“Axis of Evil”
Vol: 4 Issue: 30 Wednesday, January 30, 2002
In his State of the Union Address, President Bush identified what he called the “Axis of Evil” — the nations of North Korea, Iraq and Iran. The President spoke of the ‘true nature’ of these regimes, singling out Iran for exporting terror, North Korea for starving its population in order to support its missile and nuclear programs, and Iraq for flaunting anti-US hostility, supporting terror, and its weapons of mass destruction program.
The President noted that, in meeting the threats, “time is not on our side”. The president pledged that, “I will not wait on events while dangers gather. I will not stand by as the peril draws closer and closer.”
It was significant that the president singled out these three nations. There has been much speculation about the next targets in the war on terror. The pundits argue the 2nd Front will open up in the Philippines, or Somalia or the Sudan. The US already has troops on the ground and engaging the enemy in all three of these states. But Bush didn’t mention any of these. Instead he singled out the three most dangerous states.
Iraq Given US Ultimatum
President Bush is expected issue an ultimatum to Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the next several months: Allow United Nations weapons inspectors into the country or face a cutoff of UN-sanctioned oil sales. The ultimatum is planned for June, according to sources close to the United Nations, when the next phase of the oil-for-food program will be launched.
Undersecretary of State John Bolton said last week in Geneva that Iraq is continuing to build weapons of mass destruction since expelling UN inspectors in 1998. I think it’s very clear in the three years since Iraq has completely excluded the UN Weapons Inspectors that they’ve been making efforts with respect to a number of weapons of mass destruction including attempting to acquire a capability in nuclear weapons, Bolton told reporters in Geneva, where he attended a conference on disarmament.
Iraq s government said recently it would permit United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country if Israel agrees to give up its nuclear weapons, an unlikely prospect. A U.S. intelligence community report on missile threats made public earlier this month warned that Iraq has maintained its missile production infrastructure and is seeking long-range nuclear missiles.
Intelligence agencies believe that for several years after U.N. restrictions are lifted or modified, Iraq probably will strive to reestablish its SRBM inventory to pre-Gulf war numbers, continue developing and deploying solid-propellant systems, and pursue MRBMs to keep pace with its neighbors. Once its regional security concerns are being addressed, Iraq may pursue a first-generation ICBM/Space Launch Vehicle.
Iran Dismisses “Bush’s Arrogant Statements”
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi denounced as “arrogant” the comments made by President Bush about Iran’s efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction. “The Islamic Republic of Iran considers these remarks as interference in its internal affairs,” Kharrazi said, adding they are intended to divert public opinion from heightened atrocities being committed by the racist Israeli regime against innocent Palestinians in occupied lands.”
Not exactly new thinking on the part of Tehran. And not particularly convincing. The same old theme. The ‘racist’ Israelis [composed of virtually every race on earth] and the ‘innocent’ Palestinians [just busted with fifty tons of Iranian weapons destined for Israel] and the ‘occupied’ lands of Gaza and the West Bank. It’s important to note that before they were ‘occupied’ by Israel, they were ‘occupied’ by Egypt and Jordan. And nobody was demanding they be given to the ‘Palestinians’ because until those lands were lost to the Israelis in 1967, there was no such people as the ‘Palestinians’ to give the lands to. Until the ’67 War, they were either Egyptian or Jordanian.
North Korea Warned “Time Is Running Out”
A senior U.S. official said last month that North Korea has violated its commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty since 1994. John Bolton, undersecretary of state for international security, told reporters in Geneva that North Korea has been in violation of its NPT obligations ever since it signed the agreed framework. It has not, to this day, permitted the IAEA sufficient access for the IAEA even to make a baseline determination of what materials and technology North Korea has, he said. Bolton said Pyongyang also is not allowing the International Atomic Energy agency to do the kind of verification and analysis to find out how much bomb making material North Korea has. So, it is just a fantasy to say that North Korea has been cooperating with the IAEA, Bolton said. We are going to continue to try and work with Japan and South Korea to bring the North Koreans into compliance with their obligations to what they committed to in 1994. Time is running out and I think they are beginning to understand that.
al-Qaeda Fighters Escaping To Saudi Arabia
The United States is concerned that Al Qaida fugitives are trying to flee Afghanistan and Pakistan for Saudi Arabia.The concern is that agents of Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden are boarding ships and planes from Pakistan in the guise of Islamic pilgrims who plan to attend the Haj in Mecca. U.S. security agents have been stopping ships and planes leaving Pakistan in the search for Bin Laden agents. On Tuesday, the Islambad-based daily, The Nation, reported that FBI agents had blocked two flights from leaving Pakistan for the Saudi city of Jedda last week. The newspaper said the agents searched the planes for suspected members of the toppled Afghan Taliban regime and Bin Laden’s Al Qaida organization.
The Haj pilgrims had boarded the flights in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi. The United States believes Karachi is being used as a haven for Al Qaida and Taliban fugitives. One flight searched was that of the Saudi national air carrier. The newspaper said nobody was arrested but passengers resisted the search. Gulf diplomatic sources said Saudi Arabia has agreed to tighten security regulations for the Haj pilgrimage. They said this would include a thorough examination of visas and passports by arriving pilgrims.
Iraqi Oil Interests Attacked
Iraqi opposition forces have struck that nation’s oil fields. Iraqi opposition sources said oil fields and installations under the control of the regime of President Saddam Hussein were bombed in an apparent sabotage campaign. They said the bombing took place last week in the Salah governate in northern Iraq.
The bombings sparked a fire that blazed four days in the area of Musafa Biji. The fire led to a halt in oil production. The London-based Al Hayat daily reported that Iraqi Oil Minister Amir Rashid visited the oil region to oversee firefighting efforts. The newspaper said the attacks took place on Jan. 17 and resulted in ‘great damage’ to Iraqi oil installations.