- The Washington Times - Friday, August 16, 2002

Now that we alone if necessary have decided to invade and occupy Iraq, perhaps it's time we consulted Henry Kissinger. Mr. Kissinger warns that before invading we must carefully explain to the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and other members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] what's in it for them.

They already wonder why we profess to be so worried about Iraq's military dictator Saddam Hussein who has thus far not been able to produce or acquire nukes. They wonder why we aren't even more worried about Pakistan's military dictator Pervez Musharraf who already possesses a stockpile of "Islamic" nukes and a complete cradle-to-grave nuke production capability.

If Saddam actually had a nuke stockpile it wouldn't be quite so hard to explain. We could argue that we are afraid Saddam would give his nukes to Islamic terrorists, who would then nuke us. Hence, we have to invade Iraq, confiscate Saddam's nukes, depose Saddam, and then stick around to make sure no one worse takes Saddam's place.

We could argue that we don't have the same fears about Mr. Musharraf, because he has allied himself with us in the War Against Terrorism and we trust him to keep Islamic nukes out of the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Of course, better arguments could be made for invading and occupying Pakistan, rather than Iraq. After all, Mr. Musharraf can't keep Islamic terrorists from getting their hands on Islamic nukes if he's deposed, as he will likely be if we don't prevent it.

But Saddam doesn't have and never had nukes. The UN Special Commission [UNSCOM] established by U.N. Security Resolution 687 has already presided over the complete destruction of the Iraqi nuclear infrastructure.

So, convincing Islamic rulers that we have to invade and occupy Iraq because we are afraid Saddam will give what-they-know-he-hasn't-got to terrorists isn't going to be easy.

It would be easier to make the argument for chem-bio warfare weapons. Saddam actually had lots of them. Furthermore, many Iraqi 'dual-use' biological production facilities such as breweries, bakeries, and aspirin factories haven't been destroyed. In its final report, UNSCOM said they doubted that Saddam's chem-bio warfare capability could ever be completely eliminated.

Thereupon, most members of the U.N. Security Council wanted to lift the sanctions on Iraq. However, we and the Brits insisted on a new resolution U.N. Security Resolution 1284 establishing the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission [UNMOVIC], which was instructed to do what UNSCOM doubted could be done.

U.N. 1284 passed, but only because Russia, France and China abstained from voting. Russia gave notice that it would veto any attempt to use U.N. 1284 for any 'enforcement' purpose.

Of course, if the warhawks really wanted to merely depose Saddam, after September 11 they could have used the War Against Terrorism as their excuse. In fact, if Saddam needs killing so bad, you wonder why the Israelis haven't already done it.

But for some reason the warhawks want to go beyond merely killing Saddam or even fighting the War Against Terrorism. They want to invade and occupy Iraq.

Well, Russia, France and perhaps China will see to it that the U.N. Security Council never authorizes a resumption of the Gulf War. So, Mr. Kissinger may be right. If we want to invade and occupy Iraq for the next twenty years, and if we have to go it alone, and if we don't want to start an all-out war against Islam, we'll just have to bribe the rulers of other Islamic states to sit this one out.

It's obvious what the Islamic rulers will demand, initially. A Middle-East Nuke-Free Zone. That means Israel without nukes.

Well, that's not going to happen.

So what will they settle for? US guarantees that neither we nor the Israelis will preemptively attack, invade or occupy any other Islamic state? US guarantees that Pakistan's nuclear power or nuke infrastructure will not be attacked by the Israelis or the Indians? US acquiesce to nuclear technology transfers to OIC members?

It looks like the price we pay for invading and occupying Iraq will be very high indeed. But the biggest price we may pay is the transfer of nuclear technology and perhaps Islamic nukes to several Islamic states. If Israel gets to keep nukes, several Islamic states will demand them, too.

Current Islamic rulers may consider such proliferation to be in their best interests. But is it in ours?


Gordon Prather is a former national security adviser with several federal agencies, including the Defense Department. He also worked as a nuclear weapons specialist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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