The Mideast Threatby Avi Lipkin & John Loeffler World Affairs Editor
During the last half of 1997, the Middle East has been sliding off the illusory, short-lived stability it experienced as a result of the so-called peace process. Several major changes have been taking place of late, which will affect not only the future of the State of Israel but also the security of the United States and the West as well.
Situation in Iraq
First, Saddam Hussein will not be going away at any time in the near future, and any window of opportunity for taking action against him has slammed shut.
As a result of the recent confrontations between the UN (read U.S.) and Iraq, the entire Islamic world is now galvanized in its opposition to any kind of political or military action against Iraq, by the U.S. or the West in general. There is no more much-touted "Arab-American" alliance against Iraq, which existed prior to September 29th, 1997.
The Islamic world now empathizes with the man who was directly responsible for the deaths of a million Muslims in the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 and the deaths of, according to Saddam’s own calculations, 1.5 million Iraqis as a result of Desert Shield, Desert Storm and the resulting UN sanctions imposed on Iraq. The Iraqi regime blames the U.S. and the American people for these deaths, even though they resulted from Saddam’s actions.
Second, Saddam’s weapons-of-mass-destruction programs remain intact. He has managed to stay one step ahead of UN inspectors and keep his weapons concealed from them, whether that means hiding them in his own palaces or giving them into the care of PLO leader Yassir Arafat to house them in the Palestinian Authority’s embassy-a large estate near Baghdad-which also remains off-limits to UNSCOM inspectors.
German intelligence estimates that, despite UN supervision, Iraq will have 4,000 tons of chemical and biological weapons within six years. Part of this stockpile will invariably be stored in Saddam Hussein’s 70 palaces and residences.
As of the first of the year, the French Defence Ministry publication TTU, citing American sources, indicated that Moscow has been aiding Saddam in concealing weapons. Moscow has routinely been threatening to withhold payment salary coupons from Russian supervisors working on the UNSCOM team unless they inform Moscow about the places they are to inspect ahead of time. This has enabled Saddam to take action before the arrival of inspectors and conceal the weapons.
Third, as a result of the most recent confrontational failure, the possibility of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) being employed in global terrorism is now sharply heightened. These include chemical, biological, and nuclear.
In the first week of December, 1997, U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen explained on radio and TV how Saddam Hussein had enough biological and chemical weapons to wipe out the entire human race.
He added that 28 major U.S. cities were known to be targeted for "nationalist and religious" terrorist attack in which weapons of mass destruction would be used. In late 1997 President Clinton extended by executive order a state of emergency (originally put into effect 1994) dealing with the high probability of WMD terrorism in this country. The mainline media never reported this seemly important news story.
Shortly thereafter, he ordered that all military personnel be inoculated against Anthrax, one of two diseases readily available for warfare purposes; the other being plague. One must begin to ask what it is the Clinton administration knows that we don't.
Also note that inoculating the military alone leaves targeted civilian populations in the United States unprotected. The most the military would be able to do under serious biochemical attack is go into areas where people are dying and keep order or stack bodies.
It's a horrifying thought, compounded by the realization that the Clinton administration’s "stand-down" approach to maintaining the U.S. nuclear arsenal in service-ready condition (thanks to the alleged end of the "Cold War") is compromising our ability to keep biochemical terrorist countries in check. The United States’ nuclear capacity was probably the key factor which prevented Saddam from using biochemical weapons on Gulf War troops. He understood clearly that Baghdad would be nuked if he did.
Our own nuclear arsenal is slowly deteriorating into uselessness. The U.S. is prohibited by the ABM treaty of 1972 from testing weapons to see if they maintain functionality. At the same time, we know that Russia has frequently broken this treaty in the past and a seismic "event" at Novaya Semlya in Russia last year provides serious evidence that the Russians continue to test their nuclear weapons.
In my [Avi Lipkin's] book, Is Fanatic Islam a Global Threat? I discuss terrorist actions like the counterfeiting of the U.S. dollar, which continues today in the Middle East's effort to damage the U.S. economy, the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, as well as the downing of TWA 800.
A year prior to the downing of TWA 800, I was publicizing global intelligence sources warning that fanatic terrorists intended to bring down large U.S. jetliners by means of bombs and missiles. To date, we still don't know what downed TWA 800 and the U.S. government's evidence management, especially in preventing dozens of qualified eyewitnesses from testifying before the National Transportation Safety Board about what they saw, looks more like a massive cover-up than an investigation.
There are terrorist hit teams in the U.S. and worldwide, placed by Islamic countries other than Iraq-particularly Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, the Palestinians, and over 300 Fuqra Black Muslim hit squads. A pattern is emerging that Iraq is in the forefront-the vanguard of this international terrorism. Iran's terrorism of choice, however, is to recruit terrorists from other countries and train them abroad. That way if a terrorist action goes bad, Iran will not be directly implicated.
In 1981, Israel exercised a preemptive air strike and destroyed Iraq's OSIRAK nuclear reactor. Israeli military assessments at the time indicated that Iraq was planning to assemble an invincible strategic machine that would inevitably allow Iraq to dominate Kuwait, the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and possibly Syria.
Naturally, Saddam Hussein promised to expunge Israel from the map. He saw himself-and still does-as the reincarnation of Saladin, the Muslim hero who expunged Christian crusaders from the Middle East 700 years ago.
At the time, Saddam was in the throes of a war he had started with neighboring Iran. Israel surgically took out this reactor just before it was to come on-line, incurring the world's wrath. President Reagan was furious with Israel. In retrospect, President Bush was probably thankful that Desert Shield and Desert Storm did not have to contend with an atomically armed Iraq.
In 1986, U.S. Naval Intelligence had some alarming information about Iraqi development of biological and chemical weapons, which it was planning to use against Israel. When Naval Intelligence refused to share this information with Israeli intelligence, as per agreement between the U.S. and Israel, a young naval intelligence officer asked his superiors about this. His superiors replied, "We'll pick up the Jews off the beaches of Tel-Aviv."
This young officer, Jonathan Pollard, was later arrested and charged with espionage for providing the information to Israel that had been promised under an intelligence-sharing agreement. He is still incarcerated in December 1997 as a spy for keeping America's word to Israel.
In April 1990, Saddam Hussein announced he had enough biochemical weapons to erase half of Israel from the map.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak signed an agreement with Saddam Hussein that Egypt would attack Israel two weeks after Iraq did, but Iraq miscalculated and mistakenly attacked Kuwait, causing Egypt great political damage, thereby negating or disrupting the Iraqi-Egyptian alliance to attack Israel.
When "Stormin' Norman" Schwartzkopf was somewhere on the road to Baghdad, President George Bush ordered him to halt, do an about-face and leave Saddam in power. Tragic mistake. Saddam was teetering on the brink of collapse and the U.S. pulled him back from it. The Iraqi people could have been saved over one million people dying from food and medicine sanctions imposed by the UN ad infinitum.
Although it's not saying so publicly, the Clinton administration recognizes the imminent danger of terrorist attack. The Islamic world recognizes that it must eliminate the U.S. and the West from influencing the Middle East if it is to achieve its goals for Israel-the annihilation of same. Peace in the Middle East has never been a goal of the majority of the Islamic world.
The only way it can accomplish this is through demoralization of the U.S. populace, which in turn would force the U.S. into isolationism and keep it from intervention in the Middle East. The bombing of the twin trade towers in New York was intended to kill 20,000 Americans, dwarfing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.