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14/03/03


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Perang Iraq - Dirancang di Israel 

http://www.currentconcerns.ch/archive/20030102.php 


Stephen J. Sniegoski (*), USA

Dalam satu artikel di dalam The American Conservative yang mengkritik alasan serangan Amerika ke atas Iraq, ahli sejarah diplomatik veteran  Paul W. Schroeder hanya menyentuh secara ringkas 'mungkin sebab dan motif yang tidak diberitahu di sebalik polisi ini - keselamatan untuk Israel.' Jika keselamaran Israel merupakan motif sebenar kenapa Amerika ingin menyerang, Shroeder menambah : 'Seakat yang saya tahu, ia mewakili sesuatu yang unik dalam sejarah. Memang biasa bagi kuasa besar untuk mencuba berprang menggunakan wakilnya ('proxy'), dengan menyebabkan negara kecil berperang bagi kepentingannya. Kali ini pertama kali setakat yang saya tahu sebuah kuasa besar (malahan kuasa 'super') berperang bagi pihak negara yang lebih kecil. Terdapatkah bukti Israel dan para penyokongnya telah berjaya membuatkan Amerika berperang bagi pihaknya?

Salahguna peristiwa Sept 11

Untuk mengetahui motif-motif sebenar perang Iraq, seseorang itu perlu bertanya soalan yang penting: Bagaimana serangan pengganas pada Sept 11 menjurus kepada perang Iraq, dimana tiada bukti dikaitkan ia terlibat dalam serangan itu? Kita boleh lihat sejak dari serangan Sept 11, golongan konservatif baru, yang kebanyakannya (walaupun bukan semua) dianggotai oleh orang berbangsa Yahudi dan mereka yang simpati kepada Zionist, telah cuba menggunakan serangan Sept 11 untuk memerangi keganasan dunia, yang kebetulannya bersamaan dengan musuh-musuh Israel. 

Golongan konservatif-baru dan Israel

Walaupun panggilan konservatif baru (neocon) biasa digunakan, penerangan ringkas mengenai kumpulan ini mungkin membantu pemahaman kita. Ramai dari generasi pertama konsevatif baru ini asalnya orang Democrat yang liberal, atau sosialis dan Marxists, dan juga Trotskyites. Mereka berubah ke haluan kanan pada tahun 1960an dan 1970an sebagai Democratic Party dan berganding bahu dengan gerakan anti perang McGovernite yang berhaluan kiri. Dan perhatian kepada Israel menjadi satu agenda utama bersama perubahan itu. Seperti ahli sains politik, Benjamin Ginsberg katakan: 'Satu faktor utama yang mengubah mereka ke haluan kanan ialah simpati mereka kepada Israel dan meningkatnya kekecewaan dengan parti Democratic pada tahun 1960an yang membantah kesediaan ketenteraan Amerika dan peningkatan simpati kepada hal-hal berkaitan negara dunia ketiga  (contohnya Hak asasi orang Palestine). Melalui gerakan anti-komunis di era Reagan, komitmen kepada kekuatan persenjataan Amerika, dan kesediaan untuk masuk campur secara politik dan ketenteraan dalam hal-ehwal negara lain demi demokrasi (dan kepentingan Amerika), konservatif baru menemui gerakan politik yang boleh menjamin keselamatan Israel.'2

Perang keatas Iraq berpunca di Israel?

Puak konservatif baru ini telah mencadangkan perang Amerika ke atas Iraq sebelum tragedi Sept 11, 2001 lagi. Serangan 9/11 telah memerikan mereka alasan untuk meneruskan niat itu. Idea yang mendakwa puak konservatif baru yang berada di sebalik tabir perang ini telah disuarakan oleh beberapa orang pengkritik. Contohnya, Joshua Micah Marshall menulis artikel di dalam The Washington Monthly berjudul: 'Bomkan Saddam?: Bagaimana ketaksuban beberapa orang penting dari puak konservatif baru menjadi matlamat utama polisi luar negara Amerika.' Dan Kathleen dan Bill Christison menulis di dalam e-journal berhaluan kiri CounterPunch: 'Dakwaan bahawa perang dengan Iraq dirancang di Israel, atau dicadangkan oleh penggubal polisi yang mahu membentuk keadaan yang selamat kepada Israel, amat kuat (kebenarannya-sic).  Ramai penganalisa Israel percayakannya. Pengkritik Israel Akiva Eldar baru-baru ini secara terbuka dalam satu ruangan di dalam Ha'aretz berkata Perle, Feith, dan ahli strategi yang lain "bertindak secara berhati-hati untuk memenuhi ketaatan mereka kepada kerajaan Amerika dan kepentingan Israel.' Cadangan ujudnya ketaatan kepada dua pihak tidak dibincang secara terbuka dalam akhbar Israel, tidak seperti di Amerika. Pejuang keamanan Uri Avnery, yang amat mengenali PM Israel Ariel Sharon telah menulis bahawa Sharon telah sejak sekian lama merancang rancangan besar untuk mengubah struktur Asia Tengah dan 'angin sedang bertiup do Washington yang mengingatkan saya kepada Sharon. Saya tiada bukti bahawa Bush mendapatkan idea-idea darinya (Sharon-sic). Tetapi gayanya amat sama.' 3

Di dalam tulisan berikut, usaha dilakukan untuk membentuk thesis dan menunjukkan kaitan di antara pendirian perang neocon (puak konservatif baru) dan strategi puak haluan kanan Israel, kalau pun bukan dari puak utama Israel sendiri. Yang penting, cadanga perang Asia Tengah telah lama dicadangkan di Israel bertujuan untuk meningkatkan keselamatan Israel, yang berkisar kepada penyelesaian akhir masalah Palestine.

Pembuangan Rakyat Palestin: 'Apa yang tidak dapat diterima pada saat normal adalah munasabah pada masa revolusi'.

Untuk memahami kenapa pemimpin Israel mahukan perang Asia Tengah, kita perlu melihat sejarah pergerakan Zionist dan tujuan-tujuannya secara sepintas lalu. DIsebalik apa yang disuarakan kepada umum, idea untuk menghalau rakyat Palestin (dipanggil dengan lebih lunak sebagai 'pindah') adalah sebahagian dari usaha Zionist untuk membentuk negara kebangsaan Yahudi di Palestine. 'Idea untuk perpindahan telah wujud bersama gerakan Zionist sejak awal lagi, pertama kali muncul dalam diari Theodore Herzl,' menurut pengamayan ahli sejarah Tom Segev. 'Dari segi tindakannya, puak Zionis mula melakukan perpindahan secara kecil-kecilan sejak dari masa mereka membeli tanah dan menghalau penyewa-penyewa rumah Arab.... ''Melenyapkan" bangsa Arab memang menjadi impian utama puak Zionis, dan dianggap sebagai syarat penting untuk meneruskan keujudan mereka...Melainkan sedikit dari kalangan mereka, tiada seorang pun dari puak Zionis yang mempertikaikan kebaikan perpindahan yang dipaksakan - atau aspek moralnya'. Walaubagaimanapun, pemimpin-pemimpin Zionis telah belejar untuk tidak mengumumkan cadangan mereka untuk memindahkan [orang Arab] secara berama-ramai oleh kerana 'ini akan menyebabkan puak Zionis akan kehilangan simpati dunia'.4  Isu utama ialah untuk mencari masa yang sesuai untuk memulakan perpindahan beramai-ramai yang tidak akan mendatangkan kutukan dunia. Di akhir tahun 1930an, Ben-Gurion telah menulis: 'Apa yang tidak dapat diterima pada saat normal adalah munasabah pada saat revolusi; dan jika pada masa ini peluang itu dilepaskan dan apa yang munasabah pada masa yang amat sesuai ini tidak dibuat - seluruh dunia akan hilang.'5 'Masa-masa revolusi' tiba ketika perang Arab-Israel yang pertama pada tahun 1948, dimana puak Zionis menghalau 750,000 rakyat Palestin (lebih dari 80% dari jumlah penduduk asalnya), dan dari itu telah mencapai keujudan sebuah negara Yahudi, walaupun kawasannya tidak termasuk keseluruhan negara Palestin, atau 'Tanah Yahudi', yang dianggap perlu oleh pemimpin-pemimpin Zionis untuk menujudkan sebuah negara yang berdaya saing. Peluang untuk merampas lebih banyak tanah menjadi kenyataan hasil dari perang tahun 1967. Walaubagaimanapun, penaklukan kawasan itu memberi masalah kepada kebanyakan penduduk Palestin. Pendapat dunia kini membantah perpindahan penduduk ini, sambil menyamakan tindakan itu seperti keganasan puak Nazi dahulu. Konvensyen Geneva Keempat, yang diluluskan pada tahun 1949, telah 'menghalang perpindahan' penduduk awam dari kawasan yang diceroboh.6 Sejak perang 1967, isu utama dalam politik Israel ialah apa yang perlu dibuat kepada kawasan yang diceroboh itu dan penduduk Palestin.

Pada tahun 1980an, apabila pari Likud menerajui kerajaan, idea untuk perpindahan telah tersebar kepada umum. Pada masa itu, ia dikaitkan dengan perang yang lebih besar, dengan menjadikan Asia Tengah tidak stabil sebagai syarat perlu untuk memindahkan penduduk Palestin. Cadangan itu, termasuk mengeluarkan penduduk Palestin, dinyatakan dalam artikel oleh Oded Yinon, yang bertajuk 'Satu Strategi Untuk Israel di tahun 1980an,' yang disiarkan dalam majalah berkala Pertubuhan Zionis Sedunia pada bulan Februari 1982. Oded Yinon, yang bertugas di Kementerian Luar dan artikel beliau tanpa diragui mencerminkan pemikiran peringkat tinggi di kalangan pemimpin-pemimpin tentera dan perisikan. Artikel itu menyeru Israel untuk memusnahkan dan membahagi-bahagikan negara-negara Arab menjadi kumpulan-kumpulan etnik yang kecil dan pelbagai. Sambil berfikir dengan cara yang sama, Ariel Sharon berjata pada 24hb Mac 24, 1988 bahawa jika kebangkitan rakyat Palestin berterusan, Israel akan melakukan perang dengan jiran-jiran Arabnya. Perang itu, kata beliau, akan membuka 'keadaan' untuk mengeluarkan keseluruhan rakyat Palestin dari Tebing Barat dan Gaza, malahan dari negara Israel sendiri.7

Palara polisi luar Israel Yehoshafat Harkabi mengkritik senario perang/penghalauan itu - 'Hasrat-hasrat Israel untuk memaksa 'Pax Israelica' (penguasaan Israel) di Asia Tengah, untuk menguasai negara-negara Arab dan melayan mereka dengan kasar' -  dalam hasil tulisan pentingnya, 'Masa Takdir Untuk Israel' ('Israel's Fateful Hour') yang diterbitkan pada tahun 1988. Sambil menulis secara realistik, Harkabi percaya Israel tidak mempunyai kuasa yang cukup untuk mencapai sasaran itu, dilihat dari kekuatan negara-negara Arab, penduduk Palestin yang besar, dan bantahan kuat dunia. Harkabi berharap 'kegagalan cubaan Israel untuk memaksa susunan baru di negara Arab paling lemah - Lebanon - akan mematahkan semangat mereka yang mempunyai hasrat yang serupa di kawasan-kawasan lain.'8 Apa yang tidak diambilkira oleh Harkabi ialah kemungkinan untuk AS dijadikan wakil ('proxy') Israel bagi mencapai sasaran ini. 

Memastikan bekalan minyak

Pada tahun-tahun 1970an dan 1980an, polisi AS untuk Asia Tengah, walaupun bersimpati terhadap Israel, tetapi tidak sama dengan polisi Israel [terhadap Asia Tengah]. Sasaran utama polisi AS ialah untuk mengujudkan kerajaan-kerajaan yang stabil di Asia Tengah yang akan memastikan bekalan minyak untuk negara-negara perindustrian Barat. Untuk membenarkan bekalan minyak, negara-negara [Arab] itu tidak perlu berbaik-baik dengan Israel - malahan mereka boleh berbalah dengan negara Yahudi itu secara terang-terangan. Amerika Syarikat berusaha untuk perdamaian di antara Israel dan negara-negara Arab tetapi perdamaian yang akan memenuhi tuntutan-tuntutan negara-negara Arab - terutamanya yang berkaitan dengan isu penduduk Palestin.

Sokongan AS kepada Iraq ketika peperangan dengan Iran

Diantara polisi-polisinya untuk memastikan bekalan minyak dari Asia Tengah, pihak A.S. pada tahun-tahun pertengahan 1980an menyokong kuat Iraq untuk memerangi Iran, walaupun pada sesuatu ketika Amerika Syarikat juga menghulurkan bantuan kepada Iran (skandal Iran-Contra). Ironiknya, Donald Rumsfeld yang bertugas sebagai utusan ('envoy') AS yang membuka jalan kepada pemulihan hubungan dengan Iraq pada tahun 1983, yang telah tergugat pada tahun 1967. A.S. bersama-sama negara-negara barat yang lain menganggap Iraq sebagai penghalang terhadap Islam radikal yang dipelopori Ayatollah dari Iran, yang menggugat kepentingan bekalan minyak untuk barat. Sokongan AS terhadap Iraq meliputi maklumat perisikan, peralatan tentera, dan kredit untuk bahan-bahan pertanian. Dan AS menghantar pasukan tentera lautnya yang terbesar di Teluk sejak Perang Vietnam, secara jelas untuk melindungi kapal-kapal minyak, tetapi turut menyerang tentera laut Iran. Selain itu, pada masa A.S. menyokongnyalah Iraq menyalahgunakan gas beracun keatas rakyat Iran dan penduduk Kurdish, yang kini dianggap oleh kerajaan AS dan penyokong medianya sebagai ganas. Malahan, Amerika Syarikat melonggarkan sekatan ekspot teknolojinya kepada Iraq, yang membolehkan Iraq mengimpot 'superkomputer', peralatan mesin, bahan kimia beracun, dan virus anthrax dan 'bubonic'. Pendekata, Amerika Syarikat membantu Iraq mendapatkan senjata yang menakutkan yang kini dianggap oleh pegawai pentadbiran sebagai alasan untuk menjatuhkan Saddam dari kuasa.9

Fasa 2: Telah siap

Setelah perang Iran/Iraq berakhir pada tahun 1988, AS terus menyokong Iraq dengan membekalkan peralatan ketenteraan, teknoloji terkini, dan memberikan kemudahan kredit pertanian. Jelas sekali AS menganggap Saddam boleh menstabilkan keadaan di Teluk. Setelah Iraq menakluki Kuwait pada bulan Ogos 1990, polisi Amerika terhadapnya berubah sama sekali. Dan puak konservatif baru ('neo-con') amat bersemangat untuk mendapatkan sokongan untuk perang AS terhadap Iraq. Jawatankuasa untuk Keamanan dan Keselamatan di Teluk yang diketuai Richard Perle, telah ditubuhkan untuk membuka jalan kepada perang.10 Dan orang-orang kuat ('hawk') konservatif baru seperti Frank Gaffney, Jr., Richard Perle, A. M. Rosenthal, William Safire, dan The Wall Street Journal bertegas bahawa tujuan perang Amerika bukan hanya menghalau Iraq dari Kuwait tetapu juga memusnahkan kekuatan ketenteraan Iraq terutama kemampuannya membangunkan senjata nuklear. Pentadbiran Bush menyokong pendirian ini. 11 Lebih dari itu, puak konservatif baru berharap perang itu akan menyebabkan kejatuhan Saddam Hussein dan penaklukan Iraq. Walaubagaimanapun, di sebalik tuntutan Setiausaha Pertahanan (dahulu) Richard Cheney dan timbalannya Paul Wolfowitz untuk melaksanakan perancangan ketenteraan untuk menakluki Iraq, perang ini tidak pernah terjadi disebabkan tentangan dari Jeneral Colin Power, pengerusi Ketua-ketua Staf ('Joint Chiefs of Staff'), dan Jeneral Norman Schwarzkopf, komander medan perang dahulu.12 Selain itu, AS hanya diberikan mandat untuk membebaskan Kuwait, bukan untuk menjatuhkan Saddam. Sebarang cubaan [untuk menjatuhkan Saddam] akan memecahbelahkan pakatan tentera bersekutu. Rakan Amerika dalam pakatan itu dari kawasan tersebut, seperti Turki dan Arab Saudi, takut kejatuhan Saddam akan menyebabkan Iraq berpecah kepada kumpulan-kumpulan kaum dan ugama yang bertelingkah. Ini akan menyebabkan pemberontakan puak Kurdish di Iraq yang akan merebak kepada puak Kurdish di Turki. Ia juga akan menyebabkan puak Syiah di Iraq akan bernaung di bawah Iran yang akan menambahkan lagi ancaman Islam yang radikal di kawasan itu.

Pentadbiran Bush bukan hanya mengecewakan harapan puak konservatif baru dengan membiarkan Saddam berkuasa, tetapi ia juga mencadangkan 'Susunan Dunia Yang Baru' seperti yang dijalankan oleh Setiausaha Negara James Baker, yang bertentangan dengan sasaran puak konservatif baru/Israel disebabkan ia lebih tertumpu kepada pengukuhan pakatan dunia Arab yang menyokong perang. Ini menyebabkan Israel akan kekurangan kawalan diatas kawasan yang dicerobohinya. Pentadbiran Bush menuntut agar Israel menghentikan pembinaan kawasan penempatan yang baru di kawasan-kawasan yang dicerobohi sebagai syarat untuk menerima jaminan pinjaman AS berjumlah $10 billion. Pinjaman itu akan digunakan untuk menempatkan beratus-ratus ribu pendatang dari bekas negara Soviet Union. Walaupun Bush mengalah kepada tekanan pihak Amerika yang meyokong Zionis sejurus sebelum pilihanraya November 1992, tentangan beliau mengecewakan ramai dari puak konservatif baru yang menyebabkan orang seperti William Safire menyokong Bill Clinton ketika pilhanraya 1992 itu.13

Ketika era pentadbiran Clinton puak konservatif baru mengemukakan pandangan mereka dari rangkaian kumpulan berfikir ('think tank') yang berpengaruh - seperti  American Enterpise Institute (AEI), Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), Hudson Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Middle East Forum, Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), Center for Security Policy (CSP) -yang mempunyai pengaruh yang kuat terhadap media dan para pendokong parti Republican. Sebahagian dari pertubuhan-pertubuhan itu pada asalnya diasaskan oleh puak konservatif utama dan diambil-alih oleh puak konservatif baru; Manakalan 14 buah yang lain diasaskan oleh puak konservatif baru dan beberapa darinya mempunyai hubungan langsung dengan Israel. Contohnya Kolonel Yigal Carmon, yang pernah bertugas dengan perisikan tentera Israel adalah pengasas bersama Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri). Dan pertubuhan-pertubuhan ini pula mempunyai kaitan di antara satu sama lain. Contohnya, pengasas bersama Memri, Meyrav Wurmser, juga ahli Hudson Institute, manakala suaminya David Wurmser, mengetuai jabatan kajian Asia Tengah di AEI. Richard Perle merupakan 'resident fellow' (ahli residen?) di American Enterprise Institute (AEI) dan salah seorang pemegang amanah Hudson Institute.15

Fasa 3: SIAP 10/04

Kuasa individu-individu yang berpengaruh

Sebuah artikel oleh Jason Vest di dalam The Nation membincangkan kuasa yang besar yang ada pada beberapa individu dari dua pertubuhan kajian konservatif baru iaitu the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) dan the Center for Security Policy (CSP), dalam pentadbiran Bush kini. Vest memperincikan hubungan rapat antara pertubuhan-pertubuhan ini, ahli-ahli politik haluan kanan, pedagang senjata, orang-orang dari tentera, jutawan/billionaire Yahudi, dan pentadbiran.16

Mengenai JINSA, menulis:

'Diasaskan pada tahun 1976 oleh puak 'neo-con' risau AS tidak boleh menyediakan Israel bekalan ketenteraan yang mencukup jika perang Arab-Israel berlaku lagi, sejak 25 tahun lalu JINSA telah berubah dari kumpulan tidak begitu kuku kepada sebuah operasi yang menelan belanja mencecah $1.4 juta setahun dengan mempunyai keanggotaan ramai orang berkuasa di Wasnginton. Sehingga ke masa pentadbiran Bush yang kini, para penasihat JINSA termasuklah orang-orang kuat seperti Dick Cheney, John Bolton (kini Timbalan Setiausaha Kawalan Senjata) dan Douglas Feith, eksekutif ketiga tertinggi di  Pentagon. Kedua-dua Perle dan bekas pengarah CIA James Woolsey, dua dari suara paling kuat yang mempelopori perang Iraq, masih menganggotai barisan penasihatnya. Begitu dengan pemimpin-pemimpin dari era Reagan seperti Jeane Kirkpatrick, Eugene Rostow dan [Michael] Ledeen - orang hubungan dengan Israel dalam skandal Oliver North - Iran/ contra.'17

Vest tahu 'berdozen=dozen' dari ahli-ahli JINSA dan CPSU kini menjawat jawatan penting dalam kerajaan, dimana sokongan mereka kepada agenda-agenda yang sama diteruskan sambil dibantu oleh kumpulan-kumpulan bukan kerajaan dari mana mereka datang itu. Rajin dan istiqomah, mereka berjaya menjalinkan beberapa isu --  sokongan kepada pertahanan peluru berpandu negara, bantahan kepada perjanjian kawalan senjata, menerajui sistem-sistem senjata yang membazirkan, bantuan senjata kepada Turki, dan sikap tindakan-sendirian ('unilateralism') AS -- menjadi satu sikap keras utama dengan hak Israel sebagai perkara pokoknya. ' Dan tambah Vest: 'Tiada lagi isu yang paling menonjolkan sikap keras JINSA/CSP ialah kempen berterusannya untuk berperang -- bukan hanya dengan Oraq, tetapi 'perang menyeluruh', seperti yang dikatakan oleh Michael Ledeen, salah seorang dari ahli berpengaruh JINSA di  Washington, tahun lepas. Untuk puak ini, 'pertukaran rejim' dengan apa cara jua di Iraq, Iran, Syria, Arab Saudi dan Pihak Berkuasa Palestin ialah sesuatu yang amat mustahak.'18

Sokongan kepada golongan haluan kanan Israeli

Mari kita ulangi perkara-perkara penting yang diajukan Vest. Rangkaian JINSA/CSP mempunyai sokongan dengan 'Israel sebagai tunjagnya.' Seiring dengan pandangan puak haluan kana Israel, ia menganjurkan perang Asia Tengah untuk menghapuskan musuh-musuh Israel. Dan ahli-ahli rangkaian JINSA/CSP telah mendapat kedudukan berpengaruh mengenai hal polisi luar dalam pentadbiran Republikan, terutamanya dalam pentadbiran Rebunlikan yang dikepalai George W. Bush.

Satu gambaran jelas mengenai bayangan perang keatas Iraq oleh 'neo-con' ialah satu kertas kerja pada tahun 1996 yang dihasilkan oleh Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser dan lain-lain yang diterbitkan oleh sebuah badan pemikir Israel, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, bertajuk 'Satu pencapaian yang cemerlang: Satu strategi baru untuk mencapai impian' ('A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm.') Ia telah dicadang sebagai pelan politik untuk kerajaan baru Benjamin Netanyahu. Tulisan itu berkata Netanyahu sepatutnya 'mencapai kejayaan cemerlang' dengan proses damai Oslo dan mengukuhkan tuntutan Israel terhadap Tebing Barat dan Gaza. Ia membentangkan pelan dengannya Israel akan 'membentuk keadaan sekelilingnya yang strategik', bermula dengan kejatuhan Saddam Hussein dan pertabalan kerajaan Hashemite di Baghdad, yang akan dijadikan langkah pertama bagi menghapuskan kerajaan-kerajaan yang anti-Israel iaitu Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, dan Iran.19 Eloklah diperhatikan orang Amerika ini - Perle, Feith, dan Wurmser - dulu menasihatkan kerajaan-kerajaan asing dan kini mereka berkait dengan pentadbiran George W. Bush administration: Perle ialah ketua Lembaga Polisi Pertahanan; Feith ialah Timbalan Setiausaha Polisi Pertahanan; dan Wurmser ialah pembantu kgas kepada John Bolton ketua perunding kawalan senjata untuk Jabatan Negara. Dan elok juga diperhatikan pada tahun 1996 Israel akan 'membentuk keadaan sekelilingnya yang strategik' dengan memusnahkan musuh-musuh mereka, orang yang sama kini mencadangkan agar Amerika Syarikat membentuk keadaan sekeliling Asia Tengah dengan memusnahkan musuh-musuh Israel. Nampak bahawa Amerika Syarikat bertindak sebagai wakil untuk menjaga kepentingan-kepentingan Israel.

Fasa 4: Siap 10/04

Perang keatas Iraq sudahpun dituntut pada tahun 1998

Pada 19 Februari, 1998, jawatankuasa 'neo-con' untuk keamanan dan keselamaan di Teluk dalam satu 'surat terbuka kepada Presiden' mencadangkan ;satu strategi politik dan ketenteraan yang menyeluruh untuk menjatuhkan Saddam dan rejimnya.' Surat itu menambah: 'Ia tidak mudah - dan tindakan-tindakan yang kami sukai bukannya tiada masalah dan rintangan. Namun kami percaya kepentingan negara menuntut Amerika Syarikat [untuk memlaksanakan strategi sebegitu].' Diantara mereka yang menurunkan tandatangan ialah pegawai-pegawai dalam pentadbiran Bush terkini: Elliott Abrams (Majlis Keselamatan Kebangsaan), Richard Armitage (Jabatan Negara), John Bolton (Jabatan Negara), Doug Feith (Jabatan Pertahanan), Fred Ikle (Lembaga Polisi Pertahanan), Zalmay Khalilzad (Rumah Putih), Peter Rodman (Jabatan Pertahanan), Donald Rumsfeld (Setiausaha Pertahanan), Paul Wolfowitz (Jabatan Pertahanan), David Wurmser (Jabatan Negara), Dov Zakheim (Jabatan Pertahanan), dan Richard Perle (Lembaga Polisi Pertahanan).20 Sila perhatikan bahawa Rumsfeld ialah sebahagian dari rangkaian 'neo-con' dan sudahpun menuntut perang keatas Iraq.21

Penandatangan surat itu juga termasuklah ahli terkemuka 'neo-con' yang pro-Zionis seperti Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Frank Gaffney (Pengarah, Pusat Polisi Keselamatan), Joshua Muravchik (American Enterprise Institute), Martin Peretz (Editor-in-Chief, The New Republic), Leon Wieseltier, (The New Republic), bekas ahli kongres Stephen Solarz.22 Presiden Clinton hanya menyokong setakat membantu Akta Pembebasan Iraq ('Iraq Liberation Act') yang membenarkan $97 juta untuk melatih dan membeli peralatan ketenteraan puak pembangkang Iraq.23

Pada bulan September 2000, kumpulan pemikir neo-con Projek Untuk Kurun Amerika Yang Baru ('Project for the New American Century (PNAC)') 24 mengeluarkan laporan bertajuk, 'Membina semula pertahanan Amerika: Strategi, Kuasa dan Sumber untuk Kurun Yang Baru,' yang membayangkan pelebaran kuasa Amerika Syarikat di dunia. Untuk Asia Tengah, laporan itu menuntut peningkatan terhadap kehadiran tentera AS di Teluk, tanpa mengira samada Saddam berkuasa atau tidak sambil memberi alasan: 'Amerika Syarikat sejak berdekad-dekad lalu telah berusaha memainkan peranan lebih penting untuk keselamatan kawasan Teluk. Manakala konflik yang tidak tamat engan Iraq memberikan alasan yang serta merta, keperluan untuk kehadiran tentera Amerika yang besar di Teluk menjangkaui isu rejim Saddam HusseinT.'25 Peserta-peserta projek itu termasuklah individu-individu yang kini memainkan peranan penting dalam pentadbiran Bush: Dick Cheney (timbalan presiden), Donald Rumsfeld (Setiausaha Pertahanan), Paul Wolfowitz (Timbalan Setiausaha Pertahanan), dan Lewis Libby (Timbalan Presiden ketua staf Cheney). Pengarang Weekly Standard William Kristol juga menjadi penulis bersamanya.

Perancang strategi Wolfowitz dan Perle

Untuk mempengaruhi polisi-polisi Rumah Putih secara terus, Wolfowitz dan Perle berjaya mendapat peranan penting dalam kumpulan penasihat untuk polisi luar/keselamatan dalam negeri bagi kempen Bush di tahun 2000. Diketuai oleh pakar Soviet Condoleezza Rice, kumpulan itu dipanggil 'burung Vulcan.' Oleh kerana tiada pengalaman sendiri dan hanya sedikit pengetahuan mengenai polisi luar, seperti yang digambarkan oleh kesilapannya - tersilap antara Slovakia dan Slovenia, merujuk orang Greeks sebagai 'Grecians' dan gagal kuiz spontan untuk menamakan empat orang pemimpin luar negara - George W. Bush terpaksa bergantung penuh kepada penasihat-penasihatnya. 'Kumpulan polisi luarnya,' menurut ahli neo-con Robert Kagan, 'akan menjadi amat penting untuk menentukan polisi-polisi luarnya.' Dan seperti yang ditulis kolumnis Robert Novak: 'Oleh kerana Rice tidak begitu berpengalaman mengenai hal-ehwal Asia Tengfah, Wolfowitz dan Perle mungkin diutamakan untuk kebanyakan polisi-polisi mengenai Asia Tengah.'26 Pendekata, Wolfowitz dan Perle akan menyediakan polisi untuk Asia Tengah kepada Bush yang tidak tahu apa-apa itu. Dan sudah tentu pandangan Zionis dan haluan kanan akan ditambahkan lagi oleh Cheney dan Rumsfeld dan lain-lain ahli neo-con yang memenuhi pentadbirannya.

Selepas mengambil tampuk pemerintahan, ahli-ahli neo-con telah mengisi jawatan-jawatan penting dalam pentadbiran yang melibatkan pertahanan dan polisi luar. Dalam barisan staf Donald Rumsfeld termasuklah Timbalan Setiausaha Pertahanan Paul Wolfowitz dan Naib Setiausaha untuk Polisi Douglas Feith. Manakala di kalangan staf Cheney pula termasuklah neo-con utama seperti Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, Eric Edelman, dan John Hannah. Tambahan lagi, Cheney, dengan hubungannya dengan neo-con dan pandangan neo-connya telah memainkan peranan penting dalam membentuk polisi pentadbiran.27

Richard Perle sering disebut sebagai ahli neo-con yang paling berpengaruh bagi polisi luar.28 Pada tahun 1970an, Perle menyerlah sebagai pembantu utama Senator Henry 'Scoop' Jackson (Democrat, Washingon), iaitu salah seorang dari ahli senat yang paling anti-komunis dan pro-Israel. Pada tahun-tahun 1980an, Perle bertugas sebagai naib setiausaha pertahanan dibawah Reagan, dimana pendirian anti-sovietnya yang keras, dan terutamanya tentangannya terhadap sebarang usaha mengawal senjata api, menyebabkan beliau digelar 'Putera Kegelapan' dari musuh-musuhnya. Walaubagaimanapun, kawan' beliau menganggap beliau sebagai "salah seorang yang paling baik di Washington.' Hakikat bahawa Perle terkenal sebagai seorang yang pintar, baik hati dan pemurah, cerdik, dan rakan yang setia membantu menerangkan bagaimana beliau menyerlah di kalangan puak neo-con. 29 Perle bukan sahaja pendokong pandangan pro-Israel, malahan beliau mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan Israel disamping merupakan kawan rapat Ariel Sharon's, salah seorang ahli lembaga akhbar Jerusalem Post, dan bekas pekerja pengeluar senjata Israel Soltam. Menurut penulis Seymour M. Hersh, ketika Perle menjadi pembantu kongress untuk Jackson, FBI mencuri-dengar taliponnya dan mendapati Perle memberikan maklumat rahsia dari Majlis Keselamatan Kebangsaan kepada kedutaan Israel.30

Walaupun secara teknikal tidak sebahagian dari pentadbiran Bush, Perle memegang jawatan pengerusi Lembaga Polisi Pertahanan. Pada kedudukan itu, Perle boleh mendapatkan dokumen-dokumen rahsia dan mempunyai hubungan rapat dengan pemimpin pentadbiran. Seperti yang ditulis Salon: 'Sebelum ini ianya satu lembaga yang diasaskan untuk menasihati setiausaha pertahanan dengan nasihat-nasihat yang boleh tidak wajib diikut bersabit isu-isu ketenteraan, Lembaga Polisi Pertahanan, kini amat dekat dengan pemimpin-peimpin yang memusuhi Iraq dan telah menjadi pertubuhan separa lobi yang bertujuan utama untuk melancarkan perang ke atas Iraq.'31

Fasa 5: SIAP 12/04

Polisi Sharon untuk menghalau penduduk Palestin secara beramai-ramai

Setelah pentadbiran Bush mengambil alih tampuk pemerintahan pada bulan Januari 2001, laporan-laporan berita Israel menyebut pegawai-pegawai kerajaan dan ahli-ahli politik sebagai berkata secara terbuka mengenai penghalauan rakyat Palestin secara beramai-ramai. Perdana Menteri Ariel Sharon (yang dilantik pada bulan Februari 2001) yang dikenali dengan kekejamannya telah berkata suatu ketika dahulu bahawa Jordan sepatutnya menjadi negara Palestin dimana rakyat Palestin yang dihalau keluar dari kawasan yang dikuasai Israel akan ditempatkan semula. 32A Orang awam risau dengan perubahan-perubahan demografik (pola kependudukan) yang mengancam suasana keyahudian negara Israel. Profesor Arnon Sofer dari Haifa University mengeluarkan kajian, 'Kajian kependudukan negara Israel' ('Demography of Eretz Israel'), yang mengunjurkan bahawa menjelang 2020 penduduk bukan-Yahudi akan menjadi puak majoriti sebanyak 58 peratus di Israel dan kawasab-kawasan yang dikuasai.33 Selain itu, pertambahan jumlah penduduk mengatasi jumlah yang boleh ditampung oleh keluasan tanah dan bekalan airnya yang terhad.34

Pada pandangan sebahagian orang, Sharon dilihat cuba melakukan penghalauan secara kekerasan. Seperti yang dinyatakan oleh seorang penganalisa haluan kiri: 'Satu perang yang besar dengan pemindahan sebagai tujuan utamanya- itulah rancangan oleh para 'helang' (orang utama) yang hampir tiba masa untuk melakukan perlaksanaannya.'35 Pada musim panas 2001, Kumpulan Maklumat Jane yang amat berwibawa itu melaporkan bahawa Israel telah siap merancang penaklukan yang besar dan berdarah ke atas Kawasan Yang ditakluki yang melibatkan 'serangan udara menggunakan jet pejuang F-15 dan F-16, pengeboman meriam besar-besaran, dan serangan pantas oleh 30,000 orang...briged kereta kebal dan tentera darat.' Ia menampakkan serangan besar itu [yang dirancang] itu melambangkan cubaan yang mengatasi perlucutan jawatan Arafat dan kepimpinan PLO. Tetapi AS mem'veto' rancangan itu dan Eropah juga menyuarakan bantahan yang sama terhadap rancangan-rancangan Sharon.36 Seperti yang dinyatakan oleh pemerhati pertelingkahan Israel-Palestin pada bulan Ogos 2001, 'Hanya ketika suasana politik semasa sahaja menyebabkan rancangan-rancagan penghalauan tidak boleh dilakukan. Dalam suasana politik yang sedang panas kini, masanya belum sesuai untuk mengambil langkah yang drastik sebegitu. Walaubagaimanapun, jika kegawatan suasananya menjadi lebih buruk, tindakan-tindakan yang tidak munasabah kini akan menjadi munasabah. '37 Sekali lagi, 'masa-masa revolusi' diperlukan oleh Israel untuk mencapai sasaran-sasarannya. Dan selepas itu muncul serangan-serangan September 11.

September 11: 'masa-masa revolusi'

Keganasan September 11 membekalkan 'masa-masa revolusi' itu, bilamana Israel mampu mengambil langkah-langkah radikal yang tidak dapat diterima umum dalam keadaan biasa. Apabila ditanya apakah akibat serngan itu terhadap hubungan AS-Israel, bekas perdana menteri Benjamin Netanyahu menjawab: 'Ia amat bagus.' Kemudian beliau mengolah semula jawabannya: "Sebenarnya, tidak begitu baik, tapi ia akan menghasilkan simpati yang pantas.' Netanyahu menjangkan serangan itu akan 'mengukuhkan lagi hubungan antara dua penduduk, oleh kerana kami telah mengalami akibat keganasan sejak beberapa dekad, tetapi kini Amerika Syarikat mengalami akibat yang dahsyat dari keganasan.' Perdana Menteri  Ariel Sharon meletakkan Israel pada kedudukan yang sama seperti Amerika Syarikat, sambil merujuk kepada serangan itu sebagai serangan keatas 'nilai-nilai kita yang sama' dan mengumumkan, 'Saya percaya kita sama-sama boleh mengalahkan pasukan-pasukan yang jahat ini. '38 Pada pandangan pemimpin-pemimpin Israel, serangan September 11 telah menyatukan Amerika Syarikat dan Israel melawan musuh yang sama. Dan musuh itu bukannya di tempat sejauh Afghanistan, tetapi amat dekat dengan Israel. Dan Israel akan mendapat peluang yang lebih baik untuk mengalahkan Palestin dibawah bayangan 'perang keatas keganasan.'

Sejuru selepas serangan-serangan 911, puak neo-con mula menekankan perang keatas keganasan yang lebih menyuruh yang akan menghapuskan musuh-musuh Israel. Contohnya, kolumnis William Safire menegaskan pengganas-pengganas sebenar yang Amerika sepatutnya tumpukan bukannya puak fanatik agama, 'Sebaliknya saintis-saintis Iraq yang pada masa ini sedang bertungkus-lumus di makmal-makmal dan kemudahan-kemudahan nuklear rahsia bawah tanah yang akan, jika tidak dihentikan, membolehkan Saddam yang penuh kebencian dan gila kuasa itu membunuh berjuta-juta orang. Kemampuan itu akan menukarnya dari seorang buli menjadi kuasa dunia yang tidak boleh dikawal.'39

Di kalangan pentadbiran, Timbalan Setiausaha Pertahanan Paul Wolfowitz telah membayangkan secara jelas perang yang lebih menyeluruh keatas kerajaan-kerajaan yang ada apabila dia berkata: 'Saya fikir seseorang itu perlu berkata ia bukan hanya menangkap seseorang dan memintanya bertanggungjawb, tetapi juga memusnahkan tempat perlindungannya, menghapuskan sistem-sistem sokongannya, menghentikan negara-negara yang menaja keganasan. Dan itulah sebabnya ia perlu menjadi kempen yang besar dan berterusan. Ia tidak akan berhenti jika [hanya] beberapa orang penjenayah yang dihapuskanf.'40

Fasa 6: SIAP 13/04

'Friendly Relations Declaration'

Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, 24 October 1970

[...] Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Such threats or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.

A war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law.

In accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, States have the duty to refrain from propaganda for wars of aggression.

Every State has the duty to refrain from the threat or use of force to violate the existing international boundaries of another State or as means of solving international disputes, including territorial disputes and problems concerning frontiers of States.

Formula Baru: perang keatas keganasan

Pada bulan September, 2001, puak 'neo-con' dari Projek Untuk Kurun Amerika Baru' ('Project for the New American Century') mengutus sepucuk surat kepada Presiden Bush yang menyokong perang terhadap keganasan dan menekannkan penurunan Saddam Hussein merupakan satu dari bahagian penting perang itu. Mereka berpendapat "kalaupun tiada sebarang bukti yang mengaitkan Iraq dengan serangan itu [Sept 11], sebarang strategi untuk menghapuskan keganasan dan penaja-penajanya perlu memasukkan usaha bersungguh-sungguh untuk menurunkan Saddam Hussein dari kuasa. Kegagalan melakukannya bermakna kekalahan awal dan malahan kegagalan mutlak dalam perang terhadap keganasan antarabangsa. ' Selain itu, surat itu berpendapat jika Syria dan Iran gagal menghentikan sokongan kepada Hezbollah, Amerika Syarikat patut 'memikirkan langkah-langkah perlu terhadap penaja-penaja keganasan yang dikenali umum ini.' Diantara penandatangan-penandatangan surat tersebut ialah orang kuat puak 'neo-con' seperti William Kristol, Midge Decter, Eliot Cohen, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Robert Kagan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Charles Krauthammer, Richard Perle, Martin Peretz, Norman Podhoretz, Stephen J. Solarz, dan Leon Wieseltier.41

Afghanistan hanyalah permulaan perang

Dalam majalah The Weekly Standard keluaran 29hb Oktober, Robert Kagan dan William Kristol menjangkakan perang Timur Tengah yang lebih menyeluruh. 'Apabila semuanya perkara yang perlu disebut disebutkan dan yang perlu dibuat dibuatkan, perang di Afganistan akan menjadi perang terhadap keganasan seumpama kempen Afrika Utara ketika Perang Dunia ke-2: satu permulaan penting dalam kemaraan menuju kemenangan. Tetapi jika dibandingkan dengan apa yang sedang menunggu - perang-yang-menyeluruh di kawasan-kawasan setempar dari Asia Tengah hingga ke Timur Tengah, dan, malangnga, kembali ke Amerika Syarikat - Afghanistan akan terbukti sebagai perang peringkat mula...Tetapi perang ini tidak akan berakhir di Afghanistan. Ia akan merebak dan melibatkan beberapa negara dalam konflik yang berbeza-beza tahapnya. Ia akan memerlukan penggunaan kuasa ketenteraan Amerika di beberapa tempat pada satu masa. Ia akan nampak seumpama perang tamaddun yang semua orang harap dapat dielakkan.'42. Nampaknya Kagan dan Kristol amat mengharapkan konflik besar ini.

Dalam sebuah atikel bertarikh 20hb November, 2002 di dalam akhbar The Wall Street Journal, Eliot A. Cohen memanggil konflik itu 'Perang Dunia ke-4', satu panggilan yang digunkana oleh puak 'neo-con' lain-lain. Cohen mendakwa bahawa 'Musuh bagi perang ini bukannya "keganasan"...tetapi Islam yang militan (ganas)... Afghanistan hanyalah satu dari medan Perang Dunia ke-4, dan perang disitu hanyalah satu dari kempen sahaja.' Cohen bukan sahaja mencadangkan perang Amerika Syarikat terhadap Iraq tetapi juga pemusnahan rejim Islam di Iran, yang 'akan menjadi kemenangan yang tidak kurang pentingnya dalam perang ini sepertimana penghapusan bin Laden.'43

Fasa 7: InsyaAllah siap 14/04

War propaganda of Neoconservative

Critics of a wider war in the Middle East were quick to notice the neoconservative war propaganda effort. In analyzing the situation in September, paleoconservative44 Scott McConnell would write: 'For the neoconservatives, however, bin Laden is but a sideshow . ... They hope to use September 11 as pretext for opening a wider war in the Middle East. Their prime, but not only, target is Saddam Hussein's Iraq, even if Iraq has nothing to do with the World Trade Center assault.'45

However, McConnell mistakenly considered the neocon position to be a minority one within the Bush administration, as he wrote: 'The neo-con wish list is a recipe for igniting a huge conflagration between the United States and countries throughout the Arab world, with consequences no one could reasonably pretend to calculate. Support for such a war - which could turn quite easily into a global war - is a minority position within the Bush administration (assistant secretary of state Paul Wolfowitz is its main advocate) and the country. But it presently dominates the main organs of conservative journalistic opinion, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the Weekly Standard, and the Washington Times, as well as Marty Peretz's neoliberal New Republic. In a volatile situation, such organs of opinion could matter.'46

Expressing a similar view, veteran columnist Georgie Anne Geyer observed: 'The ''Get Iraq'' campaign ... started within days of the September bombings . ... It emerged first and particularly from pro-Israeli hard-liners in the Pentagon such as Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and adviser Richard Perle, but also from hard-line neoconservatives, and some journalists and congressmen.

Soon it became clear that many, although not all, were in the group that is commonly called in diplomatic and political circles the ''Israeli-firsters,'' meaning that they would always put Israeli policy, or even their perception of it, above anything else.' Within the Bush administration, Geyer believed that this line of thinking was 'being contained by cool heads in the administration, but that could change at any time.'47

Neoconservatives have presented the September 11 atrocities as a lightning bolt to make President Bush aware of his destiny to destroy the evil of world terrorism. In the religious (ironically Christian) terminology of Norman Podhoretz, 'a transformed - or, more precisely, a transfigured - George W.Bush appeared before us. In an earlier article in these pages, I suggested, perhaps presumptuously, that out of the blackness of smoke and fiery death let loose by September 11, a kind of revelation, blazing with a very different fire of its own, lit up the recesses of Bush's mind and heart and soul. Which is to say that, having previously been unsure as to why he should have been chosen to become President of the United States, George W.Bush now knew that the God to whom, as a born-again Christian, he had earlier committed himself had put him in the Oval Office for a purpose. He had put him there to lead a war against the evil of terrorism.'48

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, there was internal debate within the administration regarding the scope of the 'war on terrorism.' According to Bob Woodward's Bush at War, as early as the day after the attacks, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld 'raised the question of attacking Iraq. Why shouldn't we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.'49

Woodward continued that 'the terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the U.S. a new window to go after Hussein.' On September 15, Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Wolfowitz expressed the view that 'attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain.' He voiced the fear that American troops would be 'bogged down in mountain fighting. ... In contrast, Iraq, was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.'50

However, the neoconservatives were not able to achieve their goal of a wider war at the outset, in part due to the opposition of Secretary of State Powell, who held that the war should focus on the actual perpetrators of September 11. (It might be added that this was how most Americans actually viewed the war.) Perhaps Powell's most telling argument was his allegation that an American attack on Iraq would lack international support. He claimed that that if the United States were victorious in Afghanistan, it would enhance its ability to deal militarily with Iraq at a later time, 'if we can prove that Iraq had a role' in September 11.51

Powell diverged from the neoconservative hawks in his emphasis on the need for international support, as opposed to American unilateralism, but an even greater difference was his contention that the 'war on terror' had to be directly linked to the perpetrators of September 11 - Osama bin Laden's network. Powell publicly repudiated Wolfowitz's call for 'ending states' with the response that 'We're after ending terrorism. 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.'52

'Top secret': war against Iraq already planned on 17 September 2001

Very significantly, however, while the 'war on terrorism' would not begin with an attack on Iraq, military plans were being made for just such an endeavor. A 'top secret' document outlining the war plan for Afghanistan, which President Bush signed on September 17, 2001, included, as a minor point, instructions to the Pentagon to also start making plans for an attack on Iraq.53

Bush's public pronouncements would show a rapid evolution in the direction of expanding the war to Iraq. On November 21, 2001, in a speech at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Bush proclaimed that 'Afghanistan is just the beginning of the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all these threats are defeated. Across the world, and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win.'54

On November 26, in response to a question as to whether Iraq was a terrorist nation that he had in mind, the President responded: 'Well, my message is, is that if you harbor a terrorist, you're a terrorist. If you feed a terrorist, you're a terrorist. If you develop weapons of mass destruction that you want to terrorize the world, you'll be held accountable.' Note that Bush included possession of weapons of mass destruction as an indicator of 'terrorism.' And none of this terrorist activity necessarily related to the September 11 attacks.55

Fasa 8: InsyaAllah siap 15/04

The 'axis of evil' - an invention by David Frum, Bush's speechwriter

The transformation to the wider war was complete with Bush's January 29, 2002 State of the Union speech, in which the 'war on terrorism' was officially decoupled from the specific events of 9/11. Bush did not even mention bin Laden or al Qaeda. The danger now was said to come primarily from three countries - Iran, Iraq, and North Korea - which he dubbed 'an axis of evil,' who allegedly threatened the world with their weapons of mass destruction. According to Bush, 'States like these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.'56 The phrase 'axis of evil' was coined by Bush's neoconservative speechwriter, David Frum.57

By April 2002, President Bush was publicly declaring that American policy was 'regime change' in Iraq. And in June, he stated that the United States would launch preemptive strikes on those countries that threatened the United States.58 According to what passes as the conventional wisdom, Iraq now posed such a threat. Moreover, by the spring of 2002, Army General Tommy R. Franks, commander of U. S. Central Command, began giving Bush private briefings every three or four weeks on the war planning for Iraq.59

Neoconservatives both within and outside of the administration sought a unilateral U.S. attack on Iraq that would not be encumbered by the conflicting goals of any coalition partners. This was countered by the efforts of Secretary of State Powell to persuade President Bush that United Nation's sanction would be necessary to justify a United States attack, which the President ultimately found persuasive. While this slowed the rush to war, it represented a move by Powell away from his original position that war on Iraq should only be made if it were proven to have been involved in the September 11 terrorism.

UN resolution 1441

The UN Security Council decided that UN inspectors, with sweeping inspection powers, would determine whether Iraq was violating its pledge to destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction. UN Security Council Resolution 1441 of November 8, 2002 places the burden of proof on Iraq to show that it no longer possesses weapons of mass destruction. Resolution 1441 states that any false statements or omissions in the Iraqi weapons declaration would constitute a further material breach by Iraq of its obligations. This could set in motion discussions by the Security Council on considering the use of military force against Iraq. While some have claimed that this might mean that war would be put off,60 it allows the United States to use the new UN resolution as a legal justification for war. In fact, the United States could choose to enforce the resolution through war without additional UN authorization. As reporter Robert Fisk writes: 'The United Nations can debate any Iraqi non-compliance with weapons inspectors, but the United States will decide whether Iraq has breached UN resolutions. In other words, America can declare war without UN permission.'61

Top military figures hesitant - neoconservatives command

Neoconservatives have not only determined the foreign policy for the attack on Iraq but have played a role in the military strategy as well. Top military figures, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, initially expressed opposition to the whole idea of war against Iraq.62 Richard Perle and other neoconservatives have for some time held that toppling Saddam would require little military effort or risk. They pushed for a war strategy dubbed 'inside-out' that would involve attacking Baghdad and a couple of other key cities with a very small number of airborne troops, with some estimates ranging as low as five thousand. Achieving these goals, according to the plan's supporters, would cause Saddam's regime to collapse. American military leaders adamantly opposed this approach as too risky, offering in its stead a plan to use a much larger number of troops - around 250,000 - that would attack Iraq in a more conventional manner from its neighboring countries ( la the Gulf War). Perle and the neoconservatives feared that no neighboring country would provide these bases so that this approach would likely mean that no war would be initiated or that during the lengthy time needed to assemble this large force, war opposition would reach a point as to make war politically impossible. Perle angrily responded to the military's demure by saying that the decision to attack Iraq was 'a political judgment that these guys aren't competent to make'.63 Cheney and Rumsfeld went even farther referring to the generals as 'cowards' for being insufficiently gung-ho regarding an Iraq invasion.64

Now one might be tempted to attribute the rejection of the military's caution to insane hubris on the part of Perle and the neoconservative crowd - how could those amateurs deign to know more about military strategy than professional military men? But Richard Perle may be many things but stupid is not one of these. Perle undoubtedly has thought through the implications of his plan. And it is apparent that the 'inside-out' option would be a win-win proposition from Perle's perspective. Let's assume that it works - that a few American troops can capture some strategic areas and the Iraqi army quickly folds. Then Perle and the neoconservatives appear as military geniuses who would have free reign to prepare a series of additional low-cost wars in the Middle East.

But, on the other hand, let's assume that the invasion is a complete fiasco. The American troops are defeated in the cities. Many are captured and paraded around for all the world to see via television. Saddam makes bombastic speeches about defeating the American aggressor. All the Arab and Islamic world celebrates the American defeat. American flags are burned in massive anti-American celebrations throughout the Middle East. And all of this is viewed by Americans on their television screens. America is totally humiliated. It looks like a paper tiger. What would be the American reaction? It would be like Pearl Harbor in engendering hatred of the enemy in the hearts of average Americans. The public would demand that American honor and prestige be avenged. They would accept the idea fed to them by the neoconservative propagandists that the war was one between America and Islam. Total war would be unleashed, which would involve heavy bombing of cities. And the air attacks could easily move from Iraq to the other neighboring Islamic states. A war of conquest and extermination would be the neoconservatives fondest dream since it would serve to destroy all of Israel's enemies in the Middle East. (It now appears, however, that the Pentagon has augmented the magnitude of the Iraq strike force so as to reduce the risk of the aforementioned scenario.)65

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Charter of the United Nations

'Art. 2. The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following

Principles.

1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.'

Only three exceptions exist to this prohibition of the threat or use of force:

'Article 107

Nothing in the present Charter shall invalidate or preclude action, in relation to any state which during the Second World War has been an enemy of any signatory to the present Charter, taken or authorized as a result of that war by the Governments having responsibility for such action.'

'Article 39

The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.'

'Article51

self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures.'

Expansion of the war planned

There are many indications that the war will not be limited to Iraq alone. On July 10, 2002, Laurent Murawiec, at Perle's behest, briefed the Defense Policy Board about Saudi Arabia, whose friendly relationship with the United States has been the lynchpin of American security strategy in the Middle East for over 50 years. Murawiec described the kingdom as the principal supporter of anti-American terrorism - 'the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent.' It was necessary for the U.S. to regard Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States. Murawiec said that the United States should demand that Riyadh stop funding fundamentalist Islamic outlets around the world, prohibit all anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli propaganda in the country, and 'prosecute or isolate those involved in the terror chain, including the Saudi intelligence services.' If the Saudi's refused to comply with the ultimatum, Murawiec held that the United States should invade and occupy the country, including the holy sites of Mecca and Medina, seize its oil fields, and confiscate its financial assets.66

Murawiec concluded the briefing with the astounding summary of what he called a 'Grand Strategy for the Middle East:' 'Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize.' In short, the goal of the war on the Iraq was the destruction of the United States' closest allies. It would be hard to envision a policy better designed to inflame the entire Middle East against the United States. But that is exactly the result sought by neoconservatives.67

Predictably, the day after the briefing, the Bush Administration disavowed Murawiec's scenario as having nothing to do with actual American foreign policy and pronounced Saudi Arabia as a loyal ally.68 It should be added, however, that nothing was done by the Administration to remove or even discipline Perle for holding a discussion of a plan for attacking a close ally - and individuals have frequently been removed from Administrations for much smaller faux pas. Certainly the Bush administration's inaction failed to assure the Saudis that Murawiec's war plan was beyond the realm of possibility.

It should be added that Murawiec's anti-Saudi scenario was in line with what had been coming out in the neoconservative press. The July 15, 2002 issue of The Weekly Standard, edited by William Kristol, featured an article entitled 'The Coming Saudi Showdown,' by Simon Henderson of the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy. The July/August issue of Commentary, published by the American Jewish Committee, contained an article titled, 'Our Enemies, the Saudis.'69 The leading neoconservative expert on Saudi Arabia is Stephen Schwartz, author of numerous articles and a recent book, The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Sa'ud from Tradition to Terror, in which he posits a Saudi/Wahhabism conspiracy to take over all of Islam and spread terror throughout the entire world. As a result of his anti-Saudi comments, Schwartz was dismissed from his short-lived post as an editorial writer with the Voice of America at the beginning of July 2002, thus becoming a martyr in neoconservative circles.70 And as Thomas F. Ricks pointed out in his article in the Washington Post, the anti-Saudi bellicosity expressed by Murawiec 'represents a point of view that has growing currency within the Bush administration - especially on the staff of Vice President Cheney and in the Pentagon's civilian leadership - and among neoconservative writers and thinkers closely allied with administration policymakers.'71

By November 2002, the anti-Saudi theme had reached the mainstream - with an article in Newsweek, alleging financial support for the 9/11 terrorists coming from the Saudi royal family, and commentary on the subject by such leading figures in the Senate as Joseph Lieberman (D.-Conn.) , John McCain (R.-Ariz.), Charles Schumer (D-New York) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). 72

A war against all of Islam?

Bush administration policy has gone a long way but has still not completely reached what neoconservatives seek: a war of the U.S. versus all of Islam. According to Norman Podhoretz, doyen of the neoconservatives: 'Militant Islam today represents a revival of the expansionism by the sword' of Islam's early years.73 To survive resurgent Islam, in Podhoretz's view, the United States could not simply be on the defensive but would have to stamp out militant Islam at its very source in the Middle East. 'The regimes that richly deserve to be overthrown and replaced are not confined to the three singled-out members of the axis of evil. At a minimum, this axis should extend to Syria and Lebanon and Libya, as well as 'friends' of America like the Saudi royal family and Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, along with the Palestinian Authority, whether headed by Arafat or one of his henchmen.' Then, the U.S. would remake the entire region, which would entail forcibly re-educating the people to fall in line with the thinking of America's leaders. Podhoretz acknowledges that the people of the Middle East might, if given a free democratic choice, pick anti-American, anti-Israeli, leaders and policies. But he proclaims that 'there is a policy that can head it off' provided 'that we then have the stomach to impose a new political culture on the defeated parties. This is what we did directly and unapologetically in Germany and Japan after winning World War II.'74

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Forcible expulsion of the Palestinians necessitates war

Now let's return once more to the expulsion of the Palestinians, which as has been pointed out, is inextricably intertwined with a Middle Eastern war - or in Ben-Gurion's phrase, 'revolutionary times.' As the post-September 11 'war on terror' has heated up, the talk of forcibly 'transferring' the Palestinians has once again moved to the center of Israeli politics. According to Illan Pappe, a Jewish Israeli revisionist historian, 'You can see this new assertion talked about in Israel: the discourse of transfer and expulsion which had been employed by the extreme Right, is now the bon ton of the center.'75 Even the dean of Israel's revisionist historians, Benny Morris, explicitly endorsed the expulsion of the Palestinians in the event of war. 'This land is so small,' Morris exclaimed, 'that there isn't room for two peoples. In fifty or a hundred years, there will only be one state between the sea and the Jordan. That state must be Israel.' According to a recent poll conducted by Israel's Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, nearly one-half of Israelis support expulsion of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, and nearly one-third support expulsion of Israeli Arabs (three-fifths support 'encouraging' Israeli Arabs to leave).76

In April 2002, leading Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld held that a United States attack on Iraq would provide the cover for Prime Minister Sharon to forcibly remove the Palestinians from the West Bank. In Creveld's view, 'The expulsion of the Palestinians would require only a few brigades,' who would rely on 'heavy artillery.' Creveld continued: 'Israeli military experts estimate that such a war could be over in just eight days. If the Arab states do not intervene, it will end with the Palestinians expelled and Jordan in ruins. If they do intervene, the result will be the same, with the main Arab armies destroyed. ... Israel would stand triumphant, as it did in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973.'77

Although Creveld did not express any opposition to this impending expulsion, in September 2002, a group of Israeli academics did issue a declaration of opposition to such a development, stating that 'We are deeply worried by indications that the 'fog of war' could be exploited by the Israeli government to commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up to full-fledged ethnic cleansing.'78

The declaration continued: 'The Israeli ruling coalition includes parties that promote 'transfer' of the Palestinian population as a solution to what they call 'the demographic problem'. Politicians are regularly quoted in the media as suggesting forcible expulsion, most recently MKs Michael Kleiner and Benny Elon, as reported on Yediot Ahronot website on September 19, 2002. In a recent interview in Ha'aretz, Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon described the Palestinians as a 'cancerous manifestation' and equated the military actions in the Occupied Territories with 'chemotherapy', suggesting that more radical 'treatment' may be necessary. Prime Minister Sharon has backed this 'assessment of reality'. Escalating racist demagoguery concerning the Palestinian citizens of Israel may indicate the scope of the crimes that are possibly being contemplated.' 79

In the fall of 2002, the Jordanian government, fearing that Israel might push the Palestinian population into Jordan during the anicipated United States attack on Iraq, asked for public assurances from the Israeli government that such a move would not be made. The Sharon government, however, has refused to publicly renounce an expulsion policy.80

Is war the chance to annex oil regions?

As is now clearly apparent, the 'war on terrorism' was never intended to be a war to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities. September 11 simply provided a pretext for government leaders to implement long-term policy plans. As has been pointed out elsewhere, including in my own writing, oil interests and American imperialists looked upon the war as a way to incorporate oil rich Central Asia within the American imperial orbit.81 While this has been achieved, the American-sponsored government of Hamid Karzai is in a perilous situation. Karzai's power seems to be limited to Kabul, where he must be protected by American bodyguards. The rest of Afghanistan is being battled over by various war lords and even the resurgent Taliban.82 Instead of putting forth the effort to help consolidate its position in Central Asia, the United States focus has shifted to gaining control of the Middle East.

It now appears that the primary policymakers in the Bush administration have been the Likudnik neoconservatives all along. Control of Central Asia is secondary to control of the Middle East. In fact, for the leading neoconservatives, the war on Afghanistan may simply have been a necessary move to reach their ultimate and crucial goal, which was U.S. control of the Middle East in the interests of Israel. This is quite analogous to what revisionist historians have presented as Franklin D. Roosevelt's 'back door to war' approach to World War II. Roosevelt sought war with Japan in order to be able to fight Germany, and he provoked Japan into attacking U.S. colonial possessions in the Far East. Once the United States got into war through the back door, Roosevelt focused the American military effort on Germany.83

But what about the American desire for controlling Iraqi oil? Iraq possesses the world's second largest proven oil reserves, next to Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, many experts believe that Iraq possesses vast undiscovered oil reserves, making it the near equal of Saudi Arabia. Most war critics allege that what motivates the United States war policy is the desire of American oil companies to gain control of Iraqi oil. And it has also been argued, largely by proponents of the war, that once in control of Iraqi oil, the United States could inundate the world with cheap oil, thus boosting the American and world economies out of recession.84

 

Charter of the United Nations

CHAPTER VI - PACIFIC SETTLEMENT OF DISPUTES

Article 33

1. The parties to any dispute, the continuance of which is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security, shall, first of all, seek a solution by negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements, or other peaceful means of their own choice.

Although these arguments have a prima facie plausibility, the oil motive for war has a couple of serious flaws. First, there do not seem to be significant oil industry representatives or big economic moguls clamoring for war. According to oil analyst Anthony Sampson, 'oil companies have had little influence on U.S. policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate.' 85 Moreover, it is not apparent that war would be good for the oil industry or the world economy. Why would oil interest want to take the risk of war that could entail a regional conflagration threatening their existing investments in the Gulf? And although Iraq does have significant oil reserves, there is no reason to believe that these would have an immediate impact on the oil market. Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, points out that 'in terms of production capacity, Iraq represents just 3 percent of the world's total. Its oil exports are on the same level as Nigeria's. Even if Iraq doubled its capacity, that could take more than a decade. In the meantime, growth elsewhere would limit Iraq's eventual share to perhaps 5 percent, significant but still in the second tier of oil nations.'86 And a war poses a great risk to the oil industry in the entire Gulf region. As William D. Nordhaus, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale and a member of the President Jimmy Carter's Council of Economic Advisers, writes:

'War in the Persian Gulf might produce a major upheaval in petroleum markets, either because of physical damage or because political events lead oil producers to restrict production after the war.'

'A particularly worrisome outcome would be a wholesale destruction of oil facilities in Iraq, and possibly in Kuwait, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In the first Persian Gulf War, Iraq destroyed much of Kuwait's oil wells and other petroleum infrastructure as it withdrew. The sabotage shut down Kuwaiti oil production for close to a year, and prewar levels of oil production were not reached until 1993 - nearly two years after the end of the war in February 1991.'

'Unless the Iraqi leadership is caught completely off-guard in a new war, Iraq's forces would probably be able to destroy Iraq's oil production facilities. The strategic rationale for such destruction is unclear in peacetime, but such an act of self-immolation cannot be ruled out in wartime. Contamination of oil facilities in the Gulf region by biological or chemical means would pose even greater threats to oil markets.' 87

Nordhaus' forecasts may be excessively bleak. However, the fact remains that experts cannot simply gauge what will happen. War poses tremendous risk. In his evaluation of the possible economic impact of a war on Iraq, economic analyst Robert J. Samuelson concludes: 'If it's peace and prosperity, then war makes no sense. But if fighting now prevents a costlier war later, it makes much sense.'88

None of this to deny that certain oil companies might benefit from a Middle East war, just as some businesses profit from any war. Particular oil companies certainly could stand to benefit from the American control of Iraq, since under a post-war United States-sponsored Iraqi government, American companies could be expected to be favored and gain the most lucrative oil deals. However, that particular oil companies could derive some benefits does not undercut the overall argument that war is a great risk for the American oil industry and the American economy as a whole,

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New American colonialism

An American imperialist strategic motive might be more plausible than the economic interests of the oil industry and the economy in general. In short, instead of the current informal influence over the oil producing areas of the Middle East, the United States would be moving onto direct control, either with a puppet government in Iraq providing enough leverage for the United States to dictate to the rest of the Middle East, or actual direct American control of other parts of the Middle East as well as Iraq. Such a situation would presumably provide greater security for the oil flow than exists under the current situation, where the client states have some autonomy and face the possibility of being overthrown by anti-American forces. Neoconservative Robert Kagan maintains, 'When we have economic problems, it's been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies.'89

 

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Neoconservatives often try to gloss over this projected American colonialism by claiming that the United States would be simply spreading democracy. They imply that 'democratic' Middle East governments would support American policies, including support of Israel and an oil policy oriented toward the welfare of the United States. However, given popular anti-Zionist and anti-American opinion in the region, it seems very unlikely that governments representative of the popular will would ever pursue such policies. Only a non-representative dictatorship could be pro-American and pro-Israeli. Pro-Zionist U.S. Congessman Tom Lantos put it candidly in calming the worries of an Israeli member of the Knesset: 'You won't have any problem with Saddam. We'll be rid of the bastard soon enough. And in his place we'll install a pro-Western dictator, who will be good for us and for you.'90

Control of the Middle East oil supply would certainly augment United States dominance of the world. However, it should be noted that American imperialists not in any way linked to the Likudnik position on Israel - such as Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft - are cool to such a Middle East war.91 If such a war policy would be an obvious boon to American imperialism, why isn't it avidly sought by leading American imperialists?

It is apparent that direct colonial control of a country's internal affairs would be a significant break with American policy of the past half century. America might have client states and an informal empire, but the direct imperialism entailed by an occupation of the Middle East would be, as Mark Danner put it in an article in the New York Times, 'wholly foreign to the modesty of containment, the ideology of a status-quo power that lay at the heart of American strategy for half a century.'92

Moreover, a fundamental concern of American global policy has been the maintenance of peace and stability in the world. The United States preaches probity and restraint to other countries regarding the use of force. Hence, for the United States to launch a pre-emptive strike on a country would undoubtedly weaken its ability to restrain other countries, who would also see a need to preemptively strike at their foes. In short, the launching of preemptive war would act to destabilize the very world order that the United States allegedly seeks to preserve in its 'war on terrorism.' In fact, world stability is often seen as central to the global economic interdependence that is the key to American prosperity.93

Hegemony - a danger for the US

Since America already exercises considerable power in the oil producing Persian Gulf region through its client states - Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates - it would be difficult to understand why American imperialists would make a radical change from their status quo policy. Would the benefits to be gained from direct control of the region outweigh the risks involved? War could unleash virulent anti-American forces that could destabilize America's Middle East client states and cause terrorist attacks on the American homeland. Moreover, American military occupation of Iraq, not to mention other Middle Eastern countries, would place a heavy burden on the United States government and people.94 Would such a burden be acceptable to the American people? Would they support the brutal policies that would be needed to suppress any opposition? Certainly, the French people would not support the colonial empire in Algeria. And even in the totalitarian Soviet Union, popular opinion forced the abandonment of its imperialistic venture in Afghanistan, which contributed to the break-up of the entire Soviet empire. In short, the move from indirect to direct control of the Middle East would seem to be a grave risk for those individuals simply concerned about enhancing American imperial power, in that it could undermine America's entire imperial project.

Not only would American direct control of the Middle East be burdensome to the American people, but it would undoubtedly engender a backlash from other countries of the world. This would seem almost a law of international relations - the balance of power politics that goes back to at least the time of the Peloponnesian War. As Christopher Layne points out:

'The historical record shows that in the real world, hegemony never has been a winning grand strategy. The reason is simple: The primary aim of states in international politics is to survive and maintain their sovereignty. And when one state becomes too powerful - becomes a hegemon - the imbalance of power in its favor is a menace to the security of all other states. So throughout modern international political history, the rise of a would-be hegemon always has triggered the formation of counter-hegemonic alliances by other states.'95

 

Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions, relating to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts, 8 June 1977

Part IV. Civilian Population

Art 13. Protection of the civilian population

1. The civilian population and individual civilians shall enjoy general protection against the dangers arising from military operations. To give effect to this protection, the following rules shall be observed in all circumstances.

2. The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.

3. Civilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this part, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

The British Empire, which might seem an exception from this rule of the inevitable failure of hegemons, achieved its success because of its caution. Owen Harries, editor of the National Interest, has pointed out that England's imperial successes stemmed from its rather cautious approach.. 'England,' observed Harries in the Spring 2001 National Interest, 'was 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: 'I dread our own power and our own ambition. I dread being too much dreaded.' Notes Harries, 'I believe the United States is now in dire need of such a warning.'96 Obviously, the American take-over of the major oil producing area of the world would be anything but a cautious move. It would characterize a classic example of what historian Paul Kennedy refers to as 'imperial over-stretch.' Tied down in the Middle East, the United States would find it more difficult to counter threats to its power in the rest of the world. Even now there is the question as to whether the United States military has the capability to fight two wars, a problem that has now come to the fore with the bellicosity of North Korea.97 In essence, it does not seem apparent that intelligent American imperialists concerned solely about the power status of the United States, which holds preeminence in the world right now, would want to take the risk of a Middle East war and occupation.

The previous information would lead to the conclusion that not only are the neoconservatives obviously in the forefront of the pro-war bandwagon, but that pro-Israeli Likudnik motives would seem to be the most logical, probably the only logical, reason for a war. As this essay has noted, Likudniks have always sought to deal in a radical fashion with the Palestinian problem in the occupied - - a problem that has gotten worse, from their standpoint, as a result of demographics. A United States war in the Middle East at the present time provides the window of opportunity to permanently solve this problem and augment Israel's dominance in the region. The existing perilous situation, as Likud thinkers see it, would justify the taking of substantial risks. And a look at history shows that countries whose leaders believed they were faced with grave problems pursued risky policies, such as Japan did in 1941.98 In contrast, no such dire threats face the United States. American imperialists should be relatively satisfied with the status quo and averse to taking any risks that might jeopardize it.

Summary

Finally, let me briefly summarize what I have written. The deductions drawn in this essay would seem quite obvious but are rarely broached in public because the issue of Jewish power is a taboo. As the intrepid Joseph Sobran has put it: 'It's permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish establishment is off-limits.'99

So in a check for 'hate' or 'anti-Semitism,' let's recapitulate the major points made in this essay. First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks. Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives have argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the September 11, 2001 atrocities. After September 11, neoconservatives have taken the lead in advocating such a war, and they hold influential positions in the Bush administration regarding foreign policy and national security affairs.

If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary about this thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business, ideology, or support for a foreign country. In his 'Farewell Address,' George Washington expressed the view that the greatest danger to American foreign relations would be the 'passionate attachment' of influential Americans to a foreign country, who would orient United States foreign policy for the benefit of that foreign country to the detriment of the United States. It is such a situation that currently exists. And we can only look with trepidation to the near future when, in the ominous words of British journalist Robert Fisk, 'There is a firestorm coming.'100

Stephen Sniegoski received a Ph.D. in United States History from the University of Maryland. He publishes articles dealing with history, foreign policy and education.

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