- Despite official American protestations to the contrary,
former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes that the United States'
next target in the war against terror will be Iraq, while former prime
minister Ehud Barak says the U.S. will attack Somalia, Sudan or Yemen.
- Speaking at the Herzliya Convention for National Security,
Netanyahu said yesterday that the U.S. is planning to attack Iraq soon
and that Israel must ask Washington for time to prepare itself. It is not
enough for Israel to get a warning of an imminent attack, Netanyahu said;
the U.S. must give Israel time to get ready, and Israel knows how to do
- Only a day earlier, America's National Security Adviser
Condoleezza Rice had told the convention in a satellite address that the
U.S. has no plans to attack Iraq at present. Despite this, Netanyahu said,
he was sure there would be an attack, even if not immediately, because
the combination of nuclear power and terror was intolerable.
- Netanyahu also said that Israel must work toward toppling
the Palestinian leadership headed by Yasser Arafat. He said it would be
replaced by more pragmatic leaders, not the Hamas.
- He said the U.S. had established three principles in
the wake of the September 11 bombings:
- l A moral differentiation between terrorism and self-defense
through military action that could inadvertently affect civilians;
- l A strategic decision to fight terror without distinguishing
between terrorist organizations and those who send them, although the order
of importance may be different when deciding to attack them;
- l The importance of victory, namely that the end justifies
- A different sequence of events was envisaged by Barak
in his later address to the convention, which is being sponsored by the
Institute for Strategy and Policy at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center.
- The next chapter after Afghanistan will be Somalia, Sudan
or Yemen, all of which harbor terrorism, Barak told the defense establishment
heads attending the convention. This will be followed by a U.S. campaign
against Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Syria, and the mopping up of
11 or 12 terrorist organizations operating out of Damascus, he said.
- Only in the fourth stage will the U.S. turn to Iraq,
Barak said, since there is no way to establish world order, stability and
normalization, as well as economic growth, if Saddam Hussein remains in
power as if nothing happened.
- The UN will be asked to present the conditions to Iraq,
he said, and Israel and the U.S. will have to cooperate "intimately"
on the subject.
- As for Iran, a new order appears to be emerging there,
and the U.S. will be less eager to attack that nation, also in view of
the fact that Iraq and Iran together produce some 6-7 percent of the world's
- Turning to Palestinian terrorism, Barak said it should
be countered by persistent IDF action; by a plan for gradual separation,
over a four-year period; and by an open-door policy toward renewing negotiations
with the Palestinians without preconditions other than the cessation of