IAIN WATSON: This is living history,
a cold war bunker deep within rural England, closed down in less pessimistic
times. But now the cobwebs are being swept from many of the world's secret
command and control centres as phase two of the war against terror advances.
But beneath the surface, the question of how many countries to target and
by what means, is causing friction
RICHARD PERLE: Without a wider assault
on terrorism, terrorism will continue, it's as simple as that. So the answer
is we cannot stop with al-Qaeda or Bin Laden alone, or we will be repeating
the mistake of Desert Storm where we ended that war before Saddam was effectively
MICHAEL ANCRAM MP: It has to obviously leave open
the door to military action. Not just military action where there is incontrovertible
evidence of international terror, then all options should be available
to deal with it.
JOHN BATTLE MP: I think any escalation
of the military action in Iraq would be disastrous at the present time,
we should discourage it, frankly
WATSON: Tactical divisions in the
US Administration had been hidden behind the mantra "one step at a time,
Afghanistan first". But as phase two in the war against terror draws closer,
tensions are beginning to show. The administration are currently discussing
how many more countries ought to be targeted. But if they favour armed
intervention more than arm-twisting, they could risk a serious schism with
the Arab world, as well as putting new strains on the transatlantic coalition
America said that the
forty or fifty countries which harbour terrorists could now be facing financial,
diplomatic or even military action. Near to the top of the target list
would appear to be Iraq; United Nations' weapons inspectors were thrown
out three years ago and Saddam Hussein has been less than sympathetic about
the recent terrorist attacks on the United States.
PERLE: It is difficult to imagine
an effective war against terrorism that leaves Saddam Hussein and Iraq's
terror network and his support for global terror intact.
JUDITH KIPPER: I think it's going to be
less possible to tolerate a militarily contained Iraq that has weapons
of mass destruction in the current security climate that exists globally
and there may very well be a re-evaluation to do something about it.
WATSON: Divisions are being revealed
amongst strategists in Washington. The US Deputy Defence Secretary is reportedly
keen to stress the military option; while the Secretary of State apparently
prefers the primacy of diplomacy and wouldn't wish to act without clear
evidence. But CIA sources have been quoted in articles alleging a link
between Bin Laden and Iraq. However, both the British government and the
Tory opposition, appear wary about extending the war.
ANCRAM: I haven't seen incontrovertible
evidence but then you know we hear about intelligence reports, but I think
it's important that we make it clear that you only take action where there
is incontrovertible evidence.
WATSON: And some in the Arab world
say they're even more sceptical about the recent accusations against Saddam
DR SAMI GLAIEL: I remember so many declarations
saying there is no evidence against Iraq and it was an incentive to convince
all countries of the region to join the coalition and to calm the Arab
countries and Muslim countries in order to join the coalition. And we are
surprised now once the coalition assured their success and victory, started
talking about other countries, about Iraq, about Syria, about I don't know
WATSON: But even if the evidence
were amassed against Iraq, mounting a military attack could cost the US
the support of relatively moderate Arab states who back the anti Bin Laden
GHADA KARMI: Now, for the coalition, it's
very difficult for Arab countries and Islamic countries who already are
hesitant and uncertain about supporting an enterprise which has made fellow
Muslims suffer to this degree. Remember there are nearly five million refugees
in Afghanistan and more people have been killed than we know about. However,
they held together at least this far. It is inconceivable to me, that if
an Arab country were directly targeted by the United States, that any support
would be forthcoming from the Arab world.
BATTLE: If we simply start going
in the direction of the military I think there will be not be support across
the world or indeed in our own communities. So I think shifting the focus
now, I would discourage that immensely and those that say well should we
look at Iraq now and go there, I would hope the answer is no, unless we
were looking at a political, diplomatic and humanitarian as well.
WATSON: The warning from some Arab
states is more stark: a mutual defence pact could be activated.
GLAIEL: I am not a military man.
I am not the one who makes the highest policy in my country, but I know
we are in pact in defensive pact with Iraq, with all Arab countries.
WATSON: The American Administration
may, in the end, decide that discretion is the better part of valour when
it comes to military action against Iraq. But if they are serious about
a war on terrorism and not just against Bin Laden, they can't be seen to
be doing nothing in response to a country which the US itself says stockpiles
and manufactures biological weapons. But some of the alternatives to military
action could be impractical while others such as a better targeted sanctions
regime may still alienate even relatively moderate Arab states.
Saddam Hussein's regime
has survived despite the imposition of sanctions which have hit the civilian
population; but policy makers in the US now think that so-called 'smart
sanctions' aimed at undermining Saddam's ability to produce weapons, could
be successful as Russia and France are more likely to assist.
KIPPER: If Russia talks, the Iraqi
regime has to listen and if they understand that they really are completely
alone and that Russia and the United States are united it will be very
very difficult for them to feel that sanctions will erode, that the Russians
and the French will back them, that somehow they can slip out from under
the sanctions. So I think that it is really the solidarity of the US Russian
position, that will be the biggest influence on the Iraqi regime.
WATSON: But some Arab states wont
be pacified even by purely military sanctions
GLAIEL: We said it very clearly,
enough is enough. Iraqi people suffered enough and sanctions did not work
and will not work. And there is no need any more for any sanctions. Simply,
co-operation and understanding would lead to solve that problem.
WATSON: One alternative to sanctions
envisages a 'Northern Alliance' solution to the problem, keeping Allied
troop involvement minimal by giving more support to the Iraqi national
congress; but a previous attempt after the Gulf war failed to unseat Saddam,
and some Middle East experts believe that taking on Iraq's relatively strong
armed forces could prove just too much for an exiled opposition.
KIPPER: I don't see that they
are going to be capable of doing the kinds of military things that would
be necessary because they're outside the country and the Northern Alliance
in Afghanistan was not outside the country, they were inside the country,
and I think it is, it is much more problematic in Iraq.
WATSON: What worries some isn't
so much action against Saddam, it's who might be next - Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Cuba, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan are, according to America, all 'rogue'
states which sponsor terrorism and could all potentially be in the firing
KARMI: Well there is we understand
a list held by the US administration which includes a number of countries
most of which strikingly are Arab. And most of which I must say are very
poor and that will go down very badly because there is a feeling that you've
got a big American bully who picks on small guys. Now if the Americans
are unwise enough to start doing this then they will I think find themselves
sucked in to a never ending conflict which will be with us for decades
WATSON: So how many fronts could
be opened in this second phase of the campaign against terrorism? Countries
such as Iran and Syria aren't exactly embarrassed by their support for
pro-Palestinian groups, widely condemned as terrorists such as Hamas and
Hizbollah - so could these nations themselves become legitimate targets?
Or in the war against terror, will pragmatism triumph over principle?
KIPPER: I think behind the scenes
that Iran is a more active partner in the anti-terror coalition that meets
the eye, at least in public. The picture is not clear and as American officials
have said, we're going to get help in this global campaign from even those
who are still part of the problem and I would certainly put Syria in that
GLAIEL: One day you are rogue state,
you are terrorist and one day you are very good and you are main player
in the region and they need your support and your help, and this really,
we don't care very much about those names given to us and to others.
WATSON: The West is likely to reward
those rogue states which recant. But some countries - including the Yemen
and Somalia- might not have the capacity to take on any terrorists connected
to al-Qaeda who might be operating there. While both government and opposition
here emphasize economic action, some in the US say a key role should be
given to covert forces in this type of campaign.
KIPPER: I think Americans and the
rest of the world have now discovered that US special forces in terms of
intelligence and getting things done on the ground and helping local people
to accomplish strategic goals is a very efficient and quite useful form
of combat that has less publicity, less collateral damage than a bombing
campaign or the normal conventional warfare.
ANCRAM: The effective way in which
you deal with terrorism is by making sure that the terrorist no longer
has the ability to thrive in the international community, you cut off their
bolt holes, you cut off those sources of supply. I think it's very dangerous
to allow ourselves to get in to the mind-set where we say there is, there
is evidence that a country is supporting terrorism, therefore we, there
is only one form of action that can be taken against it. This is a long-term
campaign against international terrorism which will occur in different
ways in different parts of the world.
WATSON: Phase two of the global
war on terror will manifest itself in many forms; but there are those who
argue that being tough on the causes of terrorism is the surest way to
shut out support for the terrorists themselves.
BATTLE: We've got to address where
globalisation and the global economy is not delivering opportunities and
people are still locked out from that, where there are still countries
where people are dire poverty and conflict, we've to address those pressure
points and urgently. And that means perhaps Palestine and Israel of course,
that's in the focus, I'd say in Kashmir as well in that conflict between
Pakistan and India.
PERLE: If the foreign ministers
of the world, all of whom are reluctant to engage militarily certainly
prevail, then we will end the war on terrorism without a decisive victory,
and I think that would be a terrible tragedy and the attacks on New York
and Washington will turn out to be just the beginning.
WATSON: The US-led coalition has
made swift progress in difficult conditions in Afghanistan; but success
can encourage ambition; any escalation of the war on terror, involving
other nations, will have to be negotiated carefully if the Coalition is
to remain in the ascendant, and avoid imploding.