Category Archive 'News Articles'
08.11.05

U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation

News Articles, Outside Commentary, Syria


More on the developing Syria saga, from Voice of America News.

Note this statement by Secretary of State Rice:

“With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.â€?

There’s another nation in the Middle East that was being characterized in much the same way, prior to being invaded by the U.S. Another thing happened before the U.S. invaded Iraq as well, and that was the passing of a U.N. Security Council resolution demanding that Iraq comply with UN weapons inspections and disclosure requirements or face “serious consequences”. This one against Syria threatens to consider further action if necessary. My next post will be a summary of the resolution.


U.N. Demands Syria’s Cooperation

04 November 2005

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The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls on Syria to cooperate in the investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri. Mr. Hariri was an opponent of Syria’s nearly three-decades long occupation in Lebanon. He and twenty other people were killed in a February 2005 car bombing in Beirut.

A report prepared for the U.N. Security Council implicated both Lebanese and Syrian high-ranking officials in the murders. The report said Syria failed to cooperate and that several Syrian officials tried to mislead investigators by giving them false or inaccurate information.

The resolution demands that Syria detain any officials or individuals that U.N. investigators suspect of involvement in the Hariri murder and make them available for questioning. It also bans travel for individuals designated as suspects in the assassination and freezes their overseas assets.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.N. Security Council resolution “sends a strong signal to Syria�:

“The resolution tells the Syrians in no uncertain terms, in very strong language, that they should not interfere in Lebanese affairs in any way. . . . .it allows the Council to come back to consider further action should that be necessary; should Syria not comply.�

The resolution, said Ms. Rice, “is the only way to compel the Syrian government to accept the just demands of the United Nations and to cooperate fully with the investigationâ€?:

“With our decision today, we show that Syria has isolated itself from the international community through its false statements, its support for terrorism, its interference in the affairs of its neighbors, and its destabilizing behavior in the Middle East.â€?

Secretary of State Rice says Syria needs to make “a strategic decision” to change its behavior. “Until that day comes,â€? she said, “we in the international community must remain united.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

06.11.05

Much Ado About Syria, Pt.4– Syria: U.S. troops killed Syrian soldier

News Articles, Syria


Here are two different stories about the same news item– namely, the report that a Syrian general who was giving a tour of their border security efforts told reporters that Syrian troops have been fired upon on more than one occasion, and killed on at least one, by U.S. troops.

Both articles touch upon most of the same elements: that Syria has made overt efforts at border security and is showing them off to dispel accusations to the contrary; that the U.S. was willing and ready to do whatever it felt necessary in that area in pursuit of its anti-terror aims; and things are hot at the Iraq/Syria border. This last point is addressed more in the Telegraph (UK) article than in the USA Today/AP article.

For what it’s worth, the AP writer apparently was unable to pin down the Syrian general’s full name, and, given that the Telegraph does have a full name, I’m inclined to think they have it right. Which one has his rank right is anyone’s guess.


Syria accuses US of launching lethal raids over its borders
By Harry de Quetteville in Baghouz
telegraph.co.uk
(Filed: 29/10/2005)

Syria has accused the United States of launching lethal military raids into its territory from Iraq, escalating the diplomatic crisis between the two countries as the Bush administration seeks to step up pressure on President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Major General Amid Suleiman, a Syrian officer, said that American cross-border attacks into Syria had killed at least two border guards, wounded several more and prompted an official complaint to the American embassy in Damascus.

He made the allegations during an official press tour of Syrian security forces on the Iraqi border, which the US claims is a barely guarded passage into Iraq for hardcore foreign jihadis.

While showing off what he said were beefed-up Syrian border measures designed to blunt those criticisms, including new police stations and checkpoints, Maj Gen Suleiman alleged that his own border forces had come under repeated American attack.

“Incidents have taken place with casualties on my surveillance troops,” he said, near the Euphrates river border crossing between Syria and Iraq. “Many US projectiles have landed here. In this area alone, two soldiers and two civilians have been killed by the American attacks.”

The charge follows leaks in Washington that the US has already engaged in military raids into Syria and is contemplating launching special forces operations on Syrian soil to eliminate insurgent networks before they reach Iraq.
Read the rest of this entry »

06.11.05

Much Ado About Syria, Pt.2– U.S. Weighed Military Strikes; Syria Gets Surly

News Articles, Syria


While the U.S. considering military strikes may be the more startling news in this next article, I didn’t find it to be the most interesting. More interesting is the fact that Syria has become increasingly aggravated by the U.S. government’s constant one-two punch of demands and disses, which has been going on for quite a long while now. As you can see in the article, this constant rain of disapproval and pressure has gotten on Syria’s nerves to the point where they have withdrawn their cooperation in security and intelligence operations, saying that they will gladly resume cooperation if they can just get some public appreciation for the significant help they apparently have provided in matters related to the “war on terror” and the war in Iraq.


US weighed military strikes in Syria
Yahoo! News

NEW YORK (AFP) – The United States recently debated launching military strikes inside Syria against camps used by insurgents operating in neighboring Iraq, a US magazine reported.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice successfully opposed the idea at a meeting of senior American officials held on October 1, Newsweek reported, citing unnamed US government sources.

Rice reportedly argued that diplomatic isolation was a more effective approach, with a UN report pending that may blame Syria for the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

The United States has accused Damascus of allowing insurgents to move arms and fighters across the Syrian border into Iraq and of destabilizing the region.

US troops in Iraq have been waging an offensive in recent weeks against insurgents in western towns near the Syrian border.

The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said last month that “our patience is running out” with Syria.

The same article also reported that Syria had ended all security and intelligence cooperation with the United States several months ago after growing frustrated with persistent public criticism from Washington.

Syria’s ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha, told Newsweek that his government continued to detain Islamic extremists and remained willing to resume cooperation if the public bashing stopped.

“We are willing to re-engage the moment you want but one condition,” the magazine quotes Moustapha as saying.

“You have to acknowledge that we are helping.”

Moustapha also confirmed an account from a US intelligence official that Damascus had been angered when Washington exposed one of its operatives.

While criticizing Syria in public statements, the United States had privately praised Damascus for handing over the half brother of Saddam Hussein, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, earlier in the year, the magazine reported.

Moustapha said Syria could do more to assist the United States if intelligence was shared as in the past.

The magazine reported that some US intelligence officials believed Washington now was losing out on vital information. Syrian cooperation in the last few years allegedly had helped avert two possible attacks against US targets, including a Navy base in Bahrain.

One unnamed intelligence official told the magazine that US pressure on the Syrian leadership could prove counter-productive and that Washington may be “radicalizing the country.”

06.11.05

Much Ado About Syria, Pt.1– Clashes at the Border

News Articles, Syria


Here is the first of several items about the growing geopolitical drama concerning Syria, Iraq’s neighbor to the west. Syria, of course, is on the PNAC’s list of nations whose leaders should be made to change their ways, or suffer the consequences. This goes back at least to their Letter To President Bush On The War On Terrorism, sent 9 days after the September 11th attacks. That letter is a five-item list of requests vis-a-vie the then-brand-new War on Terror(ism). Iraq is of course on that list, and, via the item “Hezbollah”, so is Syria. Here’s an excerpt:

We believe the administration should demand that Iran and Syria immediately cease all military, financial, and political support for Hezbollah and its operations. Should Iran and Syria refuse to comply, the administration should consider appropriate measures of retaliation against these known state sponsors of terrorism.

In December 2004 PNAC Chairman William Kristol, in his capacity as Editor of the Weekly Standard, wrote the following, in an article titled Getting Serious About Syria:

By Bush Doctrine standards, Syria is a hostile regime. It is permitting and encouraging activities that are killing not just our Iraqi friends but also, and quite directly, American troops. So we have a real Syria problem.

What to do? We have tried sweet talk (on Secretary Powell’s trip to Damascus in May 2003) and tough talk (on the visit three months ago by Assistant Secretary of Defense Peter Rodman and Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt). Talk has failed. Syria is a weak country with a weak regime. We now need to take action to punish and deter Assad’s regime.

It would be good, of course, if Secretary Rumsfeld had increased the size and strength of our army so that we now had more options. He didn’t, and we must use the assets we have. Still, real options exist. We could bomb Syrian military facilities; we could go across the border in force to stop infiltration; we could occupy the town of Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, a few miles from the border, which seems to be the planning and organizing center for Syrian activities in Iraq; we could covertly help or overtly support the Syrian opposition (pro-human rights demonstrators recently tried to take to the streets of Damascus to protest the regime’s abuses). This hardly exhausts all the possible forms of pressure and coercion. But it’s time to get serious about dealing with Syria as part of winning in Iraq, and in the broader Middle East.

I could find a lot more quotes, but suffice it to say, the neoconservatives in the PNAC have been agitating for action against Syria for some time. And now, their wishes may be coming true.


Officials: Syria Could Be Site of Next Struggle

By JAMES RISEN & DAVID E. SANGER
The New York Times
(Link to original story)

WASHINGTON — A series of clashes in the last year between U.S. and Syrian troops, including a prolonged firefight this summer that killed several Syrians, has raised the prospect that cross-border military operations may become a dangerous new front in the Iraq war, according to current and former military and government officials.

The firefight, between Army Rangers and Syrian troops along the border with Iraq, was the most serious of the conflicts with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, according to U.S. and Syrian officials.

It illustrated the dangers facing U.S. troops as Washington tries to apply more political and military pressure on a country that President Bush last week labeled one of the “allies of convenience” with Islamic extremists.

One of Bush’s most senior aides, who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject, said that so far U.S. military forces in Iraq had moved right up to the border to cut off the entry of insurgents, but he insisted that they had refrained from going over it.

But other officials, who say they got their information in the field or by talking to Special Operations commanders, say that as U.S. efforts to cut off the flow of fighters have intensified, those operations have spilled over the border — sometimes by accident, sometimes by design.
Read the rest of this entry »

01.11.05

Article: Conservatives and exiles [begin to consider that they may have to think about having to] desert war campaign

Iraq, News Articles, Outside Analysis


Picking up where we left off, the following is another article about conservatives shedding their confidence in the effort to bring democracy to the Middle East via the war in Iraq. This article serves up more than our last entry on this subject, however, in that it focuses in part on remarks made at a conference hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an organization closely associated with the PNAC.

The title of this article is fairly misleading in my opinion–the so-called “conservatives” in this article don’t appear to me to be deserting the war campaign, at least not based on what is reported. There is clearly a lot of disappointment as to how the war has been conducted and doubt about Iraq’s future prospects, but I didn’t read anyone say that they oppose the war or think the U.S. should exit anytime soon.

To their credit, that is in line with the neoconservative angle on the Iraq war. Under the neoconservative framework, Iraq really has to be won by the U.S.– or at least needs to be a demonstrable success of some sort. (If for no other reason than because it was supposed to be a “show of power” that would result in a greater level of respect/fear for the U.S. throughout the Middle East, and in troublesome regimes around the globe.) And despite the oft-repeated contentions by pro-war pundits that “Iraq is better off without Saddam” (“no matter how things turn out” usually being unstated, but implicit), and citations of various indicators of progress in this “developing democracy”, this article makes it clear that many of the war’s most ardent supporters are seriously concerned that the Iraq adventure might turn out to be a near-total failure. Whether it’s concern about fundamental flaws in the structure of the developing Iraqi government, or worry about the effect the 2006 congressional election will have on the political will power of Bush and the Republicans, neoconservatives and conservative war supporters appear to be getting their heads around the idea that the Iraq war may ultimately be a lost cause.

The article was originally published by Financial Times; I’m archiving it in full here for educational and research purposes.


Conservatives and exiles desert war campaign

By Guy Dinmore

10/11/05 “Financial Times” — — Even among the strongest advocates in Washington of the war in Iraq there is a sense of alarm these days, with harsh criticism directed particularly at the draft constitution, which they see as a betrayal of principles and a recipe for disintegration of the Iraqi state.

Expressions of concern among conservatives and former Iraqi exiles, seen also in the rising disillusionment of the American public, reflect a widening gap with the Bush administration and its claims of “incredible political progress� in Iraq.

Over the past week, two of Washington’s most influential conservative think-tanks, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Heritage Foundation, held conferences on Iraq where the mood among speakers, including Iraqi officials, was decidedly sombre.

Kanan Makiya, an outspoken proponent of the war who is documenting the horrors of the Saddam regime in his Iraq Memory Foundation, opened the AEI meeting by admitting to many “dashed dreams�.

He said he and other opposition figures had seriously underestimated the powers of ethnic and sectarian self-interest, as well as the survivability of the “constantly morphing and flexibleâ€? Ba’ath party. He also blamed the Bush administration for poor planning and committing too few troops.

The proposed constitution, to be taken to a referendum on Saturday, was a “profoundly destabilising document� that could “deal a death blow� to Iraq, he said.

The constitution was a recipe for greater chaos, said Rend Rahim, a former exile who had been designated as Iraq’s first postwar ambassador to the US. Unless revised, it would lead to such a devolution of power that the central government would barely exist, she said.

Qubad Talabani, Washington representative of the Kurdistan regional government, delivered a stinging indictment of the central government that echoed the growing divisions in the ruling alliance of Shia and Kurds.

Danielle Pletka, senior analyst at AEI and conference moderator, called the constitution deeply flawed, describing it as the result of political machinations between Iraqis and Americans. She said the process had been reduced to a benchmark for the exit of US troops.

With growing numbers of Americans wanting an early withdrawal from Iraq, Mrs Pletka’s remarks reflect the concerns of conservative ideologues that the Bush administration will succumb to internal pressures and pull out prematurely.
Read the rest of this entry »

28.02.04

Richard Perle Resigns From Advisory Panel

News Articles


"We are now approaching a long presidential election campaign, in the course of which issues on which I have strong views will be widely discussed and debated," Perle wrote. "I would not wish those views to be attributed to you or the President at any time, and especially not during a presidential campaign."

—Richard Perle

NOTE: This has to be counted as a victory for the forces of PNAC opposition. Richard Perle is a central figure in the modern neo-conservative movement, and he now feels that his presence in the administration would be a political detriment to Bush’s re-election. Neo-cons have gone from being unheard of to being unpopular in the span of just about a year. It was about 11 months ago that the slide began—in fact, on the 3rd day of this site’s existence, I posted this entry discussing Perle’s then-resignation as Chairman of the board from which he has now resigned completely.

Here’s hoping that the rest of the PNACers in the administration come to similar conclusions.


Richard Perle Resigns From Advisory Panel

Controversial Figure Quits Advisory Panel Post

W A S H I N G T O N, Feb. 25� A controversial associate of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has resigned from his seat on a key Pentagon advisory panel, ABCNEWS has learned.


Richard Perle, a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration’s national security policies, informed Rumsfeld more than two weeks ago he was quitting the Defense Policy Board. He confirmed the decision in a letter to the defense chief last Wednesday.

"We are now approaching a long presidential election campaign, in the course of which issues on which I have strong views will be widely discussed and debated," Perle wrote. "I would not wish those views to be attributed to you or the President at any time, and especially not during a presidential campaign."


An Outspoken Figure

Perle is a leading figure of the "neo-conservative" ideological school…

(continued)

16.08.03

A Debate Over U.S. ‘Empire’ Builds in Unexpected Circles

News Articles, Outside Analysis


We at PNAC.info won’t pretend to take full credit for this happening…but we’ll take partial credit. 😉

A Debate Over U.S. ‘Empire’ Builds in Unexpected Circles

By Dan Morgan
The Washington Post
Washington Post original (will expire)

Sunday 10 August 2003

At forums sponsored by policy think tanks, on radio talk shows and around Cleveland Park dinner tables, one topic has been hotter than the weather in Washington this summer: Has the United States become the very “empire” that the republic’s founders heartily rejected?

Liberal scholars have been raising the question but, more strikingly, so have some Republicans with impeccable conservative credentials.

For example, C. Boyden Gray, former counsel to President George H.W. Bush, has joined a small group that is considering ways to “educate Americans about the dangers of empire and the need to return to our founding traditions and values,” according to an early draft of a proposed mission statement.

Full story…

20.07.03

From Heroes To Targets

News Articles


Salon.com is a decidedly left-leaning media source, but I found this article to be a well-written examination of the distance between the neocon/PNAC vision of how the war on Iraq would turn out, and reality. It’s quite a distance.

I haven’t been posting a lot of stories about how the war over there is failing, even though I read a lot of those. No point in beating a dead horse, really—and this isn’t an anti-war site as much as it’s an anti- world-domination-based-foreign-policy site. However, it’s very important to understand that there is that distance between the PNAC vision of the U.S. flexing its world-power muscles, and what the targets of our flexion see. And as long as there is that distance, things will not turn out like the PNAC visionaries have envisioned.

This excerpt is fairly long, as is the article itself. Both are worthy of their length, I think.

(Brief ad view or paid Salon.com membership needed to read full article.)

Salon.com News | From heroes to targets

The U.S. occupation of Iraq has turned into a daily debacle, say experts, because the Washington ideologues who planned the war were living in a fantasy. – – – – – – – – – – – –
By Michelle Goldberg

July 18, 2003 | The Pentagon hawks who planned for postwar Iraq assumed American troops would be welcomed with flowers and gratitude. They assumed Saddam’s regime could be decapitated but the body of the state left intact, to be administered by American advisors and handpicked Iraqis. They assumed that other countries, despite their opposition to the war, would come around once they saw how right America was, and would assist in Iraq’s reconstruction.

The war’s architects placed such unyielding faith in their assumptions that when they all turned out to be wrong, there was no Plan B.

Now, demoralized American forces are being attacked more than a dozen times a day and nearly every day an American soldier is killed. Iraqis are terrorized by violent crime; they lack water, electricity and jobs. With gunfire echoing through the night and no fans to stir the desert heat, people can’t sleep and nerves are brittle. The number of troops on the ground is proving inadequate to restore order, but reinforcements, much less replacements, aren’t readily available, and foreign help is not forthcoming. Saddam Hussein, like Osama bin Laden, is still at large. The White House now says the occupation will cost nearly $4 billion a month. While American fortunes could always improve, on Wednesday, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the new commander in Iraq, said American troops are fighting a guerrilla war, contradicting the sanguine rhetoric coming from the administration.

America isn’t losing the peace. The peace never began.

The current chaos in Iraq, many experts say, is the inevitable result of grandiose neoconservative ideology smacking into reality. The neocons underestimated the Iraqis’ nationalism and their mistrust of America. They were so convinced that a bright new Middle Eastern future would inevitably spring from military victory that they failed to prepare for any other scenario. “Everything derives from a very defective understanding of what Iraq was like,” says retired Col. Pat Lang, who served as the Pentagon’s chief of Middle Eastern intelligence from 1985 until 1992 and who has closely followed the discussions over the Iraq war and its aftermath. “It was a massive illusion that the neocons had. It all flows from that.”

Full story…

05.07.03

U.S. pullback in S. Korea also alarming to N. Korea

News Articles, North Korea


Alarming other nations and making them feel threatened by our power and our maneuvers are important elements of the PNAC’s strategy, and of the United States’ current foregin policy stance. So North Korea’s reaction here would not necessarily be seen by PNAC proponents as a bad thing.

James Brooke, New York Times

Published June 22, 2003

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA—When the United States announced plans to pull its troops away from the border with North Korea, attention focused mostly on South Korea and its objections to losing the protection of the so-called tripwire. What was largely overlooked were the protests from the party that felt most threatened by the change: North Korea.

In a new twist, North Korea now fears that if the United States rolls up its human tripwire, it will free U.S. military planners to go north, bombing nuclear sites near Pyongyang, the capital. In the military chess game on the Korean Peninsula, by moving U.S. troops out of range of North Korea’s border artillery, the United States gains a strategic advantage.

“Our army and people will answer the U.S. arms buildup with a corresponding powerful deterrent force and its pre-emptive attack with a prompt retaliation to destroy it at the initial stage of war,” North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said recently.

Lacking targets

Alexandre Mansourov, a former Soviet diplomat in Pyongyang who now teaches security studies in Hawaii, translated North Korea’s concerns to mean, “If the U.S. pulls out of the bases, North Korea knows that the U.S. is preparing a pre-emptive strike.”

Full story…

04.07.03

Defense deputy gets authority for military tribunals

News Articles


PNAC prodigy Paul Wolfowitz has been granted a powerful new position.

CNN.com – Defense deputy gets authority for military tribunals – Jun. 24, 2003

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau
Tuesday, June 24, 2003 Posted: 2:01 PM EDT (1801 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN)—U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has delegated his role as “appointing authority” for military commissions to his deputy, according to Pentagon officials.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed a delegation last weekend putting Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in authority over the tribunals that will try al Qaeda and Taliban suspects, the officials said.

Under an order that President Bush issued in November 2001, military tribunals can be used to try non-citizens accused of terrorist acts. Individuals brought before the tribunals would have no right to a jury trial, no right to confront their accusers and no right to judicial review of trial procedures or sentences, which could include death.

Full story…

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