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Iraq next ?
By Bob Allen

The withdrawal of Taliban forces from Kabul opens up for Washington war strategists the question of a second US front against Iraq. The Bush Administration has often stressed the need to extend the "war on terrorism" beyond Afghanistan.

Washington has assembled an international strategic alliance around the "war on terrorism." Currently Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey have pledged military support for the war on Afghanistan. On the other hand the Arab League much to the displeasure of Washington, reiterated its conditional support for the "war on terrorism". In a thinly veiled threat to the Arab world President Bush has warned nations against impeding Washington's war efforts. "Over time, it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity," President Bush said, "You are either with us or you're against us in the war on terrorism." The Arab nations continue to insist that 1) the US recommit itself to settling the Palestinian question, and 2) that the war on terrorism would not target an Arab country. The Arab nation they are talking about is Iraq. Here we have the most pro-US regimes in the Middle East telling Washington in polite diplomatic language: the US "war on terrorism" should not be used as a springboard for escalating the war on Iraq.

In the US we hear an increasingly loud chorus of pundits and politicians of both parties calling for war on Iraq. Anything short of an all out attack on Iraq is portrayed as a cowardly accommodation to Arab sentiments. Mark Bowden's article entitled Righteous Fury in the Sunday edition of the November 12 Philadelphia Inquirer typifies this trend, "We should be gearing up to crush the regime of Saddam Hussein once and for all. We can deal with the wounded sensibilities of the region later." We should remember "proof' has not been required for numerous US/British attacks in the past ten years of war on Iraq. Political stability in the Arab and Muslim world is an illusion with the region now consumed by three wars, Palestine vs. Israel/US, Iraq vs. US/Britain, and Afghanistan vs. US/Allies. A pervasive regional consciousness of these brutal imperial wars is the most powerful social force that currently limits the US war drive.

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