- WASHINGTON - There is growing
debate in the United States over whether Iraq's Saddam Hussein should
be the next target of the war on terrorism.
- So far U.S. President George W. Bush has stopped short
of promising to topple Saddam. But this week he said Afghanistan is just
the beginning of a wider war on terrorism.
- "There are other terrorists who threaten America
and our friends," he said, "and there are other nations willing
to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all these threats
- Evidence of an Iraqi link to the terrorist attacks in
the U.S is slender. It's based on just one meeting between Mohammed Atta,
a leader of the suicide hijackers, and an Iraqi intelligence agent in
Prague last spring.
- But at an arms control conference in Geneva, a top U.S.
official suggested Iraq may be targeted because of its weapons of mass
- John Bolton
- "Beyond al-Qaeda, the most serious concern is Iraq.
Iraq's biological weapons program remains a serious threat to international
security," said U.S. under-secretary of state, John Bolton.
- Iraqi delegate Samir al Nina said the statement shows
the Americans want to attack Iraq and they are using this as a pretext.
- Thomas Donnelly, director of a conservative think tank,
says the huge deployment of U.S. troops in the Gulf War won't be needed
this time. He and others are promoting an Afghan style campaign: heavy
bombing, extensive use of commandos on the ground and an effort to get
the country's Kurdish and Shiite minorities to rebel against Saddam.
- Thomas Donnolly
- "It will take a very rapid and violent campaign
and we should be prepared for much worse that we have seen in Afghanistan,"
- But Phyllis Bennis, an expert on the Middle East, says
a U.S. attack designed to overthrow Saddam would infuriate Arab allies
and destabilize the region.
- "Street demonstrations, other kinds of street heat
would dramatically increase. And some of those regimes who already face
a crisis of legitimacy would face an even greater crisis and some of them
might even be in danger of being overthrown."
- Bush and his advisers are mindful of those concerns,
but are doing nothing to discourage talk of a phase-two attack on Iraq.
- One reason may be that the talk alone is serving a useful
purpose: Saddam Hussein has been very quiet over the past few months.
- Written by CBC News Online staff http://cbc.ca/cgi-bin/view?/news/2001/11/23/iraq011123