[saymaListserv] Fw: Primakov Meets With Hussein, Opportunity For Bush To Save Face

Mary Calhoun moriah at preferred.com
Thu Feb 27 15:21:48 JEST 2003


>From the local (Washington Co, VA) peace group (APEC) list-serve,
forwarded by Rachel Bliss.

Mary Calhoun
Foxfire FM

----- Original Message -----
From: Thomas Smith
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 12:21 PM
Subject: [AriseAction] Primakov Meets With Hussein, U.S. Energy
CompaniesInvited Back, Back Primakov Proposal, Opportunity For Bush To
Save Face

        Peace Prospects
        Tue, 25 Feb 2003 13:58:20 -0500
        Dennis Burke CPPAX <dburke at cppax.org>
>From Stratfor, a global intelligence service:

Sources: Iraq Agrees To Full Compliance With Inspectors

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, reputed to be a
personal friend of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, made a lightning
visit to Baghdad on Feb. 23. The purpose and results of the meeting
are shrouded in secrecy, apart from a statement by Moscow that Hussein
was asked -- and agreed -- to cooperate fully with U.N. weapons

Reliable Stratfor sources within the Russian government say Hussein
indeed has promised to cooperate with the inspectors' demands
--including that Baghdad scrap its al Samoud 2 missile program by
March 1, an announcement that sources expect to be forthcoming within

The importance of the meeting stretches much further, however.
Sources say the Iraqi leader has agreed to a proposal by Russian
President Vladimir Putin -- previously discussed between Russian,
French and German leaders -- that Baghdad formally invite U.N.
peacekeepers within the next 10 days or so to back up weapons
inspectors. This, sources say, would show the world that Iraq
will be unconditionally disarmed under strict and fully enforceable
U.N. deadlines, with peacekeepers staying on in Iraq until the task
is complete.

Sources also say that Hussein has asked Putin to deliver a secret
offer to U.S. and British energy giants, inviting them back to Iraq
as major industry players roughly 30 years after they were ousted
from the country. The companies could return to Iraq immediately
if Washington calls off its planned invasion.

On Feb. 24, Vladimir Voloshin -- the head of Russia's presidential
administration -- left Moscow for Washington, where he is likely
to deliver that message to President George W. Bush. The choice
of Voloshin as a diplomatic envoy is highly unusual, because he
focuses on managing Russia's internal affairs and has never been
dispatched in this way before.

Voloshin also will brief U.S. leaders on other aspects of the
discussion between Primakov and Hussein. The ultimate goal of
this visit is to persuade the Bush administration that Iraq will
be disarmed to such a point that it not only will be unable to
threaten U.S. and Israeli forces for years to come, but would be
unable to resist a U.S. invasion if Washington deems it necessary
to attack Iraq in the future. If Washington is at least partly
receptive to this message and to Hussein's promises, a second
meeting between Primakov and Hussein likely will result.

If intelligence from Stratfor sources is correct, the Bush
administration could save face by claiming that Iraq's true
disarmament was reached only through U.S. military pressure.
Putin already has called British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
French President Jacques Chirac to convey details of the Primakov
meeting. Sources say Chirac was enthusiastic about the proposal,
and that Blair has also reacted favorably. But the fate of the
proposal rests with Washington.

The Bush administration's reaction at this point is far from
clear. The proposal would not achieve Washington's two main goals
in Iraq: regime change and a new base for U.S. forces in the Middle
East. However, as the costs of war continue to pile up, the Russian
proposal could be considered a face-saving exit for Washington.

The ultimate decision likely will come down to Bush administration
advisers -- including former U.S. President George H.W. Bush --
who will weigh the risks involved for the current president's
re-election plans and the U.S. geopolitical stance as a whole.
At this point, we believe the Bush administration will reject
Hussein's overtures and Putin's proposal. But there will be
more to the story: Last minute-attempts to block or promote
the war will continue within the U.N. Security Council and
possibly involving a second trip by Primakov to Baghdad.

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