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January 14, 2003

The wheels are coming off.

America's War Plans in Disarray
DEBKA-Net-Weekly exposed the Gul government’s (Turkey) sensational decision to back away from its earlier consent to join the American campaign against Iraq by opening a second front in the north and permitting US forces extensive use of its soil and bases to invade Iraq.

DEBKAfile’s experts report that increasing signs point to North Korea’s saber-rattling coming out of a back alley in the Turkish Bazaar.

In mid-October 2002, DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile first exposed North Korea’s nuclear weapons program’s strong bonds to the Middle East. We also reported that Pyongyang had long since shifted major parts of its weapons production and nuclear enrichment processing from Yongbyon to secret sites in Iran and Libya. More than 400 Iraqi nuclear scientists and technicians were found by our sources to be employed in Libya’s underground complex at al Kufra Oasis, where costs are covered mainly by Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Monday, January 13, US assistant secretary of state James Kelly offered North Korea American energy and investment for scrapping its nuclear weapons program. However, even acceptance by the North of that offer would be if limited value; the program would simply go on undisturbed in the Middle East.

DEBKAfile’s Gulf sources disclose the view current in circles close to the Saudi throne and Gulf Emirs that, just as the Iraqi ruler pledged Turkey generous largesse for hopping off the American war wagon, he also promised Kim Jong-Il a hefty aid package plus oil for opening an Asian front to sabotage Washington’s war initiative. A number of other Gulf oil producers have also offered to compensate North Korea for America, Japanese and South Korean energy stoppages.

The obstructionist moves by Turkey and North Korea led Saudi crown prince Abdullah to predict on Saturday, January 12, that the US war against Iraq would not take off. The Bush administration meanwhile finds itself engaged heavily in dealing with trip-wires and hurdles instead of getting the war started.