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Television Panel Discussion
Voice of America - Inter American Forum
The Bush Administration Troop Surge Strategy
Iraq: The New Nakba
Adriana Amat, VOA:
What is going to happen in the Middle East when they hang Saddam
Adriana Amat, VOA: There are
those who say it is an error, and counterproductive, that the violence is
going to increase, others say the opposite, that justice must be served, and
who want to see justice.
Adriana Amat, VOA: How do you see the influence of Iranian president Ahmadinejad over Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and Latin America in general?
Grant Smith, IRmep: I think it is also mainly symbolic. Some Latin nations are forming another "non-aligned" group like in the Cold War only now to counter "imperialism". However, in terms of investment and arms, the influence of Russia is much greater, according to reports of a new Kalashnikov rifle factory, helicopter sales and other tangible assistance to Venezuela from Russia.
Adriana Amat, VOA: Latin America is not really a priority for the United States, evidence of this includes the major foreign policy speech Bush Hill deliver in January will be about Iraq. What do you think of that?
Grant Smith, IRmep: I think we've got some clues from events occurring at the end of the year about where the Bush administration is headed. UN resolution 8928 from the Security Council may form part of a larger strategy to broaden the Iraq conflict to other parts of the region. The economic and other sanctions against Iran and inspections on the part of the IAEA in sixty days could be a tripwire component to do engage as the Baker Commission contemplated without seeing the real objective: expand confrontation in the region. Not through consulting Iran, but rather confronting Iran. Military observers have seen the dispatch of another aircraft carrier to the region to make its presence felt in the Persian (Arab) Gulf. It is perfectly plausible, to those of us who studied the pretexts and steps leading to the US invasion of Iraq that there will now be sanctions, UN declarations that Iran is in violation of 8928, giving the Bush administration even more justification to increase troops levels in Iraq for "force protection" and then completely change the dynamic with Syria and Iran in a way not foreseen by the Baker commission.
Adriana Amat, VOA: Has the US forgotten Al Qaeda?
Grant Smith, IRmep: The focus in terms of war objectives has never really been about Al Qaeda. It has always been about other objectives rarely mentioned by the Bush Administration: project forces over the region, move troops stationed in Saudi Arabia to a new northern base, and protect the interests of Israel. We (IRmep) can say with certainty that Al-Qaeda has nothing to do with the US occupation of Iraq.
Adriana Amat, VOA: How important is it that the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq has now passed 3,000?
Grant Smith, IRmep: The crisis of losing 3,000 is relevant, and we must also compare it to the new Iraqi refugee crisis. In the turmoil of 1948 when Israel expulsed Palestinians from their homes and land, *only* 711,000 were directly affected (UN number). Right now there are almost 800,000 Iraqi refugees in Jordan, and another 800,000 in Syria. The US has caused the second "Nakba" in the region, the second "tragedy".
I like visions of peace, but the Bush administration is not in the region to create peace. The administration's "great thinkers" such as Michael Ledeen call for regional chaos in order to completely restructure it.
Institute for Research Middle Eastern Policy, Inc. (IRmep)
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