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April 07, 2003

World War IV

The clash of civilizations

Asia Times tells its readers to Watch Woolsley
WASHINGTON - If you want to figure out whether the administration of President George W Bush intends a crusade to remake the Middle East in the wake of Washington's presumed military victory in Iraq, watch what happens with R James Woolsey. A former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Woolsey is being pushed hard by his fellow neoconservatives in the Pentagon to play a key role in the post-Saddam Hussein US occupation.

Less well-known than his long-time associates and close friends, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and the former head of the Defense Policy Board (DPB) Richard Perle, Woolsey has long believed that Washington has a mission to use its overwhelming military power and its democratic ideals to transform the Arab world. And he has pushed for war with Iraq as hard as anyone, even before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

If he soon pops up in Baghdad, you can bet that the "clash of civilizations" is imminent, if it has not begun already. To Woolsey's mind, the US is already engaged in what he and many of his fellow neoconservatives call "World War IV", a struggle that pits the US and Britain against Islamist and Wahhabi extremists like al-Qaeda's Osama bin Laden, Iranian theocrats, and Ba'ath Party "fascists" in Syria and Iraq. In their view, the Cold War was World War III.

Their list also includes other authoritarian rulers in the Arab world, such as Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and the ruling Saud family in Saudi Arabia, whose "Faustian bargain" with the Muslim Wahhabi sect, in Woolsey's view, is responsible for al-Qaeda and much of Islamist-related terrorism throughout the world.

"We want you nervous," Woolsey told Mubarak and the Saudi monarchy in a speech to students at the University of California at Los Angeles last week. "We want you to realize now, for the fourth time in a hundred years, that this country and its allies are on the march, and that we are on the side of those you most fear: we're on the side of your own people." (Worth reading MORE)