At a time when policy makers in Washington are talking about cutting the size of the US military, the department of defence has signalled it is to dramatically increase the size of its Cyber Command over the next few years. Proponents of the plan argue it is a prudent response to the changing nature of 21st century warfare. They argue that in recent years cyber attacks at the behest of governments have increased in frequency and ferocity.
With a “Mount Everest” of evidence that Saddam Hussein’s defiance is continuing, the window for diplomacy on Iraq will be open for “weeks, not months,” the White House said Thursday.
The showdown with Saddam is at a “critical juncture,” Press Secretary Ari Fleischer told reporters. Fleischer’s comments represent the administration’s first official word of a time-limit on efforts to end the standoff peacefully.
Fleischer said President Bush still hopes the Iraqi regime can be disarmed peacefully.
Administration officials have said repeatedly that time is running out for Saddam. “The president is using this window now to engage in very busy and active diplomacy,” Fleischer said. “This will take place in a period of weeks, not months.”
Fleischer asserted that “there’s already a Mount Everest of information” implicating Saddam even without new evidence.
Bush met Thursday with Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, a firm supporter of the United States’ hardline position toward Iraq.
“For the sake of peace, this issue must be resolved,” the president said after the meeting.
President Bush said Friday he would welcome a second U.N. resolution on Iraq but only if it led to the prompt disarming of Saddam Hussein. Pushing for a new resolution, British Prime Minister Tony Blair called confronting Iraq “a test of the international community.”
Both leaders dismissed Iraq’s offer to host U.N. weapons inspectors before their next interim report, with Bush calling the invitation a charade meant to “string the inspectors along.”
Showing little patience for Saddam or for allies trying to slow his pace toward war, Bush said, “Any attempt to drag this process out for months will be resisted by the United States.”
Though the leaders are largely in agreement on most Iraq issues, the news conference after their two-hour White House meeting revealed differences over diplomatic tactics and the extent of Saddam’s threat.
Bush, for example, accused Iraq of being linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network and said those ties “portend a danger for America and for Great Britain, anybody who loves freedom.” Blair did not make the link between Iraq and al-Qaeda, though he said terrorist networks in general are tied to the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction.
An analyst says Washington’s military plans to set up a base for US drones in Northwest Africa coincide with Africa’s ‘increased significance as a supplier of oil, natural gas and other vital resources.’
The comment comes as US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the US military command in Africa (AFRICOM) is preparing plans to establish a base for unmanned aircraft, which would likely be located in western Niger, in order to increase its spying operations in the region.
The officials also said the base would be used for flying reconnaissance drones only, though they have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point in the future.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Emira Woods, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus Think Tank in Washington to further discuss the issue.