Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Rumsfeld tells Mofaz: We'll kick Assad out

The following two articles ratchet up the pressure on Syria. It is very hard to believe that this is more than bark or that the US is still capable of biting Syria militarily. Neither the military, nor public are in the mood for opening another front. Most likely, the talk of war is an effort to scare Syria into taking some tough decisions. It may well be directed more at Europe than at Syria. We have heard nothing about what sanctions are being developed to punish Syria should it be accused by Mehlis of non-cooperation. Perhaps this silence is because Europe is reluctant to impose more than the lightest of "smart sanctions." In this case by threatening military action in Syria, Washington may actually be raising the pressure on its European allies to get serious about sanctions or America will go crazy in Syria. America cannot actual abandon Europe and the UN again to launch a unilateral military strike. It would undo all the relation-mending that has gone on between the two. On the other hand - Who knows?

RUMSFELD TELLS MOFAZ: WE'LL KICK ASSAD OUT
Yedioth Ahronoth
Nov. 8, 2005 (Thanks to Timur Goksel)

The American administration is determined to punish Bashar Assad and remove him. This is what Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz heard from Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld last Friday in Washington.

People who were at the meeting said Rumsfeld and his advisers blame Assad for letting terrorists cross the border into Iraq and help kill American soldiers. The Israeli side said it is better to let Assad stay, along the lines of better the devil you know. But people at the meeting said the Americans showed no interest in who would replace Assad, and their goal is to remove him from power, and used the word "devil" to describe him.

It was learned yesterday that Assad's brother Maher is not suspected of taking part in Hariri's murder, contrary to previous reports. Top Israeli intelligence sources say that the assessment is growing that Shawkat is the man who planned the murder alone with a group of close advisers, without informing the president.

Sharon also related yesterday to the situation in Syria. "I do not intend to sign any agreement with Syria. Talking about leaving the Golan Heights is a serious mistake and I've said this in the past," Sharon told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Sharon replied to a question about which is better for Israel: a weakened Assad or an Assad removed from power. Sharon replied: "It doesn't matter to me. I don't intend to hold negotiations with Syria even though the Syrians definitely want this.

Wag the Damascus?
"Eary Warning" By William M. Arkin
Washington Post: November 7, 2005

Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies and military planners received instructions to prepare up-to-date target lists for Syria and to increase their preparations for potential military operations against Damascus.


According to internal intelligence documents and discussions with military officers involved in the planning, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa was directed by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to prepare a "strategic concept" for Syria, the first step in creation of a full fledged war plan.

The planning process, according to the internal documents, includes courses of action for cross border operations to seal the Syrian-Iraqi border and destroy safe havens supporting the Iraqi insurgency, attacks on Syrian weapons of mass destruction infrastructure supporting the development of biological and chemical weapons, and attacks on the regime of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Though Syria was never mentioned by President Bush as a charter member of the "axis of evil" for developing weapons of mass destruction and support international terrorism, it has long been on the administration's radar screen.

The January 2002 Nuclear Posture Review levied requirements on the military to conduct planning for potential use of nuclear weapons against Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and North Korea.

On April 1, 2002, almost a full year before the invasion of Iraq, Secretary Rumsfeld accused Iran, Iraq and Syria of "inspiring and financing a culture of political murder and suicide bombing."

On May 6, 2002, in a speech to the Heritage Foundation entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil," Under Secretary of State John Bolton identified Libya, Syria and Cuba as countries that were attempting to procure weapons of mass destruction. "States that renounce terror and abandon WMD can become part of our effort. But those that do not can expect to become our targets," he said.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom itself, according to Gen. Tommy Franks' book, American Soldier (p. 510), U.S. intelligence reported that Iraqi Ba'athist leaders and their families were fleeing to Syria in convoys of Mercedes and SUVs. Secretary Rumsfeld publicly accused Syria of being engaged in "hostile acts" by delivering military equipment to Iraq. Later, according to Inside CENTCOM (p. 121), a slim autobiography of Lt. Gen. Michael DeLong, Franks' deputy as CENTCOM, the US discovered "that Syria had been shipping military supplies, including night vision goggles, to Iraq."

On April 9, 2003, the day that U.S. military forces flooded into central Baghdad, Bolton again warned Iran and Syria that those pursuing weapons of mass destruction should "draw the appropriate lesson from Iraq."

While planning for Afghanistan and Iraq, and while the Iraq war was going on, the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Requirements, Plans and Counterproliferation Policy was leading a top to bottom review of war plans, revising the Presidentially-approved Contingency Planning Guidance (CPG) to account for "emerging threats." The draft CPG for 2003 mandated 11 prioritized families of plans at four levels of detail, due to Rumsfeld by mid-2004. The April, 2004 CPG draft for President Bush's signature further refined post-Iraq planning requirements.

Months after the draft CPG for 2004 was circulated, according to the internal documents, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was directed to beef up its Syria work. The Military Forces Analysis Office of the Directorate for Analysis established a special task force preparing order of battle (OB) and military forces analysis for Syria. Order of battle is an intelligence term that refers to characterizing the force structure, equipment, capabilities, and key military leadership.

DIA is responsible for maintaining the Modernized Integrated Database (MIDB), the repository of ground, air, naval, and missile order of battle for foreign countries. The MIDB also serves as the basis for developing target lists for a military campaign.

One novel element of new planning for Syria, according to the documents, involves the work of the IO [information operations] Fusion Support Center of DIA's Directorate for Analysis. To support target "options" development, analysts have been directed to evaluate the vulnerability of critical "nodes" in Syria, including:

1. "human factors analysis" regarding the identification and behavior of Syrian regime leaders and other important decision-makers in Syria

2. design and vulnerabilities of Syrian communications and information infrastructure, and

3. "electric power generation, transmission and distribution facilities and systems."

Military planning for Syria was thus initiated long before the United Nations report implicating the Syrian regime in the February assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, a vocal critic of Damascus. And it should be pointed out that much of the new military planning is also related to Syria's overt and clandestine support for the Iraqi insurgency, as well as its continued harboring of former Iraqi Ba'athists and their families.

But when the UN last Monday endorsed a resolution demanding Syria fully and unconditionally cooperates with the UN investigation into the February assassination, new international confirmation was given to Syria's mantle as a rogue state. The resolution warns of possible "further action." Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the resolution "made it clear that failure to comply with these demands will lead to serious consequences from the international community."

In some ways, military officers involved in the high-level planning efforts say Syria has eclipsed Iran in CENTCOM's play book as much because of practicality as imminent threat. Iran is four times larger than Iraq with three times the population. Syria is in a difficult geographic position, especially with U.S. bases and forces in Iraq and its proximity to U.S. military strength in the Mediterranean. U.S. forces have also been operating along the Syrian border since early 2003, and there have been numerous reports of clashes between U.S. and Syrian forces on Syrian soil, as well as reports of U.S. special operations forces operating inside Syria on select missions.

Though Syria's possession of WMD was the early justification for contingency planning for the country -- even for American nuclear weapons planning -- I imagine that in light of the Iraq intelligence failure and the current scandals, the administration would now have an impossible time selling WMD charges to the international community. But now all of the pieces could easily fall into place without even any mention of WMD. Political genius Karl Rove would be proud.

By William M. Arkin November 7, 2005; 10:00 AM ET

24 Comments:

At 11/08/2005 07:38:00 AM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

Josh, are you implying that the all this pressure on Syria including the Hariri investigation is being leveraged for purely US strategic interests???? naaahhh thats impossible, they are spreading freedom and democracy. I think you’ve read too many conspiracy theories.

 
At 11/08/2005 07:49:00 AM, Blogger raf* said...

josh-

i'd be careful to take a story by "yediot aharonot" for real -- we don't call it "the last idiot" for nothing...

what's the situation in damascus these days? i know that u.n. staff is being prohibited from leaving the country - even for eid trips to jordan/lebanon - but is anything else "in the air"?

damn zionists.

--raf*

 
At 11/08/2005 11:30:00 AM, Blogger O.D.M said...

I'm ready to kick Rumsfeld's white ass, I swear. One on one, I'll knock him out.

They would never shoot a single bullet in Syria, if republicans want to ever be reelected. It is just talk.

Bush is very close to being called a "Failed President", because despite all the PR and propoganda, nothing is working his way. Not Afghanistan, not Iraq, not even his love life.

This monkey is struggling to find an exit from Iraq very fast so he can prove a point.

 
At 11/08/2005 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

His ass is white alright, but he has a tatoo of a face. Do you know what face it is? I saw it!

 
At 11/08/2005 12:51:00 PM, Blogger Abhinav Aima said...

I think you are right in pointing out that the current situation does not fit a U.S. unilateral military mission in Syria - but remember, they don't have to be IN Syria...

I have been arguing for a lnog time now, ever since my 2003 visit with journalists in Beirut, that given an excuse, such as a dramatic insurgent attack on the Syrian border that kills many U.S. troops, the Americans will go ahead and carry out bombing raids on the military infrastructure in Syria and also on the Hizbollah and Palestinian positions in the Bekaa.

The problem is that while the country here is growing weary of the Iraq war, it wouldn't take much for Bush to open up a second front if there is another large loss of U.S. life that can sway the public mood... As in any other country, the public here too is very likely to support further military action if there is another terrorist attack on U.S. civilians or troops that can be blamed on Syria...

I have noted that you have posted many comments, some probably from mid-level U.S. State Dept. types, who have argued that the neocons are on their way out... Nothing could be farther from the truth...

Cheney and Rice are still solidly on track, they have only gone on luke warm mode so as to avoid making things too difficult for the Republicans in the 2006 elections... And let's remember, anything that the State Dept. builds up is easily shattered by John Karate Bolton before it ever gets moving in the international forum - that is the reason why he has been put there in the first place.

Nothing short of a regime change in the U.S. is going to remove the threat of military strikes against Syria - unfortunately, failing an impeachment, that regime change will not take place till Jan. 2009. Buckle up and wait!

 
At 11/08/2005 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Innocent_Criminal said...

i dont know what the hell it means but the Innocent Criminal who posted "His ass is white alright..." was not me, its some really cool guy with lots of things to do in his life.

 
At 11/08/2005 01:00:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

Striking the regime infrastructure and a couple of targets will unleash a region wide outrage, resulting in an all out insurgency attack on anything American in that region. I myself will take a micro or a hob-hob bus to Baghdad, and finally use my smuggled Uzi and Browning 9.14 on something that moves...

Many syrians are unemployed, very nationalistic, and angry..they are waiting for something like that.

 
At 11/08/2005 02:45:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11/08/2005 02:56:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

The honourable opponent Dr Kamal Labwani has been arrested in Damascus Airport.

 
At 11/08/2005 03:32:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

I wrote President Bashar Al-Assad=, no joke. I reminded him that we are almost in 2006, and deliberatly wrote that deep down he knows that what he is doing is not going to lead him somewhere bad, but lead tha fate of many Syrians with him.

I told him how the people are mobilizing and are preparing for a nationwide civil disobedience moevement. and I also gave him some of my Crisis Management advises: Have the Syrian Report Conclusion ready before Mehlis...and surprise the world. I don't care if you have fabricate evidence, or show real one..torture a couple of generals into signing a confession...Give them up..o everybody goes home happy.

bs still, we need our parliament!

 
At 11/08/2005 03:33:00 PM, Blogger O.D.M said...

Adonis says Oponent Abwani...shu it's a boxing game?

 
At 11/08/2005 03:43:00 PM, Blogger Lebanon Divided said...

raf,

Why would UN staff be prohibited from leaving Syria?

Please explain yourself otherwise take it easy on the rumors!!

 
At 11/08/2005 03:52:00 PM, Blogger sam said...

kamal labwani is not honorable,he is not smart, either, also,he brought his bad luck to himself, USA will not apply economic sanctions on Syria, it is not going to work, USA is not going to send troops over to Damascus, they know what to expect, the congress will not approve war against Syria, which Bush definitely needs,(congress approval), Bush can freeze the assets of Syrian official, he can apply mail and electronic sanctions, he can prevent ships to reach or leave Syria, he can issue arrest warrent for certain people, the most effective thing he can do is to declare all of syria a no fly zone, this will enable an officer in the army to stage insurgency in different places in syria, but not Damascus, this will weaken the goverment, since that officer is not going to be afraid of planes shoot rockets at him.
the people in syria should make sure that the army no longer control the goverment rather the army must stay neutral, his job is to defend against invading power, the enemy.to do this the whole people must have arms, where the people have arms , democracy will succede, dictatorship will fail.
the best thing for Assad to survive this crisis , is to start talking about uniting with another arabic country, this will intimidate USA and british goverments, also Isreal will be scared, they will beg him to stop, and they will promise to drop all charges against him, USA hates to see any arabic country unite with another one, and Assad will turn the table against the USA.remember , the best defense is offence.

 
At 11/08/2005 05:51:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Labwani's mistake is to associate himself with so called Dr. Dairy. That Scum Dairy is a disgrace to all Syrians. Now Labwani has fallen!

 
At 11/08/2005 06:35:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

That foolish calling himself Sam...

 
At 11/08/2005 06:57:00 PM, Blogger adonis syria said...

Who is this Dairy?
Dardari ?

 
At 11/08/2005 07:11:00 PM, Blogger EHSANI2 said...

Everyone can now take a break. Bashar will deliver a "political speech" on Thursday. Judging by comments of his information minister that "the pressure against syria is due to its rejection of ocuupation, aggression and hegemony policies in this region and in part of the world", it should make for an interesting day.

 
At 11/08/2005 07:16:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Dairy is in Washington. He is one kind of a retarded Islamist that sees nothing but an Alawi Higher Order in Damascus. People like him make me laugh, but wonder how they got the title Dr.!

 
At 11/08/2005 07:22:00 PM, Blogger Joseph ALi Mohammed said...

Bashar Assad and his father are against Israel, Zionism, Imperilalism, Capitalism, etc... The whole world is against them because they did not bow to the Israelis for 38 years and did not accept the Golan Height Back minus few meters! I am certainly tired of hearing this even in very reputable Arab news media. I am tired of seeing how the Assad regme has reversed facts, and misrepresented their role which was no different than the rest of these retarded Arab regimes that have no purpose except to get rich and put down their people. Assad has served Israel more than any direct Israeli Occupation to Syria as a country.

This nano man, Bashar Assad still has the backing of those he is claiming he is against, I am so sure!

 
At 11/08/2005 09:30:00 PM, Blogger norman said...

Syria and the US are on a collision course ,the US wants Syria to change it,s behaivier which means abanding the palestenians and the Iraqies and the Lebanese resistence,Syria would rather have democratic reform than denying syria,s arab nature and stand morover Syria,s opposition seems to want reform not abanedment of Syria,s arabic stand,because of the above i beleive that a confrontation between Syria and the US is coming with one excuse or another.

 
At 11/08/2005 10:59:00 PM, Blogger BP said...

The truth you can read here:

http://beirut2bayside.blogspot.com/

The king and all the mini kings around should learn french. For all his billions he cannot buy intelligence, how sad for the syrians.

 
At 11/09/2005 01:44:00 AM, Blogger shamee27 said...

I agree with Ali, king Asad Senior and king Asad junior have served Israel more than anyone else, let’s not forget that Hafez AL Asad sold the Golan heights in 1976 by ordering the Syrian troops to flee their strongholds in Golan.
No wonder that Israel don’t want regime change in Syria because any change cant be worse than the current situation, week demoralized army, hungry people, destroyed economy ..... The list is endless.
Let see this so called western educated doctor what he is going to say its going to be fun to watch :)

 
At 11/09/2005 08:30:00 AM, Blogger raf* said...

lebanon divided-

friends of mine, who are working for undp in damascus had wanted to go to jordan's dead sea for eid - you know, with children & such - but just a day before eid they had been "disallowed" to leave the country, as had all their colleagues. the u.n. is famous for being overparanoid about their staff. my second guess about the reason for this travel restriction is that maybe the u.n. did not want it to appear that its staff is "leaving the sinking ship". remember - this happened on tuesday before eid, a day after the u.n.s.c. had passed the new resolution.

cheers,

--raf*

 
At 11/09/2005 10:39:00 PM, Blogger Wag-the-dog said...

One of the things that foreigners don't understand or want to understand is the weakness of the US administration's foreign policy domestically. Due to media projection--especially to the outside world--it's looked at as an omnipotent maestro that is pulling one master stroke in the region after another. Not so. Look at it from the domestic perspective, and you'll see that there will be no expansion of the Bush administration zealots' "democracy-making plans" in Syria or anywhere else anytime soon. They're all receiving flak and are on the defensive. And the main reason? There's too many American soldiers dying in Iraq. And since this McCarthy-era fear of criticizing the administration is being shed, more and more, there are domestic forces that are questioning even the legal legitimacy of this "Wag-the-Dog" commercial idealistic blitz style campaign that the Bush administration strategists have put together. If not so many soldiers had died, sure, it'd have been perceived as "another victory for democracy" on the homefront. But with all these deaths, many domestic "Vietnam-era" elements are awakening. And this does not bode well for Bush et al. So people, before you go off saying "not if but when" about a US invasion of Syria, take a step back, and see that this administration is a train fast on its way to getting derailed. Remember, fundamentalists on all fronts may be crafty, but eventually, they fall victim to their own blindness (and here I'm referring to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove, etc....). These people are a small nudge away from impeachment and criminal charges of some sort or another. Time will tell.

 

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