Iraq under SADDAM HUSSEIN never posed a threat to the United States, but it was considered as one by Israel, the U.S.‘s biggest ally in the Middle East. That is why Washington launched the war, a top-level White House intelligence group said.
According to an article on Inter Press Service news agency, Philip Zelikow, who is now the executive director of the 9/11 investigation panel, said that one of the main reasons behind the 2003 U.S.-led INVASION was to protect Israeli interests in the region. Zelikow made his comments about "the unstated threat" during his tenure on a well-connected body known as the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB), which reports directly to the president. He served on the board between 2001 and 2003.
Zelikow's remarks contradict with the justifications provided by the Bush administration, which has never linked Iraq with Israel’s security. Instead, President BUSH has insisted that the war was to topple the Iraqi leader, “liberate” the Iraqis and destroy SADDAM HUSSEIN's alleged weapons of mass destruction. (No such weapons were ever found in Iraq.)
"Why would IRAQ attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990--it's the threat against Israel," Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on behalf of a team of foreign policy experts evaluating the impact of 9/11 and the future of the U.S.‘s “war on terror”.
"And this is the threat that dare not speak its name, because the Europeans don't care deeply about that threat, I will tell you frankly. And the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell," he added.
Even if IRAQ really possessed weapons of mass destruction, Zelikow said, then the fear of them falling into the hands of the Palestinian resistance would have threatened Israel rather than the United States. "Play out those scenarios," he told his audience, "and I will tell you, people have thought about that, but they are just not talking very much about it."
Until now the possibility that Washington invaded IRAQ to protect Israel has been rarely raised by some intellectuals and writers, with few public acknowledgements from sources close to the Bush administration. Zelikow’s statements are the first to acknowledge that the war, which has so far claimed the lives of thousands of Iraqis, was launched by the U.S. to eliminate a threat against Israel.
Political analysts who reviewed Zelikow's remarks said they are strong evidence of one factor in the rationale for going to war, which has been covered up. "Those of us speaking about it sort of routinely referred to the protection of Israel as a component," said Phyllis Bennis of the Washington-based Institute of Policy Studies. "But this is a very good piece of evidence of that."
Others blame the White House for not informing the public about its true motives for invading IRAQ. "They (the administration) made a decision to invade Iraq, and then started to search for a policy to justify it. It was a decision in search of a policy and because of the odd way they went about it, people are trying to read something into it," said Nathan Brown, professor of political science at George Washington University and an expert on the Middle East.
The Bush administration, which is surrounded by pro-Israel, neo-conservative hawks, is now trying to defend itself against accusations that it derailed the "war on terror” it launched after 9/11 by hitting IRAQ, which didn’t pose any direct threats to the Americans.
In fact, the war was pushed forcefully by the neo-conservatives in the Bush Administration. A number of senior figures from Bush administrations’ neo-con wing wrote an advisory paper for the Netanyahu government in 1996 entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm". This paper listed ousting SADDAM as an “important Israeli strategic objective." It defies logic to believe that the same people, in their push toward Iraq war, didn’t think about Israel’s security. Writers involved in the "Clean Break" paper included Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David and Meyrav Wurmser and James Colbert. All of them were supporters for the war.
Moreover, Israel’s support for the INVASION was never hidden. Both the SHARON government and a majority of the Israelis backed the war. A Guardian report on how the U.S. intelligence community provided "evidence" to support the INVASION described how Americans working outside the CIA worked with Israelis operating outside of the Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, to help produce that "evidence." Reports before the war indicated that Israel was playing a key role in preparing for the INVASION, while others indicate that Israeli agents have been working among Iraqi Kurds.