November 4, 2005

US should consult allies on Iraq: Kissinger

By Mark John

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States should consult
internationally on its plans for Iraq given the potentially
devastating consequences of a failure in its policies there,
former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said on Friday.

Speaking at a NATO event in Brussels, Kissinger warned
against the emergence of "a Jihadist government" in Baghdad,
saying it would threaten security far beyond Iraq and the
Middle East.

"A catastrophic outcome in Iraq would affect directly or
indirectly all members of the (NATO) alliance as well as
countries from South East Asia to the northern hemisphere,"
Kissinger told an audience of NATO officials and soldiers.

"That is why the next phase of Iraq policy in my view
requires some degree of intensive consultation about its
direction," he said.

"Whether to do this in the NATO council or via some more
restricted contact group goes beyond the scope of this speech."

Kissinger said Washington should be ready after Iraqi polls
due on December 15 to cooperate more in the "political
reconstruction" of the country.

NATO last year launched a training mission for top Iraqi
officers, but opponents of the war, notably France and Germany,
have resisted any wider role.

NATO members such as Britain and Italy have individually
contributed to the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and the European
Union is involved in training Iraqi judges and police.

Kissinger, who signed the 1973 peace deal that led to the
final pull-out of U.S. troops from Vietnam, did not offer any
timeframe for a U.S. military exit from Iraq and was scathing
about former U.S. officials critical of the running of the war.

The question of whether the war is undermining the fight
against terrorism, as some argue, is irrelevant, he said.

"I believe the people who are now managing this should be
given the opportunities and assistance in dealing with it," he

Suzanne Patrick, who resigned as U.S. defense
undersecretary for industrial policy in July, said recently a
"single-minded focus" on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was
causing Washington to lose sight of key issues such as China
and the wider Muslim world.