Skip to comments.The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon...
Posted on 08/08/2002 6:15:12 PM PDT by RCW2001
The PowerPoint That Rocked the Pentagon
The LaRouchie defector who's advising the defense establishment on Saudi Arabia.
By Jack Shafer
Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2002, at 4:49 PM PT
Diplomatic china rattled in Washington and cracked in Riyadh yesterday when the Washington Post published a story about a briefing given to a Pentagon advisory group last month. The briefing declared Saudi Arabia an enemy of the United States and advocated that the United States invade the country, seize its oil fields, and confiscate its financial assets unless the Saudis stop supporting the anti-Western terror network.
The Page One story, by Thomas E. Ricks ("Briefing Depicted Saudis as Enemies: Ultimatum Urged To Pentagon Board," Aug. 6), described a 24-slide presentation given by Rand Corp. analyst Laurent Murawiec on July 10, 2002, to the Defense Policy Board, a committee of foreign policy wonks and former government officials that advises the Pentagon on defense issues. Murawiec's PowerPoint scenario, which is reproduced for the first time below, makes him sound like an aspiring Dr. Strangelove.
Just who the hell is Laurent Murawiec? The Post story and its follow-up, also by Ricks, do not explain. The Pentagon and the administration insist that the presentation does not reflect their views in any way. The Rand Corp. acknowledges its association with Murawiec, but likewise disavows any connection with the briefing. (Neither Murawiec nor Rand received money for the briefing, Rand says.) According to Newsday, Defense Policy Board Chairman Richard N. Perle, a former Pentagon official and full-time invade-Iraq hawk, invited Murawiec to brief the group, so Perle can't exactly distance himself from the presentation. But he can do the next best thingduck reporters' questions. Murawiec also declined reporters' inquiries, including one from Slate.
The first half of Murawiec's presentation reads calmly enough, echoing Fareed Zakaria's Oct. 15, 2001, Newsweek essay about why the Arab world hates the United States. Its tribal, despotic regimes bottle up domestic dissent but indulge the exportation of political anger; intellectually, its people are trapped in the Middle Ages; its institutions lack the tools to deal with 21st-century problems; yadda yadda yadda.
But then Murawiec lights out for the extreme foreign policy territory, recommending that we threaten Medina and Mecca, home to Islam's most holy places, if they don't see it our way. Ultimately, he champions a takeover of Saudi Arabia. The last slide in the deck, titled "Grand strategy for the Middle East," abandons the outrageous for the incomprehensible. It reads:
Egypt the prize?
Because none of the Defense Policy Board attendees are talking candidly about the session, it's hard to divine what "Egypt the prize" means or if Murawiec's briefing put it into any context. It sounds a tad loopy, even by Dr. Strangelove standards. The Post report does mention a "talking point" attached to the 24-page PowerPoint deck that describes Saudi Arabia as "the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" in the Middle East. That's extreme talk even by the standards of the anti-Saudi editorialists at the Weekly Standard and the rest of the invade-Iraq fellowship.
Who is Laurent Murawiec, and where did he learn to write like this? The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs' Web site lists him as a faculty member, but it lists no current or future classes by him. The site's biographical page adds that he's a graduate of the Sorbonne University, that he worked as "A foreign correspondent for a major French business weekly in Germany" (isn't that kind of vague?) and is the co-founder of GeoPol Services SA, "a consulting company in Geneva, Switzerland, which advised major multinational corporations and banks." It also lists him as a former adviser to the French ministry of defense and the translator (into French) of Clausewitz's On War.
A sweep of the Web shows that he lectured on Islamic terrorism in Toronto on March 11, 2002, under the aegis of the Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies. He wrote an article titled "The Wacky World of French Intellectuals" in the Middle East Quarterly, co-edited a Rand Corp. book, and made these comments at a Nautilus Institute conference. When he spoke on panel with Richard Perle at the American Enterprise Institute on Dec. 1, 1999, Murawiec was introduced as having just moved to the United States after "a dozen years" of working as managing director of GeoPol in Geneva, "a service that supplies advice to European clients, similar to what Kissinger Associates offers from New York, except without the accent." That is a bit of an overstatement. A Google search of "Murawiec and GeoPol" produces 12 hits. Compare that to the 10,300 hits on Google for "Kissinger Associates."
Murawiec's résumé would predict many Nexis hits, but a search of his name reveals just five bylines: Twice already this year, Murawiec has contributed to the neocon publication the National Interest, on the subject of Russia. In 1999 he wrote for the Post's "Outlook" section on "internationalism," and in 1996 he contributed a piece to the Journal of Commerce on Russia. His only other Nexis-able byline is a dusty one from the Jan. 23, 1985, edition of the Financial Times, which describes Murawiec as "the European Economics Editor of the New York-based Executive Intelligence Review weekly magazine."
Executive Intelligence Review, as scholars of parapolitics know, is a publication of the political fantasist, convicted felon, and perpetual presidential candidate Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. It's not clear exactly when Murawiec left the LaRouche orbit. An article by LaRouche that appeared last year in Executive Intelligence Review calls Murawiec "a real-life 'Beetlebaum' of the legendary mythical horse-race, and a hand-me-down political carcass, currently in the possession of institutions of a peculiar odor." In 1997, LaRouche's wife Helga Zupp LaRouche wrote in Executive Intelligence Review (republished in the LaRouche-affiliated AboutSudan.com Web site) that Murawiec "was once part of our organization and is now on the side of organized crime." The truth value of that statement surely ranks up there with LaRouche's claim that the Queen of England controls the crack trade. To say, zero.
When Murawiec departed LaRouche's company is unclear, but Dennis King, author of 1989's Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism, thinks it came when many followers split as LaRouche's legal problems grew and climaxed with a 1988 conviction for conspiracy and mail fraud. "[Murawiec] was not a political leader," says King, "but a follower who did intelligence-gathering."
Now that Murawiec has assumed such a vocal place in the policy debate, the man who gave him the lectern owes us the complete back-story. Over to you, Richard Perle.
Laurent Murawiec's 24-slide presentation to the Defense Policy Board was obtained by Slate and is presented here in type-treatment that approximates the original.
Taking Saudi Out of Arabia
Defense Policy Board
July 10, 2002
Taking Saudi out of Arabia:
The Arab Crisis
The systemic crisis of the Arab
Shattered Arab self-esteem
What has the Arab world
The Crisis of the Arab world
reaches a climax
How does change occur in the
The continuation of politics by other
The crisis cannot be contained to the
Arab world alone
The old partnership
Means, motive, opportunity
The impact on Saudi policy
Saudis see themselves
The House of Saud today
What is to be done?
"Saudi Arabia" is not a God-
An ultimatum to the House of
Or else ...
Grand strategy for the Middle
Iraq is the tactical pivot
Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot
Egypt the prize
You couldn't make that up.
Because none of the Defense Policy Board attendees are talking candidly about the session, it's hard to divine what "Egypt the prize" means or if Murawiec's briefing put it into any context."
Context????????? Hoisted by their own petard, these twits.
JUST let's talk about context, shall we, boys and girls?
I, and probably thousands of you, use PowerPoint or Freelance or something of that ilk on a damned near daily basis (or, Heaven forbid, we're subjected to others' use of such presentation tools) as we conduct our daily business in the corporate world.
I cannot possibly tell you how many of the damned things (such presentations) I have saved on various hard drives of the various computers I maintain........but there are many. What's always fun is to go to one that seemed oh-so-valuable a few months ago or a year ago and open it up now for review.
Without verbal accompaniment.........i.e., CONTEXT...........most are damned-near incomprehensible. I mean, you can't make hide nor hair out of what the creator of the presentation was trying to say!!!
What I'm pointing out is the obvious: These twits ADMIT they don't know the context.......nor have the slightest clue about the accompanying discussion points...........of these slides, yet publish an entire article on "how extreme" they are and what a nutcase this guy is.
Sloppy, transparent, horrifically one-sided bulls**t.
Sometimes they note that the crisis has lasted for the last 1000 years, not just the last 200 years.
It's just about a millenium ago when the Arabs lost control of their own empire. It was taken over by the Turks, then the Kurds, and then the Turks again.
In the aftermath of WWI, it was taken over by the Brits.
Oh, yes, the Arabs "double whammied" themselves. Not only did they lose their empire to foreign powers, they also inflicted the Sharia Law on themselves.
Never call an Egyptian an "Arab".
Anyway, the power point presentation that is being roundly condemned is actually embarrassing only because it is a public pronouncement of what is already being said in private among American strategic planners: Saudi Arabia is a focus of global terrorism. There is where Bin Laden and others were able to get their money.
Be Seeing You,
Yep. The Saudis have got to be feeling a little uneasy at the moment. Personally, I believe the Saudis are the bullseye on the target. That's the home of radical Islam. They are who we're going to have to deal with one day- soon hopefully.
What you mean! 30 Years?!?!?!? How long ago did the "Assassin's Cult" exercise terrorism to gain power?? Wasn't that more like 900 years ago?? Or even longer.
That aside--most of the guy's points seem pretty much on target.
I found them especially interesting after reading this headline.
Jordan Prince Said To Seek Iraqi Throne The Forward ^
Posted on 08/08/2002 9:00 PM Eastern by RCW2001
Jordan Prince Said To Seek Iraqi Throne Meets With Wolfowitz By MARC PERELMAN FORWARD STAFF
PARIS Former crown prince Hassan of Jordan is not on the guest list of a high-level meeting between the main Iraqi opposition groups and American officials scheduled for Friday in Washington. Nevertheless, he is bound to loom large as participants grapple with the all-important question of who runs post-Saddam Baghdad. Rumors are rife that the 55-year-old Hassan is angling to become king of Iraq.
Hassan, whose Hashemite family ruled Iraq until his great-uncle Feisal II was overthrown in 1958, caused a stir last month when he unexpectedly appeared at a meeting of Saddam Hussein foes in London. Hassan himself was crown prince of Jordan for 34 years, but was pushed aside when his brother King Hussein named a son, Abdullah, to succeed him.
Although he claimed he had come to London merely to express solidarity, Hassan's name has been bandied around for a series of United Nations postings since he was pushed aside from the Jordanian throne, fueling speculation that he was looking for a "job," if not a crown.
Several observers said some Bush administration officials are indeed rooting for Hassan at a time when Washington is struggling to find a consensus leader to succeed Saddam. After the London meeting, the London-based Guardian newspaper reported that Hassan had the backing of Pentagon hawks and that he met in April in Washington with one of their most prominent figures, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.
"There is more to his presence in London than meets the eye," an American expert on Iraq said. "Some people might be thinking that a Hashemite ruler might be a good compromise between the Shi'ite and the Sunni" Muslim factions because the Hashemite family is believed to be descended from both prophet Muhammad and his son-in-law Ali, the latter a seminal figure in the Shi'ite faith.
A well-placed intelligence source told the Forward that "some Defense Department people are pushing for it, but it is totally unrealistic."
A Pentagon spokesman, Lieu-tenant Colonel David Lapan, said the department did not want to comment on the speculation surrounding Hassan, adding that he was not invited to Washington for this week's consultations on the future of Iraq.
Other observers dismissed the Hashemite scenario and said Hassan's intention was to embarrass Abdullah by lending Jordanian support to the American regime-change policy in Iraq. They noted that Hassan's move came just as American press reports said Jordanian bases might be used in an American military operation against Iraq, prompting strong denials from Amman.
After the London meeting, Abdullah blasted his uncle, claiming "he had blundered into something he did not realize he was getting into and we're all picking up the pieces," according to the official Jordanian Petra press agency.
"I believe the king does not want this," the intelligence source said. "He is already preoccupied enough with his own survival."
But others disagreed, arguing that Abdullah's denial of the reports of Jordan's cooperation in military preparations and his criticism of Hassan's presence in London could well be a way for him to stave off the inevitable criticism he would face at home. There, public opinion is already enraged by America's unwavering support of Israel since the outbreak of the intifada. The majority of Jordanian citizens are of Palestinian descent.
Some point to the close relationship between Hassan and Iraqi National Congress leader Ahmed Chalabi as an explanation for his presence in London. After Chalabi was indicted in Jordan for a bank fraud in the 1980s, Hassan helped him get out of jail. Chalabi invited Hassan to London, several sources said.
But Hassan's presence did not go down well with some key Iraqi opposition leaders.
"Jordan said it was a mistake and we have to stick to this explanation," said Hamid al-Bayati, the London representative of the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the main Shi'ite opposition group. "Iraq has enough candidates to succeed Hussein. We don't need a foreigner and our new constitution will ensure it."
Al-Bayati will attend the August 9 meeting in Washington with Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith. Also invited are the two main Kurdish groups, the Iraqi National Accord and the constitutional monarchy movement.
Although they said they want to offer a united stance to the administration, disagreements among the opposition groups are obvious. The Iraqi National Congress, created in 1992 as the main umbrella group and funded by Washington for a decade, has not been able to knit them together.
I hadn't seen that yet but when coupled with Bush's buddy Putin now piling on the House of Saud, this could get real interesting.
If the US pulls out of Saudi Arabia --- Watch Out.
It'll be interesting to see how all of this falls out. I pray for peace...for I'm sure that the average Iraqi/Saudi Joe on the street really wants to get involved in a war. Unfortunately, the little guys are always the ones who pay the price for the big dogs.
I'm sure they don't, If done correctly the war does not have to come to "Joe" (at least the fighting part).
Take siege of Baghdad and make the Iraquis come to us. Saudi Arabia could fall if Iraq does.
It would be easier to engineer the necessary coup and selective (maybe) assassinations of the Saudi Royal Family, if we stayed there. Also, a smooth transition of the oil supply to American-controlled interests would be easier, don't you think?
Or am I missing something...?
You're right. For the most part it sounded like a pretty good analysis. I still don't get the "tactical pivot," "strategic pivot" and Egypt being the "prize" though. I wonder if this has more to do with oil than it seems on the surface.
I share that opinion...
So a Jordan/Palestine, plus a Hashemite kingdom spanning some of Iraq plus some of Saudi Arabia, with a Saudi emirate as a rump state, and a Turk-administered northern Iraq (bit of a complication with the Kurds, but...) may be the outcome. But don't count on the map changing overnight. The Cold War was 40 years long.
True, but the Turks would rather run the place than have it become an independent state (which might become a source of support for Kurdish terrorism within Turkey).