US-Geheimdienste schreiben Irak ab
--- In einem Briefing an Bush, wieder einmal einem so genannten National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), malen die US-Geheimdienste ein sehr skeptisches Bild der weiteren Entwicklung im Irak, enthüllt die New York Times heute: The estimate outlines three possibilities for Iraq through the end of 2005, with the worst case being developments that could lead to civil war, the officials said. The most favorable outcome described is an Iraq whose stability would remain tenuous in political, economic and security terms. "There's a significant amount of pessimism," said one government official who has read the document, which runs about 50 pages. The officials declined to discuss the key judgments - concise, carefully written statements of intelligence analysts' conclusions - included in the document. The intelligence estimate, the first on Iraq since October 2002, was prepared by the National Intelligence Council and was approved by the National Foreign Intelligence Board under John E. McLaughlin, the acting director of central intelligence. Such estimates can be requested by the White House or Congress, but this one was initiated by the intelligence council under George J. Tenet, who stepped down as director of central intelligence on July 9, the government officials said. As described by the officials, the pessimistic tone of the new estimate stands in contrast to recent statements by Bush administration officials, including comments on Wednesday by Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, who asserted that progress was being made. "You know, every step of the way in Iraq there have been pessimists and hand-wringers who said it can't be done," Mr. McClellan said at a news briefing. "And every step of the way, the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi people have proven them wrong because they are determined to have a free and peaceful future." Wenn man sich die jüngsten haarsträubenden Entführungsfälle anschaut, mag man den Spionen recht geben. Da kommt Kofi Annan mit seiner Verurteilung des Irak-Kriegs als "illegal" nun wirklich reichlich spät.
Update: Die FTD macht am Freitag mit fast der identischen Headline ihre Seite Eins auf.