Wednesday, January 05, 2005

To: All Concerned with Armenia's Involvement in Iraq.

Enclosed please read an article published in today's Los Angeles times.

The US occupation terrorist forces have destroyed a whole country based on pure and simple lies. Many of the so called "coalition" forces have left and are leaving Iraq.

I strongly urge you all to put pressure on the rulers in Armenia to stay away from Iraq until the complete withdrawal of US occupying terrorist forces from Iraq. The rulers in Armenia have been bribed by the Bush Administration to show the world that many countries are supporting the US in its occupation of Iraq. Being bribed is not independence, as the rulers of Armenia wants us to believe. The US is not bringing democracy in Iraq. It is bringing death and destruction, and Armenia can not be any part of it. Armenia must first work very hard to bring democracy and prosperity into our homeland, before "spreading" its "democracy" elsewhere. Armenia must act on humane principles to survive, prosper and be respected in the long term.

I suggest you publish the attached article in your newspapers. The Armenian people must know the truth.

Note: Based on the attached information:
1. Countries that have withdrawn forces from Iraq are: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Hungary, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Philippines, Spain and Thailand.
2. Countries planning to withdraw from Iraq are: The Netherlands.
3. Countries that have reduced or are planning to reduce their troop commitment from Iraq are: Poland, Ukraine, Moldova and Norway.


Harout Bronozian

Los Angeles Times
January 4, 2005

U.S. Reportedly Shifts on Involving Europeans
• Instead of seeking more troops, the White House will ask the Continent to support the larger effort to bring democracy to Iraq, officials say.

WASHINGTON — The United States is backing away from efforts to pressure European allies to join or remain in the American-led military force in Iraq and is instead working to coax those countries into participating in other initiatives in the region, according to senior Bush administration and European officials.

The shift comes after 15 countries, including Spain, Poland and Hungary, have either scaled back their already relatively small force levels in Iraq, announced pullouts or withdrawn their troops altogether over the last year. Meanwhile, the insurgency there has grown in intensity.

Last month, the Netherlands became the latest coalition member to signal its departure when Dutch Defense Minister Henk Kamp reaffirmed that all of the approximately 1,350 Dutch troops in Iraq would leave by the end of March.

Although U.S. forces account for the overwhelming majority of foreign troops in Iraq, 28 other nations are contributing to the force, most with fewer than 500 troops. As of August, forces from 31 countries were in the coalition.

Instead of asking for troops, the U.S. will try to persuade reluctant European allies to support the larger struggle to bring democracy to Iraq and reform to the Middle East.

According to administration officials, congressional aides and outside experts, the reason for the reduced U.S. pressure is threefold:

• An acknowledgment by the administration that foreign governments are confronting increasing political difficulty in keeping their forces in an unpopular and bloody conflict.

• A recognition of the need to move international debate beyond the divisive issue of the U.S. decision to invade Iraq and to work more closely with key allies to diminish terrorist threats common to the United States and Europe.

• The fact that, with few exceptions, the forces of the remaining coalition members are too small for their departure to have a serious effect on the military balance of power in the fight against the insurgency.

"We're now down to the reality that the only major outside force [aside from the U.S.] is the British," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a former Pentagon and State Department official now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

During his campaign for reelection, President Bush bristled at criticism that the war lacked international support, frequently citing the roster of countries that had contributed troops.

At the same time, U.S. officials have consistently stressed that the long-term solution to Iraq's security problems is to raise and train an Iraqi force capable of containing the insurgency, an exercise that military experts admit will take years, rather than months.

Until then, further reductions in foreign forces would merely add, however marginally, to the load already shouldered by U.S. and British troops.

The administration also is throttling back pressure on other countries as it begins to broaden its priorities in the Middle East beyond the immediate task of defeating armed resistance in Iraq. Administration officials now talk of the more politically ambitious goal of planting the seeds of reform across much of the Muslim world.

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's trip to Europe and Morocco last month concentrated heavily on getting European governments to expand the NATO alliance's reach in Afghanistan and to participate in a recently launched program of economic and political reform aimed at the Islamic world.

There was little talk during that trip of adding nations to the Iraq military effort, except in the form of a new North Atlantic Treaty Organization military training mission.

Bush is expected to personally take the diplomatic lead on new efforts during the next few months. A trip by him to Europe, scheduled for late February, includes visits to NATO and European Union headquarters in Brussels as well as a stop in Berlin to revive ties with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

The EU is also a crucial player in confronting other challenges in the Middle East, including containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions and settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Germany and France, which have two of Europe's largest armed forces, have refused to send troops to Iraq but are contributors to NATO's stabilization force in Afghanistan. French President Jacques Chirac has accepted Bush's invitation to visit Washington in the first half of this year.

"It's important to keep the coalition there, but there's a lot more these countries can do," said a senior administration official who declined to be identified by name.

The official listed economic support, including canceling billions of dollars in foreign debt run up during Saddam Hussein's rule, helping train Iraq's fledgling security forces and providing a show of political backing for whatever government emerges from the country's first competitive national election in more than four decades.

"It's extremely important you get a government that has the acceptance of the majority of the [Iraqi] population," this source said. "Foreign governments can, by their actions, help lend to this legitimacy."

The Netherlands is one example of the shift underway. Dutch officials admitted that, after weathering a heated parliamentary debate last June to maintain forces in southern Iraq's relatively peaceful Muthanna province through March, there was little chance of extending that mandate further.

British and U.S. officials stopped pressuring for an extension "a couple of months back," according to a Dutch government official, who declined to be identified by name.

By contrast, the government in The Hague has had comparatively little resistance to its decision in November to forgive Iraq more than $220 million in outstanding debts. Dutch Foreign Ministry spokesman Bart Jochems said the government was also considering sending about 25 soldiers to NATO's training mission in Baghdad and he noted that about 260 military personnel also were serving under NATO command in Afghanistan.

"We need to stop looking in the rear-view mirror and realize we're all in this together," Jochems said.

The Madrid train bombings in March, which claimed 191 lives, and the Nov. 2 murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh — both linked to Muslim militants — have helped create the sense in Europe that it has a stake in helping defeat Islamic extremism.

"This isn't a trade-off, it's a transition to a whole different issue," said a veteran U.S. congressional aide. "The Europeans have woken up to the terrorism challenges we face. We can still argue if [the Iraq invasion] was a mistake, but we all have to recognize that there's a problem now that carries huge geostrategic implications. The European Union can play a role and NATO can play a role."

Experts noted that, in many cases, the withdrawal of nations from the U.S.-led military force in Iraq could have more of a political than a military impact.

"The loss will be one largely of appearances rather than effective fighting forces on the ground," said James Dobbins, director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corp. and a veteran diplomat who has served under four presidents.

Dobbins said the involvement of these countries in other Iraq-related programs would send a positive political message.

"It will help legitimize the Iraq government and its efforts to fight and win international recognition," he said.

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