Alexander's Column

Stuck between Iraq and a hard place?

Mark Alexander · Nov. 15, 2002

Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been trying for months now to leave President George Bush’s war against Jihadistan stranded between Iraq and a hard place. And this week the ghost-head of al-Qa'ida, Osama bin Laden, emerged briefly from his rathole in a “hard place” to stave off any progress in stripping Saddam of the weapons of mass destruction his al-Qa'ida Jihadis want to deliver to a theater near you.

Last Friday’s Security Council 15-0 vote for the Iraqi inspection resolution demands that access be given to a UN weapons inspection team, and that all weapons of mass destruction be disclosed and destroyed, or face “serious consequences.” Of the UN resolution, President Bush noted, “A diverse group of nations in the Security Council spoke with one voice; the United States Congress spoke with one voice; and that is, in the name of peace he must disarm. If he chooses not to disarm, we will disarm him. That should be clear to Saddam Hussein and everybody else. I have told the United Nations we’ll be glad to consult with them, but the resolution does not prevent us from doing what needs to be done, which is to hold Saddam Hussein into account.”

President Bush asserted during Monday’s Veterans Day observances: “We will not permit a dictator who has used weapons of mass destruction to threaten America with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. This great nation will not live at the mercy of any foreign plot or power. The dictator of Iraq will fully disarm, or the United States will lead a coalition and disarm him.”

Iraq’s Parliament voted to resist the inspections plan, but on Wednesday, Saddam appeared to overturn his Parliament’s decision. Naturally, any member of Saddam’s puppet parliament that voted for the plan would have met a swift and painful demise.

A preliminary inspection team arrived in Iraq this week, the first time back in over four years, and chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix and the remainder of the WMD inspection team are scheduled to arrive next Monday to commence operations. Should the United States be called upon to forcefully disarm Saddam, one “war plan” option was floated as a “leak” this week to drive the point home. The plan calls for 10 days of intensive air strikes against key military targets, followed by an invasion force of 60,000 to 80,000 troops, and a total commitment of 250,000 military personnel. The invasion force, as proposed, would quickly isolate Baghdad, and collapse Saddam’s political base of Tikrit, forcing the dictator to run. U.S. intelligence also hopes that key Iraqi military leaders will switch sides or simply refuse to fight, though this is largely speculative.

Iraq, meantime, ordered up a million doses of atropine, which counteracts the deadly effects of nerve agents. And a growing chorus of national security analysts are voicing concerns first published by The Federalist in August, that Saddam has already dispersed hot elements of his WMD program to Jihadi cells outside of Iraq – whose principal target is the U.S.

Regarding Osama’s audiotape calling for renewed attacks against our nation, The Federalist’s sources confirm, as they did in September when they analyzed a voice recording claimed to be that of Osama, that there is a very high probability the recording is, in fact, Osama. The latest recording mentions details of recent terrorist attacks – meaning the tape was made in the last month.

Tags: