From MERL@MiddleEast.Org Thu Sep 27 06:17:29 2001
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 07:03:43 -0500 (CDT)
From: MER <MERL@MiddleEast.Org>
Subject: Warnings of Backlash and Blowback growing...
Article: 126917
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Warnings of Backlash and Blowback growing

Mid-East Realities, 24 September 2001

Saudis say ‘No,’ Pakistanis say ‘Only as a last resort,’ Germans warn of ‘Bloodbath,’, and so Americans send their planes and commandos to former Soviet Muslim Republics

The American government has a long long history of militarism and deception; but under the new circumstances post-11 Sept many who normally have grown skeptical and partially independent over the years are doing what they are told, complying so to speak. While it is rather obvious to some around the world that the U.S.government is using the new situation to boldly enforce the post-Cold War new world orderyou are either with us or against us—there is already a growing uneasiness that while the Empire has tremendous military/technological might it lacks the political subtlety and historic sophistication to rule in such a way. That is why the Saudis told the Pentagon no even though the best-in-the-world multi-billion-dollar U.S. military control center was just finished in the Kingdom two months ago; it is why the Pakistanis have complied but at the same time pleaded please only as a last resort; it is why Egypt has say no and moved to close ranks with Iraq fearing it is next after Afghanisan; and it is why leading intellectuals and artists worldwide are beginning to raise their own admittedly feeble warning flags.


By Toby Helm in Berlin, filed: 24/09/2001

THE head of the German equivalent of the SAS has angered senior Nato officers by predicting a bloodbath if special forces from allied nations move into Afghanistan to try to hunt down Osama bin Laden.

In a deliberate call for caution, Brig Gen Reinhard Gunzel, who commands the elite Kommando Spezialkrafte (KSK), said success would be almost impossible without severe and unacceptable losses to his special troops and those of other allied nations.

Even if such a combined force did find bin Laden, this would not mean victory, he said. Behind him stand so many fanatic followers that another one would immediately replace him.

The 57-year-old brigadier general added: Special forces would come lightly armed and unprotected. There would be a bloodbath. No special unit in the western world could agree to such an action.

The Brig Gen insisted that troops with a western philosophy and a will not to die would have little chance against men who are willing to give their lives in a fight.

His remarks were first published, with his full consent, on the internet by Spiegel Online news service on Friday as rumours spread through Germany that some KSK troops were about to be dispatched to within striking distance of Afghanistan.

Last night, a spokesman for the German ministry of defence confirmed that Brig Gen Gunzel had authorised the interview, but declined to comment further. Officials inside the ministry made clear, however, that the comments had shocked and angered fellow defence chiefs.



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP—23 Sept)—Saudi Arabia, apparently concerned about possible strikes on a fellow Arab state, has rejected a U.S. request to use its air bases for an offensive against terrorism, a Saudi official said Sunday.

In Washington, the State Department praised Saudi military cooperation and said it looked forward to continued assistance from the kingdom. A diplomat in Riyadh said the two sides were still negotiating.

America is preparing to retaliate for the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States. Washington blames a pan-Arab network of Islamic militants led by exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden for the attacks on New York and Washington that left more than 6,000 people missing or dead. Officials indicate a strike on Afghanistan, where bin Laden has found a haven, could come at any time.

Saudi officials, though, say the United States cannot use the Prince Sultan Air Base, south of the Saudi capital Riyadh, for U.S. retaliatory attacks. Last week the commander of the U.S. Central Command's air operations, Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Wald, shifted his operations from South Carolina to the base.

Saudi Arabia will not accept any infringement on its national sovereignty, but it fully backs action aimed at eradicating terrorism and its causes, said the official, who refused to be identified further.

A diplomat in Riyadh, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Saudis were negotiating with the United States over the anti-terrorism campaign. The concern appeared to be the possibility other Arab states would be targeted.

In the past, Washington has accused Yemen, Sudan and Iraq of harboring terrorists. People in those countries now fear a U.S. attack.

The Saudis were pushing for a multilateral campaign that would allow them some influence over the targets of American retaliation, the diplomat said.

In Washington, a State Department official said Sunday that Saudi military cooperation with our international effort has been excellent.

The official noted that President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell have said there will be many facets to our international effort to bring to justice those responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, including efforts in law enforcement, diplomacy and international finance. As we move forward, we will be looking to the Saudis and others for assistance in these efforts.

The United States and Saudi Arabia have been close allies for more than half a century. U.S. troops have remained in the kingdom since leading the multinational coalition that ended Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1991

Saudi Arabia hosts about 4,500 U.S. military personnel and an undisclosed number of warplanes at Prince Sultan Air Base. U.S. warplanes patrolling a no-fly zone over southern Iraq take off from Saudi Arabia.


ISLAMABAD, Sept 24 (Reuters)—As U.S. forces took up positions around the world on Monday, Islamic countries warned against any unilateral retribution for attacks on the United States that could sow the seeds of another whirlwind of violence.

With the British foreign secretary and the European Union beginning trips to the Middle East and Asia on Monday, Islamic leaders also urged a halt to Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

Iran and Syria said on Sunday any unilateral anti-terrorism offensive would have grave ramifications and should be under the United Nations, the official Iranian news agency IRNA said.

If the United States attacks Afghanistan, the crisis will grow, IRNA quoted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as saying in a telephone conversation with Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

Iran and Syria, both on Washington's list of alleged state sponsors of terrorism, have condemned the assault on U.S. symbols of power and wealth.

President George W. Bush has said all evidence so far pointed to wealthy, Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, who lives in Afghanistan as the guest of its ruling Taliban, as responsible for the suicide plane attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon that left 6,800 people dead or missing. Washington has warned Kabul it could face attack if he is not turned over to the United States.


Gulf Arab states pledged support on Sunday for the U.S.-led drive to bring to justice those behind the attacks.

Saudi Arabia and its five allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council—all of whom took part in the 1991 U.S.-led war against Iraq—didn't specify what help the oil-rich states could offer.

The Washington Post said on Saturday Saudi Arabia resisted a U.S. request to use a new command centre at a Saudi base.

Bin Laden has cited the continued deployment of U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia that began during the 1990-91 Gulf Crisis and which he sees as a desecration of Islam's holiest shrines as the genesis of his holy war against the United States.

Asked how Gulf states would view a U.S. attack on Muslim Afghanistan, a Gulf official who attended the meeting told Reuters: It is not acceptable. It's too much. This would be American terrorism on poor hapless people.

With growing calls in the Arab world for an international alliance to stop Israeli attacks on Palestinians, the meeting also urged the U.N. Security Council, the United States, Russia and the EU not to be distracted from state terrorism practiced by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people.

Diplomats and analysts say an offensive against Afghanistan might provoke attacks on American interests in pro-Western Gulf Arab countries and moderate Muslim countries in Asia.


Analysts said Saudi Arabia and some of its Gulf allies felt embarrassed by popular support in their countries for bin Laden.

They must get something in return, said Abdelbari Atwa, editor of the London-based al-Qods. The West, particularly the U.S., must realise that terrorism has political roots. The Arab-Israel conflict and failure to achieve a just settlement is also an embarrassment.

Nevertheless, the United States won its first victory in the region when the United Arab Emirates on Saturday broke off diplomatic relations with Afghanistan's Taliban.

Washington is trying to build a global coalition that would not only back retaliation for the worst single attack on U.S. soil but root out extremist networks, led by bin Laden's shadowy al Qaeda organisation, by cutting off their financial lifelines.

Although several countries—Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Libya among them—were said to be harbouring thousands of members of these shadowy networks, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Washington was broadening its investigations into their financial sources.

Facing an enemy operating in 60 countries, including in Europe and the United States, U.S. Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said troops would not be engaged in a conventional war.


Japan's Jiji news agency quoted Japanese government sources as saying Washington had warned its allies of a possible second round of attacks by the end of this week.

The United States had information that al Qaeda had acquired small airplanes to spray bacteria causing smallpox or anthrax from the air, Jiji quoted the sources as saying.

In Jakarta, a series of explosions that rocked the parking lot of a busy shopping centre on Sunday was probably the handiwork of a Malaysian group that Kuala Lumpur said received training in Afghan guerrilla camps.

The blasts caused moderate damage but no casualties.

Police have said the Malaysian group was also involved in Muslim-Christian clashes in Indonesia's Molucca islands, where thousands have died in more than two years of savage violence.

Sunday's blasts followed threats of violence by Indonesian Muslim radicals if Washington attacks Afghanistan.

Indonesian police said on Friday it had assigned snipers to protect the U.S. embassy, which told its citizens to exercise maximum caution after receiving information that extremists may be targeting U.S. interests in Indonesia.

Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are considering a regional anti-terror coalition in the wake of last week's attacks, officials said.


The United States was positioning military forces around the world in its biggest mobilisation since the 1991 Gulf War, with B-1 and B-52 bombers, dozens of fighters, and support aircraft ordered to the Gulf and Indian Ocean region, along with elite Special Operations troops.

Defense officials, who asked not to be identified, said about a dozen more aircraft, including refueling planes, would soon be moved to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean to join nearly 350 U.S. warplanes at land bases and on two aircraft carriers.

A U.S. military team was in Pakistan on Monday to discuss Washington's hunt for bin Laden, the world's most wanted man.

On the diplomatic front, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw begins a groundbreaking trip to Iran on Monday—the first by a British foreign secretary since the 1979 Islamic revolution—on a tour that also takes him to Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

The EU team, led by Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel, also sets out on Monday on a week-long trip which will take it to six predominantly Muslim nations—Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

The tour is a coalition-building trip, one EU diplomat said. The EU has special ties with Arab countries. This can be helpful in coalition building.

The EU leaders declared the United States was entitled to strike back at those responsible and states that aid them. They also called for the broadest possible global coalition against terrorism under the aegis of the United Nations.