Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
THE DECAY OF AMERICAN MEDIA — Patrick L. Smith on the decline and fall of American journalism; Peter Lee on China and its Uyghur problem; Dave Macaray on brain trauma, profits and the NFL; Lee Ballinger on the bloody history of cotton. PLUS: “The Vindication of Love” by JoAnn Wypijewski; “The Age of SurrealPolitick” by Jeffrey St. Clair; “The Radiation Zone” by Kristin Kolb; “Washington’s Enemies List” by Mike Whitney; “The School of Moral Statecraft” by Chris Floyd and “The Surveillance Films of Laura Poitras” by Kim Nicolini.
The US is preparing to launch a series of wars in the Middle East, according to sources in Russia’s military intelligence services. This is more likely to happen in September, at the start of a new financial year. President George W. Bush has announced a record level of US military spending: $29 billion has been […]

Russian Intelligence

by Vladimir Georgiyev

The US is preparing to launch a series of wars in the Middle East, according to sources in Russia’s military intelligence services. This is more likely to happen in September, at the start of a new financial year. President George W. Bush has announced a record level of US military spending: $29 billion has been allocated for combating terrorism alone.

This time the Kurds in the region will play the role of the Northern Alliance, which was allied with the US in the Afghanistan war.

Preparations for the war are in full swing. Together with other NATO member nations (Germany and Italy) the US has been concentrating its military groups in the Middle East. Thus far, this is being done under cover of back-up for the counter-terrorist operation in Afghanistan. But the main operations in Afghanistan have ended. The Pentagon is unlikely to employ the major part of its forces to search for Osama bin Laden in Central Asia. The terrorists are scattered, and peaceful life now needs to be established in Afghanistan, with the help of the global community.

Russian sources report that the US is trying to use the Kurds – who are fighting for their independence in Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran – as its main allies in removing the current regimes in Iraq, Syria, and Iran. Since the break-up of the USSR, Russia has retained quite a good network of secret services in the areas where Kurds live in these countries. According to sources in Russia’s military intelligence services, the US has already recruited leaders of the Kurdish communists, and nearly finished financing projects to restore landing strips in these districts. Weapons produced in the Soviet Union and in Russia, familiar to the Kurds, have now been purchased for them.

It is not clear as yet whether the Pentagon will bomb Iran, Iraq and Syria at the same time, or whether it will start with bombing Saddam Hussein. At least one of the plans reported in the La Vanguardia newspaper (Spain) envisages destruction of Hussein’s regime within eight weeks. In the opinion of the newspaper, the United States intends to eliminate the Ground Forces and air bases of Iraq in extensive air strikes, thus providing an opportunity to declare a “popular uprising”. Then, a controllable pro-western leader – Khamid Karzay of Afghanistan – will be given the “throne.”

Similar plans are to be carried out in Syria, Iran and Turkey. Under the bammer of a peacekeeping mission, the US and other NATO member states will settle themselves on Kurdish territory and set up their bases, just as they have done in Kosovo. The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline, its construction financed by the US, will become the compensation for the separation of Kurdistan from Turkey.

Such a change in the geo-political environment will take a short time, Russia’s military-diplomatic sources believe; just as it didn’t take long for the Americans to settle in former Soviet republics of Central Asia. To date, Britain remains Moscow’s only ally in opposing the plans of the US. The British government arranges information leaks to the press regarding the “insane” measures the United States is taking in the Middle East.

Russia is not taking any measures thus far, apart from providing assurances via diplomats, supporting Syria and Iran with armaments, and advising them on military issues.

Sources in Russia’s military intelligence services conclude that if the US unleashes a war, it won’t be a “joke.” The Kurdish factor will be pushed into the background, and the war will be very bloody and fierce for the United States. Russian politicians are reinterpreting these conclusions in their hints. In this connection, statements by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasianov and Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov – that they do not approve of President Bush’s plans to continue the counter-terrorist operation against rogue states – take on a clearer form.

(This article originally appeared in the Russian paper Nezavisimaya Gazeta. Translated by Andrei Ryabochkin)