Tags: Moscow | Warns | Washington | Against | Attacks | Iraq

Moscow Warns Washington Against Attacks on Iraq

Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM

On Dec. 27, 2001, Nezavisimaya gazeta, an influential Moscow newspaper with close ties to the Kremlin, published an article by political observer Alexandr Kuranov under the heading "Iraq Under the Gunsight: Russian Leadership Probably Will Need to Swallow One More Bitter Pill; Anti-Iraq Action Could Become the Last Straw Which Would Provoke the Extremists into a New Strike at America."

This article basically states that Russia's leadership is again faced with a choice: (a) stay within the Washington-forged international coalition against terrorism or (b) stubbornly defend its old partner and ally Iraq against any U.S. attacks. This is because, according to the U.S. media, Iraq would become the new object in the international war on terrorism.

This would be a very difficult choice for Russia, and not because of Russian interests in Iraq per se. Moscow's direct support or tacit approval of Washington's strikes on Iraq would demonstrate to other Russian allies – mainly India and China – Moscow's extreme unreliability.

This could eventually result in great tension between Moscow and Beijing, as well as between Moscow and New Delhi.

Three variants of a U.S. military campaign against Iraq are possible.

The first, or "soft," variant is that American forces, just as in 1991, would limit their actions to massive bombing of Iraq. That nation's military and industrial infrastructure would once again be destroyed, but the hated Saddam Hussein would escape untouched.

In this case, the weakened dictator would be of no serious danger to his neighbors, primarily Israel. Still, Saddam would be capable of preparing new terrorist actions against the U.S. and elsewhere.

This soft variant of America's punishment of Iraq would be quite acceptable for most of the anti-terrorist coalition members and, most of all, for Russia. In the case of soft strikes on Iraq, Russian moves would be limited to mild protests and diplomatic maneuvers.

However, it is doubtful that Washington at present will limit itself to half measures. Doubtless, President Bush and his team are eager to extend the victory in Afghanistan to Iraq and build on America's geopolitical successes in Central Asia.

In short, President Bush, as inheritor of his father's cause, wants to finish with Saddam, to transfer power in Iraq to forces and persons willing to work with Washington, and to acquire unlimited access to Iraqi oil and gas. This is the second variant of the U.S. war against Iraq.

Kuranov quotes Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of Russia's influential Institute for the Study of the USA and Canada (a formal scientific institute providing reports to the Kremlin and Russian Foreign Ministry), as saying that the probability of U.S. strikes on Iraq is high, and that a new victory would give the U.S. unopposed dominance in the Middle East, but would also consolidate the positions of Islamic fundamentalists and move Arabs to retaliate against Americans.

Kremenyuk adds that there are many al-Qaeda-like anti-Western groups in the Arab world. He holds that there are many "sleeper agents" of these groups in the West, including the U.S. Anti-Iraq actions could be the last straw needed to provoke the Islamic extremists into new strikes against America.

He adds that it is impossible to predict how many sleeper agents would participate in these strikes and what weapons they would use.

Kuranov says that the third and most terrible variant of a new war against Iraq is the dissection of the country into several parts, i.e., (a) the Kurdish North; (b) the Shiite South; (c) the center, populated by Sunni Arabs and Christians. This would create great problems, especially the question of a Kurdish state for the Kurds in Iran and Turkey.

If Saddam is dethroned, it would be difficult for the U.S. to avoid this dangerous third variant, because uncontrolled nationalistic forces would then be unleashed. Also, a war between the U.S. and Iraq could easily involve Israel, and this would provoke very tough responses (i.e., military strikes) from some Arab countries against Israel.

It cannot be ruled out that Saddam, at a desperate point, would use weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which he supposedly has, though in small quantities.

In addition, Saddam could move his troops to Jordan, as close to Israel's border as possible, in order to transform Iraq and the entire region into a "flaming torch."

It also cannot be ruled out that a U.S. war on Iraq would trigger another war(s), including heavy Israeli strikes against Palestinians and an Indian-Pakistani conflict in Kashmir.

Finally, Kuranov asks, what could be the reaction of an important player like China? Prominent Russian sinologist Dr. Sergei Luzinyan gives his opinion:

"China's reaction towards possible action of the U.S. against Iraq will be very negative or even very tough. China has old and close political ties with Baghdad, and China never gives up on old friends and partners. Besides, China is already upset over the U.S. invasion of Central Asia, considered by Beijing to be in 'its own sphere of influence.'"

The same issue of Nezavisimaya gazeta published an article by political commentator Alexei Pushkov – analyst for Moscow-based TV-channels, member of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, and board member of the prestigious U.S.-based journal Foreign Policy – entitled "Russia and the USA: the Limits of Rapprochement; Unilateral Actions of Washington Are Dangerous for the New Relations Between the Two Countries."

This article lists the "sins and crimes" of Washington committed in regard to Russia:

This article, like several of the authors' articles published in late December, shows Moscow's irritation with U.S. geopolitical gains in Kazakhstan and all of Central Asia.

It would be proper to consider the above articles as "the voice of the Kremlin." These articles were doubtless compiled and published in accordance with direct orders from Russia's top leadership.

And never after Sept. 11 has this "voice of the Kremlin" been so harsh. The Kremlin is very angry and openly threatens Washington with incalculable problems America must deal with in the case of strikes against Iraq.

The following phrases of this warning – or ultimatum? – cannot be ignored:

"A U.S. war with Iraq would consolidate the positions of the Islamic fundamentalists. It would also move Arabs to retaliate against Americans."

"There are many al-Qaeda-like anti-Western groups in the Arab world, and many ‘sleeper agents' of these groups in the West, including the U.S. Anti-Iraq action could be the last straw needed to provoke the Islamic extremists into new strikes on America. It is impossible to predict how many sleeper agents would participate in these strikes and what weapons they would use."

The authors recently published at NewsMax several articles (

The authors themselves didn't expect confirmation of their conclusions in so weighty a form and so rapidly. Yes, this network exists and is planning new strikes. The recent Tampa private plane suicide case (the skyscaper attack on Jan. 4) can be considered as a testing of America's security system before major new strikes.

What should be done? The answer is easy: Saddam should be finished. And some additional forces should be concentrated in the Middle East and Central Asia, to avoid the aforementioned geopolitical complications. The underground network of "sleeper agents" and their collaborators – including, of course, FSB/KGB operatives – should be exterminated swiftly and mercilessly.

Moscow should get what it deserves.

Dr. Thomas J. Torda has been a Chinese linguist specializing in science and technology with FBIS, and a Chinese/Russian defense technology consultant with the Office of Naval Intelligence.

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On Dec. 27, 2001, Nezavisimaya gazeta, an influential Moscow newspaper with close ties to the Kremlin, published an article by political observer Alexandr Kuranov under the heading Iraq Under the Gunsight: Russian Leadership Probably Will Need to Swallow One More Bitter...
Moscow,Warns,Washington,Against,Attacks,Iraq
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2002-00-15
Tuesday, 15 January 2002 12:00 AM
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