Albion Monitor /Commentary
Foreign Correspondent

Bombing the Usual Suspects

by Eric Margolis

Iran and Libya are 'rogue states,' while Russia receives U.S. aid and slaughters 60,000 in a barbaric campaign of extermination

President Bill Clinton accused Iran and Libya earlier this month of being 'two of the most dangerous supporters of terrorism in the world.' He signed into law a bill that will impose heavy sanctions on non-American companies that make significant investments in either nation's oil industry.

While the President was charging 'rogue states' Iran and Libya with terrorism, his ally, Russia, a major recipient of U.S. aid, was slaughtering civilians and levelling entire villages and towns in Chechnya. Russian forces have killing 60,000 Chechens in a barbaric campaign of extermination that Clinton recently justified as being akin to the American civil war.

The European Union, which gets 25% of its oil from Libya and Iran, mostly shrugged off Clinton's latest threats of trade war as election-year grandstanding to America's powerful Israel lobby, which engineered the sanctions. Ironically, these sanctions duplicate the Arab trade boycott of Israel, that the same lobby so bitterly opposed.

Muslims Under Our Mattresses are to be the Reds Under Our Beds of the 90's

Some Europeans, however, took alarm: they saw Washington's recent threats against nations doing business with Cuba,Iran, Sudan, Libya, Syria and Iraq as signs that US foreign policy was being exclusively driven by narrow domestic politics. Turkey, for one, ignored US warnings and signed a multi-billion gas deal with its neighbor, Iran.

Meanwhile, Washington sources say if the FBI and CIA can establish any links, no matter how tenuous, between Mideast terrorists and the downing of TWA Flight 800, the White House will authorize heavy air strikes against Iran or Libya -- or both. They will also be hit if even remotely linked to last month's bombing of a U.S. barracks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

As previously reported in this column. Iran and Libya may soon be attacked, even if they are not connected to any terror attacks -- particularly if the Whitewater scandals worsen. Bombing Arab miscreants is always a big voter-winner for in the U.S.

The U.S. and Israel have been mounting a heavy propaganda campaign in recent months, accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons, and Libya of building a mysterious, underground poison gas plant. Israel, it should be noted, has the Mideast's only nuclear arsenal, and the largest biological/chemical warfare plants.

All the rumpus over Iran and Libya is in curious contrast to the Administration's studied indifference to North Korea, which has at least two operational nuclear weapons and a broad array of chemical and biological weapons, all of which are targeted at U.S. forces in South Korea and Japan.

Clearly, the Clinton Administration has wholeheartedly adopted a strategy of replacing the threat of communism with that of terrorism -- and mainly Islamic terrorism at that.

Muslims Under Our Mattresses are to be the Reds Under Our Beds of the 90's. Political chameleon Clinton has decided to use terrorism, real or imagined, to sound like Ronald Reagan, just in time for Fall elections.

Europeans, save Britain's Tories, view all this with deep scepticism. They do not see Iran or Libya as terrorist threats, but an important trading partners. Italy, for example, imports 45% of its oil from Libya. and gets on well with its former North African colony. Muammar Khadaffi remains wildly eccentric, but he has adopted a low profile in recent years.

Still, very strong suspicion points to Libya over the bombings of a Pan Am and French UTA airliners, though conclusive evidence of Libyan guilt, or even motives, are elusive. Libya may actually have been framed by its many enemies, or other terrorist groups.

What if Europe ordered the U.S. to stop investing in Mexico because of that nation's tolerance of drug trading?

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has stepped up planning air strikes against Iran and Libya, possibly in conjunction with Israel. One hears reports that Saudi Arabia has secretly agreed to allow Israeli warplanes to overfly its airspace on their way to hit Iran.

Likely Iranian targets are two nuclear installations -- which are under UN safeguards -- radars along the Gulf, naval vessels, air bases, and possibly oil terminals. Iran's air force is miserably weak; its anti-aircraft defenses would be quickly blinded by U.S. or Israel electronic warfare.

The main target in Libya is the alleged chemical/biological warfare plant buried deep underground near Tripoli, Libya claims the vast site is part of Khadaffi's gigantic 'Great Man-Made River Project,' not a military facility. Until recently this was the world's largest construction project: a series of enormous pumping stations bringing underground water from the Sahara aquifer 817 km north to the Libyan coast through 4 meter underground pipes.Wags call it 'the Great Madman's River Project.'

The White House insists it's a plant, producing gas and germs aimed at Israel, that must be destroyed. But the facility is too deep underground to be reached by U.S. earth- penetrating conventional weapons. The Pentagon has been evaluating British bombs, but without success. Pro-Israel hawks in the Clinton Administration have been openly calling for use of a US tactical nuclear weapon on the mysterious plant.

Some of this is the product of election fever. But some is real, and Europeans, who consider the Mideast their backyard, not Washington's, are getting angry.

How would the Americans like it, they ask, if Europe ordered the U.S. to stop investing in Mexico's or Trinidad's oil because of those nation's tolerance of drug trading? Or declared Israel an outlaw state because of its secret development of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons?

© Eric Margolis 1996
Margolis is a syndicated columnist for The Toronto Sun. Back Issues of Foreign Correspondent are avilable at the FTP site

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Albion Monitor August 26, 1996 (

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