Posted Feb. 18, 2003
Justice Looms for Saddam,
By Kenneth R.
General Sees Benefits from Iraq
Insight on the News -
As Iraq concentrated its forces around
Baghdad to protect the regime against a
U.S.-led coalition, President George W.
Bush revealed in his weekly radio address
on Feb. 8 that Saddam Hussein "recently
authorized Iraqi field commanders to use
chemical weapons -- the very weapons the
dictator tells us he does not have."
The president's unusual revelation,
coming on top of Secretary of State Colin
Powell's intelligence-laden presentation
to the U.N. Security Council three days
earlier, confirmed that the Bush
administration takes Saddam's threats with
utmost seriousness. But the administration
has been doing much more than issuing
vague threats. Indeed, Insight has learned
that it has warned Iraqi leaders they will
be held personally responsible for
ordering the use of weapons of mass
"We have sent messages to them quietly.
We have sent messages to them openly," a
senior administration official tells this
magazine. "Heaven help the Ba'ath Party
officers who execute an order from Saddam
Hussein to use weapons of mass
destruction" either against Iraqi
civilians, who are ill-equipped to defend
themselves, or against coalition forces.
"They will be hunted down, and they will
be tried as war criminals -- most likely
by the U.S. military [and] on the
* "Turkish General
Sees Benefits of Iraq War"
The official, whose comments to Insight
were offered as an authorized,
on-the-record statement of U.S. policy, is
involved in both the daily and long-range
planning of the war. He provided a
detailed portrait of the administration's
plans for postwar Iraq. Although he asked
not to be identified by name or by agency,
his comments amplified and clarified
official statements by the president and
his war cabinet.
"Any prudent military planner has to
take into consideration that Saddam
Hussein will use his weapons of mass
destruction either during a U.S. offensive
or beforehand in a pre-emptive attack. But
U.S. troops are capable and trained to
deal with this. It will affect the
battlefield but not the outcome," he
Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom
McInerney, who has advised the Iraqi
opposition, agrees. "I do expect we will
be attacked with WMDs. As long as they
attack troops that are trained, that are
moving fast, my concern is not great. What
I am concerned about is if
[Saddam] tries to attack those
troops in urban areas and we have civilian
casualties." McInerney adds: "This is
going to be a very rapid war. ... The
whole campaign will last no longer than
two weeks, with fewer casualties than we
had last time."
One reason for the low casualties, the
senior official said, will be the rapid
collapse of Saddam's regime thanks to
"multifaceted" U.S. pressure on the
leadership. "We see exit strategies being
prepared by senior members of the regime,"
he tells Insight. "We see money being
transferred out of the country. We see
exit routes being planned. The extreme
pressure we are bringing to bear is
beginning to have a noticeable effect
throughout the ranks of the senior
leadership. But we will do everything in
our power to go after them and apprehend
Kurdish opposition parties expressed
fears that Turkey might take advantage of
an Iraqi thrust into the Kurdish areas in
northern Iraq by seizing the oil-rich
regions of Kirkuk and Mosul. Those fears
were exacerbated in early February when
the Turkish daily Milliyet, citing
military sources, laid out plans for a
thrust by the Turkish 7th Army and its
Gendarmerie law-enforcement corps into
Kurdish areas in northern Iraq. "If Turkey
moves into Kirkuk and Mosul in violation
of Iraq's territorial integrity, this
would create a tremendous national
tendency among the Kurds," a well-placed
Kurdish source tells Insight. "Kurds will
say, 'If Turkey doesn't respect Iraq's
territorial integrity, why should we?'
This could lead to precisely the outcome
the Turks say they want to prevent: an
This also is the outcome the United
States wants to prevent, according to the
senior administration official. "We
unequivocally told Turkey that unilateral
military action by them in northern Iraq
is an absolute red line for the U.S. We
are serious about this. And we told the
Kurds: It's in your interest to help us to
maintain the status quo in Kirkuk and
Mosul. This means no Kurdish move into
those areas, either, just U.S.
In a separate briefing a senior
Pentagon official told a group of
defense-policy experts recently, "We will
coordinate with the Turks. If war comes, I
am confident we will be working with the
Turks, not at odds with them."
The U.S. war plan involves rapidly
securing Iraqi oil fields so they can be
exploited on behalf of the Iraqi people.
"There has been a lot of mistaken
reporting and accusations that this is a
war for oil," the senior administration
official says. "This is not a war for oil.
Our intention is to fulfill our
responsibilities to the Iraqi people and
then we will leave."
As Bush and his Cabinet build an
international "coalition of the willing"
to liberate Iraq, countries such as
Turkey, Germany and France face tough
decisions. "It's crunch time," the
official says. Turkey has balked so far at
U.S. requests to station up to 80,000 U.S.
troops at NATO bases near the Iraqi
border. Negotiations with the Islamist
government in Ankara "have clearly dragged
on too long," the official adds. Turkey's
parliament voted on Feb. 8 to allow the
United States to upgrade several military
bases and ports, but deferred a decision
on an expanded U.S. troop presence until
The choice for Turkey, as well as for
France and Germany, will have far-reaching
political and economic consequences for
those countries, the official says. France
and Germany, he believes, ultimately will
contribute to the coalition war effort
once they see that war was inevitable.
"They'll make their decisions on how they
help us according to their national
interests and at their own time, but we're
confident they will help us," he says.
In the meantime, a top Pentagon planner
tells Insight, the United States is
working with allies in Europe outside of
the NATO framework to ensure that Turkey
receives military assistance to defend
itself against an Iraqi attack. "The
Netherlands have agreed to station Patriot
missile batteries in Turkey, outside of
NATO," he says. "We intend for Turkey to
get the help it needs to defend itself"
regardless of the actions taken by France,
Germany and Belgium to prevent NATO from
playing a role in the war.
One of the key problems facing the
United States and its allies has been the
ease with which Iraq continues to purchase
machinery and materials for its weapons
programs from Europe and China [see
"Eurobiz Is Caught Arming Saddam," Feb.
18-March 3]. "We have been tracking
this very closely," the official says.
"Those countries that supplied dual-use
equipment and materials on a wide scale to
Iraq clearly will be uncovered in a
post-liberation Iraq. We're going to know
who they are, and so will the new Iraqi
As an example, he mentioned the
aluminum tubes the United States seized en
route to Iraq last year. Powell told the
U.N. Security Council that the tubes had
been imported to make uranium-enrichment
centrifuges. But the International Atomic
Energy Agency in Vienna, part of the U.N.
arms-inspection effort, disputed this and
claimed they matched an Iraqi
"There was absolutely no mistake about
the intended use of these aluminum tubes,"
the senior administration official tells
Insight. "The CIA is adamant on this."
U.S. technicians had been able to test
them and found they could spin at very
high rates of revolutions per minute -- a
requirement not for artillery rockets but
for enrichment centrifuges. "These are not
artillery rockets or water pipes, as some
have said. Those cost 60 cents per foot.
These tubes cost $50 per foot, so the
argument is silly."
Powell revealed that the United States
had detected no fewer than 11 attempts by
Iraq covertly to acquire these special
tubes. The most recent, in December,
occurred even after Iraq accepted U.N.
Security Council Resolution 1441 -- the
16th in a string of U.N. resolutions
accepted by Iraq that require it totally
to abandon its weapons of mass
destruction. "Let me tell you what is not
controversial about these tubes," Powell
told the United Nations. "First, all the
experts who have analyzed the tubes in our
possession agree that they can be adapted
for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no
business buying them for any purpose. They
are banned for Iraq."
And the tubes were just part of the
story, he added. "We also have
intelligence from multiple sources that
Iraq is attempting to acquire magnets and
high-speed balancing machines; both items
can be used in a gas-centrifuge program to
enrich uranium." Iraqi officials
negotiated with Romania, India, Russia and
Slovenia to purchase a magnet-production
plant in 1999 and 2000, Powell said.
"Intercepted communications from mid-2000
through last summer show that Iraqi front
companies sought to buy machines that can
be used to balance gas-centrifuge rotors,"
Powell said. "One of these companies also
had been involved in a failed effort in
2001 to smuggle aluminum tubes into
The pattern and purpose of these
illicit Iraqi purchases "show that Saddam
Hussein is very much focused on putting in
place the key missing piece from his
nuclear-weapons program: the ability to
produce fissile material," Powell
As Insight first revealed last year,
just before Resolution 1441 was adopted by
the U.N. Security Council [see "How
Saddam Got Weapons of Mass Destruction,"
Oct. 15, 2002], it was dramatic new
progress in the Iraqi nuclear-weapons
program that convinced the Bush
administration to accelerate the
confrontation with Saddam before it was
too late. "If Saddam succeeds in this
effort, it will change the entire dynamic
of the Middle East," the senior
administration official says. "Nuclear
weapons are not chemical or biological
weapons. Nuclear weapons give Saddam
Hussein respect, they get him out of the
international box; whereas BW
[biological weapons] and CW
[chemical weapons] are not
Tim Trevan, a former top U.N. arms
inspector, said the evidence laid out by
the United States and contained in Iraq's
December declaration to the United Nations
showed beyond a doubt that Iraq was in
"material breach" of U.N. Security Council
resolutions. "Only the blind and the
unwilling" could fail to see this, he told
a Washington seminar recently.
After a U.S.-led victory against
Saddam, the American combat commander will
establish a temporary military government
in Baghdad that quickly will restore
order. "For a short period after the
liberation, there will be many military
tasks to accomplish," the senior official
says. "We must search and destroy Saddam's
WMDs, guarantee internal security and
security of the borders, we must hunt down
terrorists and reform the Iraqi military.
These are all military tasks. So for a
period -- four days, four weeks, four
months, we don't yet know how long -- the
U.S. combatant commander will be in charge
of the country."
At the same time, however, the Joint
Task Force commander will be assisted by a
civilian administration to help to
administer the country and oversee Iraq's
political transformation, he tells
Insight. "A liberated Iraq in a region
full of dictatorships and terror-invested
regimes will send a message to every other
supporter of terrorism: Clean up your act.
We won't accept any more the killing of
Americans and of Jews." But it will also
send a message to Arab countries that
democracy can come to a region that has
grown accustomed to the despot's boot. "It
is borderline racist to say that Arabs
can't be free," the official says.
Bush believes in a "virtuous cycle"
sweeping through the region, the senior
official says. "The president has this
same vision for the Palestinians. The
president's message, this administration's
message, is that freedom, democracy and
human rights constitute the basis of
prosperity. Democracy is way overdue in
the Middle East. That's what this
president is all about. That's what this
campaign is about."
Kenneth R. Timmerman is a senior writer
for Insight magazine. email the author
General Sees Benefits of Iraq War
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
Gen. Cevic Bir, former chief of staff
of the Turkish army, believes Turkey will
join the war in Iraq now that the Islamic
government in Ankara understands that
becoming a full alliance partner with the
United States and Britain will serve
Turkey's long-term strategic interests.
Prime Minister Abdullah Guls' Justice
and Progress Party, which won election
last November, until recently had balked
at positioning U.S. forces in Turkey, and
some party officials had portrayed war in
Iraq as a war against Islam. "The vote in
parliament on Feb. 8 made it clear that we
won't be fighting Islam, but against
international terrorism," Bir told the
Jewish Institute for National Security
Affairs in Washington last week. "I expect
the deployment of U.S. troops in Turkey
will be fully supported by the people."
The retired general, who came away from
heading U.N. forces in Somalia in 1992-93
with contempt for U.N. war management,
said that Turkey could be a major
beneficiary from a successful war to oust
Saddam Hussein so long as the United
States maintains forces in the region and
remains committed to a united Iraq.
"Turkey has learned many lessons from
the first gulf war and has already taken
measures to prevent most of the problems
we faced then," he says. To prevent a mass
exodus of Kurdish refugees and to contain
terrorist groups such as the Kurdish
Workers Party from spilling over into
Turkey, as happened in 1991, Turkish
forces already have taken position inside
northern Iraq, he confirms.
Turkey's aim is not to occupy Iraqi
territory, but "to provide support" for
the U.S.-led coalition. No one is thinking
of going to Kirkuk and Mosul.
U.S. contractor Brown and Root last
week began to draw up plans for an $800
million upgrade of Turkish military ports
and airports to handle the tens of
thousands of U.S. troops that will "flow"
through Turkey into bases that have been
prepared in northern Iraq. After the war,
said Bir, "Turkey will be a major base for
the reconstruction of Iraqi institutions
and for bringing the Iraqi military up to