campaign within the limits of available aircraft and logistical support. This sort of attack would go beyond NBC sites to attacks on command and control facilities or key industrial infrastructure, such as Iraq's power grid. The problem is that Saddam has faced these air strikes before. He can absorb the punishment or end it, simply by agreeing to allow inspectors in. In other words, Saddam has the ability to turn U.S. air strikes on and off, without actually making any substantial concessions.

There is an interesting aspect on the ground. Saddam's forces appear to be deployed in defensive positions anticipating air attacks rather than ground attacks. A ground attack would catch them poorly deployed. But a ground attack would require substantially more time to mount and, most important, could lead to substantial casualties. Moreover, with commitments in the former Yugoslavia and Korea, this is not a time for an imbalanced commitment of ground forces. Interestingly, the U.S. shifted 18 A-10s to the region. These are primarily close air support weapons for armored and mechanized forces. Now, 18 are not enough to support a major ground offensive, but they would be very useful for limited engagements or to deter Iraqi ground attacks following air strikes. So, the U.S. is clearly thinking about the situation on the ground right now.

The U.S. is in a paradoxical position. The political situation appears to be improving dramatically for the United States. Apart from Russia, a coalition in favor of military operations appears to be developing both globally and regionally. The Russian opposition is not trivial, and while it will not effect Iraq here and now, it will have long term repercussions. The problem is that the military options that appear available are simply not substantial enough to deter Saddam. More important, if Saddam becomes concerned, a simple announcement accepting inspections will be sufficient to turn off the air strikes, even if Saddam later manipulates and reneges on his promise.

This is the key problem. Even with political support and decisive military options, Saddam is in control of events. He can create crises. He can abort crises. The very geometry of the relationship is asymmetric. The U.S. cannot deliver a decisive blow against Saddam, nor can it disengage. This means that Saddam can control U.S. behavior. Increasing the political coalition's cohesiveness merely reemphasizes the military limitations on the U.S., as well as showing that, regardless of support, Saddam is in control of the situation.

PERSPECTIVE TWO - Y2K ANALOGY +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

From the Y2K Weatherman SUPREME DECEPTION The following is an editorial "special edition" of Y2KNEWSWIRE on the eve of the potential bombing of Iraq. If you've just joined Y2KNewswire, realize this is not how we normally report Y2K news.

Y2K has everything to do with Iraq. Why? Because as American citizens, we're being lied to on both counts.

If you've seen the news recently, you've seen the calls to send supplies to Honduras where over 10,000 people have died from the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. What you *haven't* heard is a call to send supplies to Iraq, where over 70,000 children under the age of five are dying each year, where over 1.5 million civilians have died from the U.S.-imposed sanctions. Where an entire generation is being denied pens, chalk, and books, seemingly in an effort to wipe out the culture as a whole.

This is madness, and the level of madness just goes to show you that governments don't act rationally. All this has taken place in an effort to remove one man from power: Saddam Hussein. Would the United States enable the death of 1.5 million civilians in an effort to remove one man from power? Yes, they would. They did. It's happening right now.

Well, as one of the writers here at Y2KNEWSWIRE, I've seen deception. I've watched government officials look the American public in the eye and deliberately spill forth bold-faced lies about the Year 2000 problem. I've seen John Kroskinen tell the American people everything is basically OK, and then the very next day, I get a field report from someone working in Kansas City who is unloading *hundreds* of tons of military meals being stockpiled in the caves there by the federal government. And I'm fed up with the deception. Lets send some medicine and vitamins to the Iraqi children for a change. You can't make bombs from band-aids, after all, and the continued suffering of these civilians serves no purpose whatsoever.

As Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General, said, "There is one crime against humanity in this last decade of the millennium that exceeds all others in its magnitude, cruelty and portent. It is the US-forced sanctions against the twenty million people of Iraq... If the UN participates in such genocidal sanctions backed by the threat of military violence --and if the people of the world fail to prevent such conduct -- the violence, terror and human misery of the new millennium will exceed anything we have known."

Here are a few of the items Iraqi citizens are being denied by the U.S.-backed sanctions: * baking soda * batteries * books * candles * chalk * cloth * forks * hats * ink * light bulbs * napkins * pens * sandals * shampoo * soap * shirts * toothbrushes * trash cans * wood

.. and the list goes on and on. You can read it yourself at:

If you'd like to send supplies to some people who are flying over to Iraq, and *really* save some lives, you can pack up medicine and vitamins and send them to a group in Chicago that is working to end the suffering of the civilian population there. Pack up medicines and vitamins, and make sure you don't send anything that will expire soon, and send to: Voices in the Wilderness, 1460 West Carmen Ave. Chicago, IL 60640 ph: 773-784-8065; fax: 773-784-8837

Or visit the web site:

You should note that the United States has threatened these people with up to 12 years in prison and $1 million in fines for bringing medicine into Iraq, and yet they continue to fly there, working to save the lives of children, and putting their own lives at risk. While the United States thinks they are criminals, I think these people are humanitarians and deserve your support. You can hate Saddam Hussain all you want, and yes, he's a bastard, but that doesn't mean that we as a nation have to stand by and do nothing while children starve to death. Last time I checked, Saddam's Army wasn't using five-year-olds as troops.

WHAT THIS HAS TO DO WITH Y2K What's going on here demonstrates the level of manipulation of the American people by the media and our government. We have been distracted from the genocide taking in place in Iraq and encouraged to look at Honduras and Nicaragua instead. While the images of starving citizens in Bosnia a few years back were plastered all over the press, the images of starving children in Iraq are non-existent. Why? Because the people in charge don't really want to remind the American people that 70,000 children are dying in Iraq, not allowed to have even sandals, not allowed to read books or have ink. We Americans are all but oblivious to what's happening. To help the Iraqi people isn't "politically correct."

If the American people can be manipulated to ignore this, they can also be manipulated to ignore the threat of Y2K. And that's exactly what's happening right now. While the federal government stockpiles military rations in the caves of Kansas City, they are simultaneously telling the public that everything is fine. There is no need to prepare, they say. In fact, John Kroskinen, Clinton's Y2K czar, even said that preparing for Y2K would be a "disruption" to families. (This was on ABC's Nightline, just a few weeks ago.)

We're facing a very dangerous situation here. If the White House continues to tell the American public that no preparations are necessary, any real shutdown of critical elements of society will result in a dramatically-increased number of deaths. While the State of California routinely encourages residents to buy "earthquake preparedness kits," and the State of Florida encourages citizens to routinely prepare for hurricanes, our federal government is busy telling people to ignore the Y2K threat completely. "Everything is fine," they say.

Last night, Secretary of Defense William Cohen said that Saddam Hussein has a responsibility to meet "his obligations" under the U.N. security council. Isn't it reasonable that the President of the United States has an obligation to warn people about the potential disruption in food supplies (and the potential for panic buying) as we approach January 1, 2000?

Or should the American people just be left in the dark on this?

Pray for the Iraqi citizens tonight. The United States is about to bomb them into the 1700's. (They're already living in the 1800's.)

Links: Campaign to end the economic sanctions against the people of Iraq

A BRILLIANT PLAN The scary part of all this is how this campaign angers the entire Arab world. These people are fed up with this behavior by the United States, and while the truth about Iraqi children starving to death doesn't get much airtime here in the United States, it gets PLENTY of it in the Middle East. We are fast approaching a very dangerous scenario where the U.S. military may be left vulnerable by the Y2K problem but the military of Iraq (and lone terrorist groups) will be entirely unaffected. After all, Iraq is living in the 1800's today. They won't even notice the Millennium Bug.

Furthermore, this action by the United States, combined with the recent bombing in Sudan, is giving Arab nations the justification they need to bring biological weapons to the United States and set them off. The level of anger currently held by these people is hardly imaginable to us. Some terrorist groups not only relish the very idea of blowing themselves up (if they can take a few hundred American lives with them), they believe it spiritually elevates them to deity status.

Now you have this combination of events: the U.S. angering Arab nations through savage economic sanctions and the bombing of factories, the rising anger of the Arab world against the United States, the easy availability of both nuclear and biological weapons, and the Millennium Bug that will likely leave the United States vulnerable to attacks and, probably, unable to coordinate any kind of fast reaction or defense.

These are the ingredients of disaster. This is the makings of a giant batch of "OOPS Stew." And in the midst of all this, as we slowly watch these ingredients congeal, the White House continues its line of "no big problem" while readying yet another bombing campaign on Iraq.

I have to wonder: at what point will sanity intervene?

- Webmaster

Why was Saddam not "taken out" after the Gulf War? Because the USA did not *want* to for it's own nefarious reasons. It makes no sense that the job was not finished properly therefore it was must have been more expedient for the USA to have the situation play out as it has. Why is the USA starving 20 million people in order to cause "pain" to one man - Saddam? Amazing, Christian foreign policy don't you think?

Similarly why the generally deafening silence from the likes of Clinstone and Bore on the Y2K issue?. Again it's more expedient for TPTB to not say a damn thing.

Can anyone shed some light on these "policies"???

-- Andy (, November 13, 1998


This has nothing to do with "Christian" foreign policy. The U.N. and it's supporters (including Clinton and the other New World Order proponents) have a very evil and satanic agenda... namely world power. Yes, Saddam is equally evil... but there are ulterior motives to direct attention to the middle east...perhaps to stir up terrorism so that our government can justify all the military pre- parations going on at the local level.

Texas A & M is one of several U.S locations to begin training for terrorism. Local police forces across the country are being trained for martial law as well.

Why is it the U.N. doesn't insist on inspecting Russia's nuclear missile locations? You can be sure that they haven't disarmed their quota.

I believe that Clinton will use this military opportunity with Iraq to extend his term in office...before he throws his hat in for presidency of the N.W.O.

Texas Terri

-- Texas Terri (, November 13, 1998.

The Academy of Enemy Evaluators


This half-decade the nominees are:

May I have the envelope please.....

Go to The Onion, my favorite web site ( best for hard hitting satire in the news...find article from last couple weeks about the US state department auditioning enemies..and how hard things are in the war business since the "end" of the Cold War.

Spend time preparing to thrive beyond 2000, and stop paying attention to all the sham/bogus govt/military distractions.

-- Donna Barthuley (, November 13, 1998.

Stop blaming the US for the actions of the Hitler-incarnate Saddam. He and his country were offered a deal-allow weapons inspections and, after a punishment period, sanctions would be lifted. True to his asshole form, he has reneged on the bargain. The right thing to do would be to assassinate him and spare the Iraqi population, but the liberals (careful-I think I am one!) outlawed that option years ago. I personally think that Bagdad should have been nuked 8 years ago when this sh*t fist started. We would probably be rid of that potential anti-Christ had that happened.

As for the Hondurans, I donated $50 to them last night after being prompted by an ad on TV (an 800 number that claims they give 80% to the cause). After going through Hugo myself, I think they deserve it. I do not think that the followers of Saddam deserve anything from the US except a one-way ticket to Allah (on the flaming death train as Paul Milne likes to say).

In any case, Y2K is getting ready to level the playing field for all concerned.

-- a (a@a.a), November 13, 1998.

Given that the Iraqi media is controlled by the regime, and the slightest dissent earns the dissenter (and often his family) torture and death, it seems rash to charge the entire Iraqi population with supporting Saddam.

Given Saddam's uninterrupted history of cheating on any and all agreements, allowing unrestricted shipment of food and medicine (as recommended in one message above) would guarantee his procurement of the components of nuclear weapon triggers. And it would take the strictest outside supervision to insure that the food and medicine was distributed where it counts.

I have observed above ground tests of atomic bombs (in Nevada) from relative close range (3 to 7 miles, depending on yield.) If Saddam can assemble functional nuclear weapons, he is unlikely to let them rust away in storage. If he uses them locally, the United States will certainly be drawn into the conflict. If we're in it, who's to say how far it will spread? WW3 would be smoldering in the basement, ready to happen. Then we'll all be seeing these mushroom clouds.

I hate it when that happens.

I note on tonight's local news (Atlanta area) elements of 3rd Infantry Div. are staging to go over there. Air strikes don't need infantry support.

-- Tom Carey (, November 14, 1998.

a's analysis of this situation is juvenile and profoundly ignorant. Sure, Saddam is an "asshole", show me a head of state who isn't. a's thoughtless, parochial cheerleading might be appropriate for the sportsfield, but it is drastically out of place in international relations. The US initiated sanctions have killed over a million innocent people - how can anyone approve of that? As for assasinating Sadam, this would break what I guess is an unspoken code; leaders aren't that hard to kill (I guess), it would start a nasty precedent if one state were to do this to another. Iraq has bleen blown to smithereens, (including nuclear reactors being bombed -don't remember seeing that on CNN,) and faced 8 years of deadly sanctions. Post WW2 Germany and Japan were helped to rebuild immediately, and those countries had done some genuinely evil things during and up to the war. Iraq did invade Kuwait, which is not kosher, but the Kuwaiti's slant-drilling of oil from Iraq is better justification for war than many that have been offered over the ages. Don't listen to warmongers who say they have the moral authority to do what they do...morality never enters the equation for these types, power is all that matters to them. I wonder what the meteor shower might do to usa-tan's ability to fight?

-- humpty dumpty (i', November 14, 1998.

News flash for humpty: WE DONT LIVE IN A PERFECT WORLD. When decisions regarding military action are made by our leaders, we can choose to go along with them or protest. My point is, in this case, protest is not justified. And unless you are ready and willing to haul your butt to the dessert and take a few rounds of Iraqi lead (or worse), quit being so sanctimonious about the use of nuclear weapons. They will be used eventually, count on it. One nuke dropped on that godforsaken place and the problem is solved. After all, it sure seemed to work with the Japanese now, didn't it?

-- a (a@a.a), November 14, 1998.

These posts comparing the plight of the Iraqis with the Hondourans disgust me. They are not destitute and they could rise against their leader if they wanted to. Germans made the same mistake under Hitler. From CNN: "There are stockpiles of food and medicines inside Iraq, so there is not going to be an immediate shortage," he told reporters. "But we will have to see what steps need to be taken," he said, adding that the Security Council's sanctions committee on Iraq had called a meeting on the issue.

The oil-for-food program allows Iraq to export $5.256 billion of oil every six months in order to buy necessities for its people, suffering under eight-year-old U.N. trade sanctions.

From CNN, this morning:

Iraq backs down, agrees to resume weapons inspections

(CNN) -- Iraq agreed on Saturday to resume cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors and the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Saddam is playing us like a damn yo-yo. Wake up people. We cannot economically or ideologically afford this game of cat and mouse. Either: A. nuke him B. Tomahawk every location banned from inspectors 24-hours later C. Leave him alone and let him finish building his NBC arsenal. Then he will nuke us.

-- a (a@a.a), November 14, 1998.

a@a.a, your opinions motivate me to do even more to prepare for the effects of Y2K. I am not concerned about defending my family from Arabs or Chinese as much as hungry jokers like you who believe they understand the world situation just because you (they) can read. You have not filtered the garbage out. Thanks for the reminder.

-- lurker2 (, November 14, 1998.

Weeellll you can't be right all the time - this was issued by STRATFOR on the 2nd of November...

Global Intelligence Update Red Alert November 3, 1998

Mid-East States Prepare Regional Response to Iraq

Though basically a formality, on November 2, the Iraqi Parliament announced its approval of Saddam Hussein's decision not to allow the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM) to continue its inspections of Iraqi weapons sites. The Parliament also called on other Arab nations to support the Iraqi position in denouncing UNSCOM's weapons inspections. While they may not be ready to heed Iraq's call, a flurry of diplomatic activity between several Middle Eastern nations suggests that they are finally preparing a regional answer to the long-running Iraqi crisis.

The U.S. responded to the recent crisis exactly as it has in the past, condemning Iraq, insisting that nothing short of full compliance is acceptable, conferring with allies, and hinting strongly at the possibility of using unilateral military force against Iraq. Baghdad, in turn, announced that it did not fear U.S. threats, since the U.S. has been threatening Iraq for eight years. But Iraq's neighbors, seeing this latest and now almost formulaic crisis brewing, have apparently already begun to write a new script. On October 22, Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al- Sharaa delivered a message to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak from Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, the contents of which were not disclosed. On November 1, Assad himself flew to Egypt to discuss security concerns, including Syrian-Turkish tension and the Wye River accord. Syria also discussed the situation in the Middle East and expanding bilateral cooperation with Iran on October 24, when Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi traveled to Syria.

This week, Saudi Defense Minister Prince Sultan ibn Abdel Aziz began a three-day visit to Egypt. The Prince will meet with Mubarak to discuss regional issues and military cooperation during his stay. Later this week, Kharrazi is scheduled deliver a message from Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Saudi Arabia. Kharrazi will reportedly discuss bilateral relations and cooperation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as regional problems, during his two-day working visit to Riyadh.

This flurry of diplomatic activity between Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh, broadly focused on regional security and occurring in the runup to the latest U.S.-Iraq confrontation, could be but a continuation of the movement toward a regional security alliance that we were tracking earlier this summer. However, it becomes more interesting in light of an additional Iranian diplomatic initiative. Last week, Iranian commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari visited Iraq to discuss trade development. On November 2, Tehran announced that Kharrazi will pay a visit to Baghdad in the near future. The date for the trip has not been announced, but Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Sadr told the Tehran Times that after Kharazi's trip, Iranian First Vice-President Hassan Habibi would travel to Iraq. Habibi would be the most senior Iranian official to travel to Iraq since the Iranian revolution.

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, and Syria began to discuss the idea of a regional security body, a kind of Arab-Persian "NATO," following the anti-climactic conclusion of the last major U.S.- Iraq standoff in February. Faced with what looks like another such confrontation, that process may be reaching fruition. That being the case, the meeting of the foreign ministers of the Damascus Declaration countries, scheduled for November 11-12, may be the event to watch. The Damascus Declaration was signed in March 1991, immediately after the Gulf War, by the eight Arab member states of the coalition that drove Iraq from Kuwait. One of the main features of the accord, which has yet to be implemented, was to have been security cooperation. The agenda for next week's meeting of Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates includes cooperation, the Mid-East peace process, Iraq, Iran, the Syrian- Turkish crisis, and terrorism. Judging from the pre-conference diplomacy, we expect the participants to emerge from the meeting with some substantial initiatives, and perhaps a new regional security arrangement.

The question then becomes what position will they take on Iraq? First, they could emerge prepared for another U.S. led effort to finally oust Saddam. Judging by growing regional dissatisfaction with U.S. policies and behavior, Washington's unreliability in these crises, and Iran's overtures to Iraq, this scenario is unlikely. Support for sanctions against Iraq showed signs of flagging after China, Russia, and France called for ending the embargo last week. With international resolve on sanctions fading, the U.S. is also losing international support and political will for a military option in Iraq.

More likely, expecting little of the U.S., the Damascus Declaration countries and Iran are preparing their own policy toward Iraq. Based on the current balance of forces, it is not likely to involve a coordinated attack on Iraq, but rather some form of containment and gradual acceptance of Iraq back into the Gulf community.

Iran, Syria, Egypt, and the Saudis recognize that the chance of military intervention in Iraq is decreasing, and as a result the balance of power is again shifting in the region. This is forcing Iraq's neighbors to examine and redefine their positions. They are preparing to take matters into their own hands, and as they do not appear prepared to use military force against Iraq themselves, then reconciliation with Iraq has become a definite possibility. Interestingly enough, this sentiment is growing even within Kuwait, and was last voiced by a Kuwaiti strategist at a seminar on Gulf security held last month. Sami al-Faraj reportedly said, "If we still consider our neighbor a pest, isn't it wise to put an end to this by directing the attention of this neighbor to the common interests that bring us together."

This may be the last post-Gulf War U.S.-Baghdad crisis, for however Washington resolves this crisis, it is likely to solidify the nascent regional alliance. If Washington backs down once again, then the Damascus Declaration countries and Iran know that they have no further use for the U.S. in the region. If the U.S. strikes at Iraq inconclusively, they will draw the same conclusion. And if the U.S., against all odds, succeeds in unilaterally driving out Saddam Hussein, then the backlash against U.S. hegemony could itself help forge the regional alliance. In the end, we may soon see the birth of a new order in the Middle East.

-- Andy (, November 14, 1998.

ok ok I guess I was guys have convinced me that the next world war is going to be fought with bean bags and sticky foam...silly me for thinking that Iraq/North Korea/et al had any intentions of unleashing the nuclear genie.

Lurker, since you are so intelligent and well read, why not post a diatribe that spells out your solution to this dilemma?

-- a (a@a.a), November 15, 1998.

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