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COLUMN

  • Reported Coup Attempt in Qatar Threatens Base
  • Worldwide Attacks on U.S. Interests
  • Massive Domestic/International Protests
  • U.N./Foreign Political Opposition Proves Effective

Wheels Come Off U.S. War Plans for Iraq

Administration Making Riskier, More Volatile Moves to Begin "All or Nothing" Gamble for Iraqi Oilfields

by Michael C. Ruppert

[ Copyright, 2000, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All rights reserved. May be copied, distributed or posted on the Internet for non-profit purposes only.]

Oct. 28, 2002, 18:30 PST (FTW) -- All over the world, both internationally and here at home, the wheels are coming off of the Bush Administration's plans for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. And Bush Administration responses to recent events appear to be moving a tense international situation into a new phase where chaotic, scattered and increasingly bloody violence may spread risk to civilian populations and the estimated 80,000 to 100,000 U.S. troops that have been forward-deployed in anticipation of the attacks for months. U.S. troop deployments in Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, Djibouti, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and a Kurdish controlled region of northern Iraq -- once offensive staging points or strategic postings -- are now becoming vulnerable defensive liabilities as world sentiment mounts against the U.S. invasion. Britain is also reported to have troop deployments in Oman on the Southeast tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

At stake is a nation which holds 11 percent of the world's oil and which is one of only two nations capable of quickly increasing production in time to avert a major economic collapse for the U.S.

A recently reported coup attempt in Qatar, perhaps the most vital country to a successful U.S. invasion plan, has raised serious questions about whether the administration can afford to wait much longer without risking the entire collapse of both its prestige and a plan which has recently been shown to be years in the making.

The assassination today of the head of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Amman, Jordan follows on the heels of recent attacks in Kuwait, the Philippines, South Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bali, most of which have been reportedly linked to terrorist organizations sympathetic with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. An interpretation not offered by the administration, but which has been voiced by some Islamic foreign nationals contacted by FTW, is that the flimsy justification for invasion offered by the U.S., along with what is perceived as successful international opposition leading to vacillation by the administration, have encouraged attacks from some quarters that have had minimal or no connections to Al Qaeda.

These events are reminiscent of a warning issued by Pentagon hawk, Richard Perle, who stated in an Aug. 18 Washington Post story, "Timing is everything when you do this. If you launched [a public campaign] too far in advance and nothing followed, that would raise questions and fuel a debate that would not be helpful to the administration...If you join the debate now, but don't act for months, you pay a worse price." Perle's prediction is coming true just two months after he made it.

In spite of routine denials USAID has regularly been linked to the Central Intelligence Agency and has reportedly served as a cover for CIA operations. Jordan remains a particularly sensitive country for the U.S. because of its geographic position between Israel and Iraq, its perceived status as a U.S. ally, and the fact that as many as 6,000 U.S. troops have been positioned in Jordan since late-August in anticipation of the U.S. invasion. FTW reported on Aug. 21 that the total number of U.S. troops, as reported by the Jordanian news agency Petra and other Mid East news sources had topped 6,000 and included light armor, medical detachments and Special Forces troops. An on-the-record eyewitness statement confirmed visual sightings of U.S. troops in the country.

[For additional coverage on troop deployments and war plans please visit: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082102_deployment.html.]

Jordan, like many other countries in the region, has been sending ambiguous signals about the role it will or will not play in the U.S. invasion. These mixed and often changing positions, shifting like the sands of the desert, clearly reflect the tectonic pressures that are mounting in the region each day that an invasion is not executed. A Reuters story on Aug. 12 indicated that Jordan was being considered as a launch point for the Iraqi invasion at a time when the Jordanian military was engaging in joint exercises with U.S. troops. However, a July 10 Associated Press story indicated that Jordan would not participate in any U.S.-led invasion.

Amid repeated stories that the U.S. intends to "Balkanize" the region, splitting Iraq and possibly Saudi Arabia into several kingdoms divided between Hashemite, Sunni Arab, Kurdish and Shiite ethnic groups, tensions between Muslim countries in the region have been steadily mounting. [For more information: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082102_saudi_arabia_1.html].

On Oct. 22 Reuters reported that a Jordanian journalist had been sentenced to death in Qatar for allegedly spying for Jordan and reporting on U.S. troop deployments in that country. Qatar is home to the multi-billion-dollar, state-of-the-art Al Udeid air base. According to numerous press reports and published photographs, Qatar is virtually sinking under the weight of U.S. military equipment, including M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, which have been positioned there for the Iraqi invasion. That move came after Jordan recalled its ambassador in August from Doha, the Qatari capital, and closed the Amman offices of Al Jazeera, the feisty Arab news organization based in Qatar.

A COUP ATTEMPT IN QATAR?

On Oct. 16 the Arabic News issued a story stating that reports from Cairo and several Persian Gulf states had resulted in the Oct. 12 arrest of "scores of Qatari army officers" after an attempted coup by pro-Taliban elements against Qatari leader Sheikh Hamad bin Khaleifah al-Thani. The coup was reportedly suppressed with the assistance of "American personnel in civilian costumes." An Oct. 24 New York Times story clearly stated the Qatari position. It carried the headline: "A Tiny Gulf Kingdom Bets Its Stability on Support for U.S." Stories about the massive Al-Udeid air base and its intended use as the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command for the Iraqi invasion have been circulating for months. On Sept. 12th, the Washington Post's Vernon Loeb reported that Central Command had announced a plan to send 600 personnel in November from Florida to Qatar for a readiness test of the headquarters facility.

A Reuters story dated just 10 days after the reported coup attempt stated that the planned exercise had been moved from November to an unspecified date in December. While making no mention of the coup attempt the story did state that, "The Gulf region is bristling with U.S. troops and weaponry..."

Upon learning of the coup attempt, FTW made an immediate request to the White House asking for comment. In a rare return call, which took place within two hours, a spokesperson for the National Security Council stated, "We [the NSC] are not even aware of a coup attempt. No comment." A spokesman for the Department of Defense said, "We don't know anything about any coup attempt, and U.S. forces were not involved."

The subscription intelligence service Stratfor stated in an Oct. 24 story that it received confirmation of the coup attempt from Qatari and Russian intelligence sources. It also added some twists which indicate the quicksand-like nature of Middle Eastern alliances. Translating from the Egyptian daily al-Joumhoreyah, Stratfor reported that members of the Qatari ruling family had been taken into custody and that that they had recently expressed opposition to the regime's pro-U.S. policy. As it turns out Sheikh al-Thani took power in a bloodless coup in 1995 from his father who remains a good friend of Saudi Arabian elements that oppose the invasion of Iraq.

Tensions between the two countries reached a high point in September when Riyadh recalled its ambassador from Doha. Saudi Arabia remains the ultimate ambiguity in its support for the U.S. invasion on a measure equal with glaring recent contradictions in stated U.S. support for the kingdom which contains 25 percent of all the oil on the planet. [For additional information:

http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/082102_saudi_arabia_1.html]

Withdrawal of support for the U.S. invasion in Qatar would most likely make the invasion of Iraq an impossibility. The support offered by other Middle Eastern nations, already under intense pressure from their populations, would likely evaporate completely. Even Turkey, a staunch NATO ally has been strongly signaling its reservations in recent weeks, and it is not capable of single-handedly hosting the invasion.

DIPLOMATIC POWER PLAYS DEEPEN CRISIS

Moves by Russia, France and China to delay a U.N. vote favorable to the U.S. plan have been extremely successful on the world stage. Prolonged negotiations and a delayed vote in the U.N. Security Council on a resolution needed by the Bush Administration to keep its fragile alliance together are producing responses from the administration that sound more like whining than leadership. Over the weekend, Chinese Premier Jiang Zemin arrived late -- a major diplomatic snub -- for a summit at President George W. Bush's Crawford, Texas ranch and failed to give him the endorsement for action against Iraq that Bush so desperately needs. This move apparently gave strength to continuing opposition from France and Russia in the U.N. Security Council.

And the backroom arm-twisting, carrot-offering, wheeling and dealing of the administration to divide the spoils of an Iraqi conquest has also failed to produce the desired outcome: a global blessing for the Empire to do what it wants to do. [For additional information, please visit:

 http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/101802_the_unseen.html.]

American major media, trying desperately to put a positive spin on what is increasingly a major diplomatic defeat, continue to report that the U.N. is making progress in getting what it wants. But each minute of delay weakens the U.S. position economically, politically and militarily. Today the president was seen almost whining that the U.S. would act without U.N. approval if necessary even as CNN wrote, "The U.S. game plan on Iraq was encountering significant Security Council resistance." Bush's position today is on its face no different from what he said in his speech to the U.N. Sept. 12, yet no action has been taken.

AT HOME AND ABROAD

In the meantime major demonstrations took place on Oct. 26 all over the United States and around the world protesting the U.S. invasion of Iraq. In Washington, D.C. a crowd estimated by police at in excess of 100,000 loudly protested the war on which the administration is betting all of its political chips. In San Francisco an estimated 75,000 people turned out while other large demonstrations were reported in cities all over the country. Following on the heels of previous anti-war crowds of 400,000 in London and more than 1 million in Italy, protestors filled the streets in Berlin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam to establish that the U.S. and the world are anything but united over this war.

This is the first time in modern American history that there has been a vocal anti-war movement before the war even started.

In Brazil yesterday, former Marxist and Workers' Party candidate Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva scored a landslide victory with 61 percent of the vote, becoming president of the largest democracy in South America. Da Silva's victory, another political slap in the face to the Bush Administration, follows on the heels of a second recent, failed coup attempt against Venezuela's independent President Hugo Chavez, an often vocal critic of many U.S. policies in South America.

It is clear that global and domestic opposition to the invasion of Iraq is growing. But it is not a given that these developments have rendered the administration impotent or weakened its resolve. As FTW has been saying consistently since the administration took office -- and especially since 9-11 -- the degree of criminal, unconstitutional and aggressive behavior by the administration only serves to guarantee that its future moves will only be more illegal, more dangerous and more costly of human lives.

Some activists and analysts have openly speculated that the recent tragic death of Sen. Paul Wellstone, perhaps the administration's most vocal and committed critic in the Senate, was a murder perpetrated by a ruthless regime capable of stealing a presidential election and complicit in allowing the attacks of 9-11 to take place in order to provide it with a pretext for what is happening now. [FTW will have a story on a number of major inconsistencies in the Wellstone tragedy sometime this week.] Last week this writer had conversations with two Democratic Party members of the House of Representatives and both unhesitatingly expressed their belief that Wellstone was probably murdered.

Recently an anti-war activist was asked why no one was making a point of the now documented and glaring inconsistencies in the Bush Administration's actions, statements and conduct since the attacks of 9-11. "It's irrelevant," the activist said.  An angry response came from the internet, "If you had paid attention to all the warnings and evidence of administration complicity in 9-11 we would not be looking at the coming murder of tens of thousands of people in the Middle East."

The point, well taken, was that the people in control of the U.S. government are capable of anything. And while these recent developments show that the administration is not omnipotent, it does not make it any less dangerous, any less capable of horrific actions, either overseas or right here at home. And the rest of the world, following the U.S. example, is showing increasing signs of instability that could unleash a variety of conflicts, the outcomes of which cannot be predicted.

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