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US Adviser Warns Of Armageddon In Middle East

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    NHNE News List Current Members: 668 Subscribe/unsubscribe/archive info at the bottom of this message. ... US ADVISER WARNS OF ARMAGEDDON By Julian Borger in
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 15, 2002
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      By Julian Borger in Washington and Richard Norton-Taylor
      The Guardian
      Friday, August 16, 2002


      One of the Republican party's most respected foreign policy gurus yesterday
      appealed for President Bush to halt his plans to invade Iraq, warning of "an
      Armageddon in the Middle East".

      The outspoken remarks from Brent Scowcroft, who advised a string of
      Republican presidents, including Mr Bush's father, represented an
      embarrassment for the administration on a day it was attempting to rally
      British public support for an eventual war.

      The US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, yesterday spelled out
      what she called the "very powerful moral case" for toppling Saddam Hussein.
      "We certainly do not have the luxury of doing nothing," she told BBC Radio
      4's Today programme. She said the Iraqi leader was "an evil man who, left to
      his own devices, will wreak havoc again on his own population, his
      neighbours and, if he gets weapons of mass destruction and the means to
      deliver them, all of us".

      But while Ms Rice was making the case for a pre-emptive strike, the rumble
      of anxiety in the US was growing louder. A string of leading Republicans
      have expressed unease at the administration's determination to take on
      President Saddam, but the most damning critique of Mr Bush's plans to date
      came yesterday from Mr Scowcroft.

      The retired general, who also advised Presidents Nixon and Ford, predicted
      that an attack on Iraq could lead to catastrophe.

      "Israel would have to expect to be the first casualty, as in 1991 when
      Saddam sought to bring Israel into the Gulf conflict. This time, using
      weapons of mass destruction, he might succeed, provoking Israel to respond,
      perhaps with nuclear weapons, unleashing an Armageddon in the Middle East,"
      Mr Scowcroft wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

      The Israeli government has vowed it would not stand by in the face of
      attacks as it did in 1991, when Iraqi Scud missiles landed on Israeli
      cities. It claims it has Washington's backing for retaliation.

      Mr Scowcroft is the elder statesman of the Republican foreign policy
      establishment, and his views are widely regarded as reflecting those of the
      first President Bush. The fierceness of his attack on current administration
      policy illustrates the gulf between the elder Bush and his son, who has
      surrounded himself with far more radical ideologues on domestic and foreign

      In yesterday's article, Mr Scowcroft argued that by alienating much of the
      Arab world, an assault on Baghdad, would halt much of the cooperation
      Washington is receiving in its current battle against the al-Qaida

      "An attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardise, if not destroy,
      the global counterterrorist campaign we have undertaken," Mr Scowcroft

      Both the American and British governments are expected to time a public
      relations effort to rebuff the critics and build public support in the
      immediate run-up to an invasion.

      Senior Whitehall figures say that crucial in that effort will be evidence
      that President Saddam is building up Iraq's chemical biological warfare
      capability and planning to develop nuclear weapons.

      The US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, confirmed yesterday that the
      Pentagon was considering a change in the status of a navy pilot shot down
      over Iraq 11 years ago. He is currently classified as "missing in action".

      There have been reports that Lieutenant-Commander Michael Speicher was still
      being held by Iraq.

      If he was reclassified as a prisoner of war, it would represent an
      additional source of conflict between Washington and Baghdad.


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