November 3, 2003
Jerusalem (www.jnewswire.com) - US President George W Bush's intelligence chiefs are urging him to apply "clear and intentional pressure" on Israel to stop all settlement activity in order to defuse the spiraling situation in Iraq.
This news emerged from Washington Monday, a day after American soldiers killed in Iraq since the end of the ground war there passed the number of US fatalities during that conflict.
According to Ha'aretz, the US Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) last week recommended to the administration that publicly applying pressure on Israel to stop settlement construction would help make "headway with the Palestinians as well as helping to calm the situation heating up in Iraq."
In other words, putting pressure on Israel in a way that is evident to the Arabs will help ease Arab pressure on the US.
'Bloodiest day for US troops'
At least 17 American soldiers and two US contractors were killed in Iraq Sunday, making it, in the words of a BBC reporter, "the bloodiest day for US troops since the war ended."
An analyst writing for the Washington Post said the escalation "could prove more significant strategically than tactically because of the increased political pressure it puts on the Bush administration."
Hating America's stand with Israel
That pressure was already mounting before Monday's fatalities, which are only expected to torque it up.
Reports out of Washington say the CIA believes America's policy concerning Israel is one of the main reasons anti-US sentiment is running so high in the Middle East. Another reason is the presence of US troops on Muslim lands.
Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Carl Ford reportedly submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the urgent application of pressure on Israel to stop settlement activity was one of two main requirements to introduce stability in Iraq. The other requirement was for the US to make visible inroads in establishing democracy in Iraq and providing welfare aid. Ford's position reportedly mirrors that of CIA Director George Tenet.
According to Ha'aretz, Ford doubted these conditions could be fulfilled, but said that unless they were, the US should anticipate an increase in Arab and Muslim hostility that would threaten prospects for the future.
In a letter to the senators, CIA director of congressional affairs and former head of the CIA in Israel Stanley Moskowitz, suggested that "peace plans" like the one proposed by Saudi Arabia last year were expected to significantly reduce hatred of America in the region.
Saudi Arabia is a sworn enemy of Israel and has helped bankroll terror groups who remain bent on the total destruction of the Jewish state.
In related developments, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister joined his opposite numbers from Iran, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan and Egypt in a meeting in Damascus at the weekend to discuss fears about the far reaching consequences of America's involvement in the Middle East, and a pro-America government in Baghdad, according to CNN.
The ministers are reported to have stressed the need to "preserve Iraq's sovereignty and independence." They also called for strengthening UN participation in rebuilding the country, and particularly in the drawing up of a new constitution for the country as well as in holding elections.
And they discussed the need to draft a timetable that would help bring an end to the US-led occupation.