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Haig: Syria should be next target
by kjkhoo
14 January 2002 05:31 UTC
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I guess the powers-that-be will triangulate, and will find a target 
to carry on foreign policy and diplomacy by military means.



Haig: Syria should be next target

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large
Published 1/7/2002 2:57 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- The man who has held three key
appointments in past administrations -- secretary of state,
White House chief of staff, and NATO supreme commander - said
Monday Syria, not Iraq, should be the next target in the war
against terrorism.

In an exclusive interview with United Press International, Gen.
Alexander M. Haig, Jr., said Syria's "footprints" are much
clearer than Iraq's.

"This doesn't mean that Iraq isn't a more venal threat ...
There's a great deal of culpability in Iraq for the past 10
years, but not necessarily as a branch of Global Terror, Inc.,"
he said.

"Syria," Haig made clear, "is a terrorist state by any
definition and is so classified by the State Department. I
happen to think Iran is, too."

The defeat of Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terror network in
Afghanistan "did not neutralize the venality of other
(terrorist) tentacles, such as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and
Hezbollah," he explained, organizations that would not hesitate
to provide "aid and succor" to al Qaida fighters. Syria and Iran
are the sponsors of these terrorist groups, not Iraq.

For the United States to take on Iraq, Haig said, would require
about 100,000 combat troops.

"We have to recognize that we had far more people over there the
first time than we ever needed," he continued. "The Gulf War
itself was fought essentially by two units."

Haig said, "Saddam is not part of a transnational terrorist
network. Which is not to say he is not a threat to the entire
Gulf region with his growing arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction. Because he is.

"First and foremost we must go after hydra-headed al Qaida's
global tentacles. These Islamist terrorists look upon their
defeat in Afghanistan as the loss of a piece of real estate on
the larger canvas of Islamist fundamentalist extremism that has
developed roots in some 40 Muslim countries and which has cells
all over the Western world, including the United States, " the
retired general said.

But, he went on, "Iraq doesn't belong on this canvas.
International terrorism continues to be the mission. So Iraq is
not an immediate priority. There are several factors that will
determine future targets. First of all, our capability to deal
with them effectively and efficiently. Also evidence of their
culpability, conflicting priorities with other objectives, and
how much time we have before the venality of these regimes
becomes a bigger threat than the evidence we have."

Asked whether culpability had been proved in Iraq in the context
of international terrorism, Haig replied that there has been "a
great deal of culpability in Iraq for the past 10 years, but not
necessarily as a branch of Global Terror, Inc. Iraq is a
substantial target, but not an insurmountable one. We've proven
that. And it won't be as tough a nut next time as Iraq is now a
much-weakened state. But we still have to assess the situation
against our worldwide commitments, our current forces levels and
capabilities, our priorities for dealing with transnational
terrorism, and our intelligence with respect to the nature of
the targets we develop."

Haig also hinted that the United States does not have sufficient
troops on the ground in Afghanistan "given the magnitude of the
problems we now face (there). A major U.S. force on the ground
would convince the world we were in for the long haul recovery
of a country devastated by 21 years of warfare," he said. "We
lost interest in Afghanistan and left it in the lurch after the
Soviets pulled out in 1989 -- and paid a terrible price for our
shortsightedness, witness the emergence of Taliban and al Qaida.
If we are to thwart another round of warlordism and tribal
warfare, such as what followed the Soviet withdrawal, and
encourage the Afghans to get on with rebuilding their own
nation, U.S. assistance, diplomacy and a muscular military
presence will be required."

"In Desert Storm," in 1991, Haig said, "we had too many troops;
in Afghanistan probably not enough for the major commitment we
have made." He blamed the inadequacy of current force levels on
the Clinton administration. With all the commitments made by
Clinton "and a continued reduction in our manpower base in all
the services, we should be asking ourselves whether or not we
have sufficient forces to cope with a global war against
terrorism that involves several nation states. Sooner or later
something had to give. But President Bush, faced with the
unprecedented affront of 9-11, could not wait to take action. So
he had to do what we were capable of doing and he did it
brilliantly ... he achieved maximum success despite a number of
formidable restraints."

Other key points made by Haig:

* China -- "We could begin by refraining from gratuitous
insults. Our interventionism in China's internal affairs is
something we committed not to do in the Shanghai and subsequent
communiqu?s. And yet we've proceeded to do just that with
increased intensity, especially during Clinton's eight years.
... How can we expect China to live up to its commitments when
we don't live up to ours? ... The fact is that interventionism
usually aggravates the improvement in human rights and sets
things back ... The best way to promote our values, whether its
human rights or a market economy...[is] by example and by
success ...The conditions for what we are today do not exist in
large parts of the world. So we ought to be more patient. Most
of our posturing is done by politicians for domestic political
gain, not to achieve results around the world."

*Taiwan - "Of course, we should defend Taiwan in case of

* Europe -- The United States continues to maintain 70,000 U.S.
troops in Germany because: "This presence is the basis of our
influence in the European region and for the cooperation of
allied nations whose security it enhances. A lot of people
forget it is also the bona fide of our economic success ... it
keeps European markets open to us. If those troops weren't
there, those markets would probably be more difficult to

* Russia -- President Bush has moved toward a new global
security system "when he said Russia is no longer our enemy,
that NATO wants to cooperate with them, and he didn't discount
future NATO membership for Russia...[but] if you make the case
for Russia in NATO, then there would be no reason for NATO. You
would have to rechristen it and change its overall objective."

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