As Good As It Gets?!?....but for whom?

A.C. Szul mack97 at EROLS.COM
Mon Feb 23 17:06:17 MST 1998

> Global Intelligence Update
> Red Alert
> February 23, 1998
> Annan Mission to Baghdad Shifts Focus to Saudi Arabia
> <snip>..........The Clinton administration had arrived on the threshold of
> military action amidst the realization that it had created neither a
> coalition abroad nor the domestic support needed to wage an extended
> campaign.  Nor did the administration have an exit strategy.  To be more
> precise, since the military effect of the bombing would have necessarily been
> inconclusive, the United States' only hope was a political evolution in Iraq
> that, on careful analysis, was no solution at all.  Therefore, we expect the
> administration to make a great show of skeptically examining Annan's
> agreement, rejecting important portions of it, but still using the agreement
> as an excuse to delay and ultimately avoid  military action.  We would be
> extremely surprised if the United States did not seize on this opportunity to
> change policy.

> --------------<snip>-------------
> Lest we regard the picture as too rosy for Iran, the situation on its
> eastern frontier deteriorated today.  The murder of two Iranians in
> Pakistan was carefully planned by someone to increase tensions between Iran
> and Pakistan at a particularly sensitive moment.  Whoever was responsible--
> and the suspects range from anti-Iranian Afghans, to Sunnis in Pakistan, to
> Iraqi agents--the net result is to distract Iran from its concentration on
> a virtuoso diplomatic performance, and possibly even to compel a
> redeployment of forces eastward, away from the all-important southern Iraqi
> border.  The murders were a shrewd move but it is not clear that they will
> shift Iranian attention decisively.
> The United States has now created an unpleasant dilemma for itself.  Its
> recent actions have driven home the extent to which its position in the
> Middle East has deteriorated.  Striking against Iraq without decisively
> shattering Saddam's regime would have accelerated this process.  Striking
> decisively would have strengthened Iran's position.  Not striking at all
> weakens American credibility further.  It is nevertheless the best of a bad
> set of choices.  But whatever the outcome, the real winner has been Iran,
> more and more in a position to build coalitions in the region on its own.
> -------------->snip>----------------_____________________________________
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