Iraq War

by Scorpion 9 Replies latest jw friends

  • Scorpion

    I received this from a friend yesterday and thought some here would find it interesting to read.


    The Region After Iraq
    Feb 04, 2003

    Summary: Desert Storm was about restoring the status quo ante. The 2003 war with Iraq will be about redefining the status quo in the region. Geopolitically, it will leave countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia completely surrounded by U.S. military forces and Iran partially surrounded. It is therefore no surprise that the regional powers, regardless of their hostility to Saddam Hussein, oppose the war: They do not want to live in a post-war world in which their own power is diluted. Nor is it a surprise, after last week's events in Europe indicating that war is coming, that the regional powers -- and particularly Saudi Arabia -- are now redefining their private and public positions to the war. If the United States cannot be stopped from redefining the region, an accommodation will have to be reached.

    Analysis : Last week, the focus was on Europe -- where heavy U.S. pressure, coupled with the internal dynamics, generated a deep division. From the U.S. point of view, regardless of what France and Germany ultimately say about the war, these two countries no longer can claim to speak for Europe. Ultimately, for the Americans, that is sufficient.
    This week, U.S. attention must shift to a much more difficult target --the Islamic world. More precisely, it must shift to the countries bordering Iraq and others in the region as well. In many ways, this is a far more important issue than Europe. The Europeans, via multinational organizations, can provide diplomatic sanction for the invasion of Iraq. The countries around Iraq constitute an essential part of the theater of operations, potentially influencing the course of the war and even more certainly, the course of history after the war. What they have to say and, more important, what they will do, is of direct significance to the war.

    As it stands at this moment, the U.S. position in the region, at the most obvious level, is tenuous at best. Six nations border Iraq: Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and Iran. Of the six, only one -- Kuwait -- is unambiguously allied with the United States. The rest continue to behave ambiguously. All have flirted with the United States and provided varying degrees of overt and covert cooperation, but they have not made peace
    with the idea of invasion and U.S. occupation.

    Of the remaining five, Turkey is by far the most cooperative. It will permit U.S. forces to continue to fly combat missions against Iraq from bases in Turkey as well as allow them to pass through Turkey and maintain some bases there. However, there is a split between the relatively new Islamist government of Turkey, which continues to be uneasy about the war, and the secular Turkish military, which is committed to extensive cooperation. And apart from Kuwait, Turkey is the best case. Each of the other countries is even more conflicted and negative toward an invasion. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Iran are very different countries and have different reasons for arriving at their positions. They each have had very different experiences with Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

    Iran fought a brutal war with Iraq during the 1980s -- a war initiated by the Iraqis and ruinous to Iran. Hussein is despised by Iranians, who continue to support anti-Hussein exiles. Tehran certainly is tempted by the idea of a defeated Iraq. It also is tempted by the idea of a dismembered Iraq that never again could threaten Iran, and where Iran could gain dominance over its Shiite regions. Tehran certainly has flirted with Washington and particularly with London on various levels of cooperation, and clearly has provided some covert intelligence cooperation to the United States and Britain. In the end, though -- however attractive the collapse of Iraq might be -- internal politics and strategic calculations have caused Iranian leaders to refuse to sanction the war or to fully participate. Iran might be prepared to pick up some of the spoils, but only after the war is fought.

    Syria stands in a similar relation to Iraq. The Assad family despises the Husseins, ideologically, politically and personally. Syria sided openly with the United States in 1991. Hussein's demise would cause no grief in Damascus. Yet, in spite of a flirtation with Britain in particular -- including a visit with both Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles for Syrian President Assad -- Syria has not opted in for the war.

    Nor have the Jordanians -- at least not publicly. There are constant reports of U.S. (and Israeli) special operations troops operating out of Jordan. U.S. Marines have trained during the past month in Jordan, but the government remains officially opposed to the war -- and what support it will give, it will give only covertly.

    Finally, there is Saudi Arabia, which has been one of the pillars of U.S. power in the region since the 1950s and which has, in turn, depended on Washington for survival against both Arab radicals and Iraq itself. The Saudis have been playing the most complex game of all, cooperating on some levels openly, cooperating on other levels covertly, while opposing the war publicly.

    For all of the diversity in the region, there is a common geopolitical theme. If the U.S. invasion is successful, Washington intends to occupy Iraq militarily, and it officially expects to remain there for at least 18 months -- or to be more honest, indefinitely. The United States will build air bases and deploy substantial ground forces -- and, rather than permit the disintegration of Iraq, will create a puppet government underwritten by U.S. power.

    On the day the war ends, and if the United States is victorious, then the entire geopolitics of the region will be redefined. Every country bordering Iraq will find not the weakest formations of the Iraqi army along their frontiers, but U.S. and British troops. The United States will be able to reach into any country in the region with covert forces based in Iraq,
    and Washington could threaten overt interventions as well. It would need no permission from regional hosts for the use of facilities, so long as either Turkey or Kuwait will permit transshipment into Iraq. In short, a U.S. victory will change the entire balance of power in the region, from a situation in which the United States must negotiate its way to war, to a situation where the United States is free to act as it will.

    Consider the condition of Syria. It might not have good relations with Hussein's Iraq, but a U.S.-occupied Iraq would be Syria's worst nightmare.
    It would be surrounded on all sides by real or potential enemies -- Israel, Turkey, Jordan and the United States - and, in the Mediterranean, by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. Syria -- which traditionally has played a subtle, complex balancing game between various powers -- would find itself in a vise, no longer able to guarantee its national security except through
    accommodating the United States.

    A similar situation is shaping up for Saudi Arabia. The United States is operating extensively in Yemen; it also has air force facilities in Qatar and naval facilities in Bahrain. U.S. B-1 bombers and some personnel are going to be based in Oman. The United States has established itself along the littoral of the Arabian Peninsula. With U.S. forces deployed along the Saudi-Iraqi border, and with U.S. domination of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, the Saudis will be in essence surrounded.

    The same basic problem exists for Iran, although on a less threatening scale. Iran is larger, more populated and more difficult to intimidate. Nevertheless, with at least some U.S. forces in Afghanistan -- and the option for introducing more always open -- and U.S. forces in Iraq and the Persian Gulf, the Iranians too find themselves surrounded, albeit far
    less overwhelmingly than would be the case for Syria or Saudi Arabia.

    The only probable winners would be Turkey, which would lay claim to the oil fields around Mosul and Kirkuk; Jordan, whose security would be enhanced by U.S. forces to the east; and Kuwait, which is betting heavily on a quick U.S. victory and a prolonged presence in the region.

    If we consider the post-Iraq war world, it is no surprise that the regional response ranges from publicly opposed and privately not displeased to absolute opposition. Certainly, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Iran have nothing to gain from a war that will be shaped entirely by the United States. Each understands that the pressure from the United States to cooperate in the war against al Qaeda will be overwhelming, potentially irresistible and
    politically destabilizing. This is not the world in which they want to live.

    Add to this the obvious fact of oil, and the dilemma becomes clear. The United States is not invading Iraq for oil: If oil was on Washington's mind, it would invade Venezuela, whose crisis has posed a more serious oil problem for the United States than Iraq could. Nevertheless, Washington expects to pay for the reconstruction of Iraq from oil revenues, and there will be no reason to limit Iraqi production. This cannot make either Riyadh or Tehran happy, since it will drive prices down and increase competition for market share.

    Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria have every reason to oppose a war in Iraq. The

    consequences of such a war will undermine their national interests. They were depending on Europe's ability to block the war, but that strategy has failed. The Saudis and Syrians then launched into an attempt to find a political solution that would prevent a U.S. occupation of Iraq. That centered around either Hussein's voluntary resignation and exile, or a coup in Baghdad that would produce a new government -- one that would cooperate
    fully with weapons inspectors, and remove the U.S. justification for occupation.

    This attempt, in collaboration with other regional powers and countries like Germany and Russia, is still under way. The problem is that Hussein has little motivation to resign, and his security forces remain effective. Hussein apparently still is not convinced that the United States will invade, or that he will be defeated. His seems to assume that, if his
    troops can inflict some casualties on U.S. forces, then the United States will accept a cease-fire without toppling him. He will not abdicate, nor will his followers overthrow him, until those two assumptions are falsified. What that means is that the United States still would occupy Iraq militarily, even if there was a coup or resignation as the campaign

    If you can't beat them, join them. The European split -- and the real possibility that France and Germany ultimately will endorse war in some way -- mean that war cannot be prevented. Hussein will not abdicate or be overthrown until the war is well under way. Therefore, it is highly likely that the war will take place, the United States will occupy Iraq and that the map of the Middle East will change profoundly.

    Continued opposition to the war, particularly from Riyadh's standpoint, makes little sense. The issue until now has been to cope with the internal political challenges that have arisen in the kingdom since Sept. 11, 2001. After the Iraq war, this issue will be supplemented by the question of how the United States regards the kingdom. It is not prudent for a nation surrounded by a much more powerful nation to allow itself to be regarded as an enemy. Therefore, we are witnessing a shift in the Saudi position that
    might evolve to reluctant, public support for the war by the time an attack is launched.

    Iranian leaders do not feel themselves to be quite in such desperate straits -- since they are not. However, the presence of U.S. power on Iran's borders will create an urgent need to settle the internal disputes that divide the country. The need to do so, however, does not guarantee a successful outcome. The division between those who feel that an opening
    to the United States is essential and those who feel that protecting Iran against the United States is paramount might become exacerbated and destabilize the country. However, there is no immediate, overt threat to Iran, although the possibilities for covert operations increase dramatically.

    Jordan will do well, but Syria's future is cloudier. Washington has concerns about Syria's long-term commitment to U.S. interests, and Damascus might find itself squeezed unbearably. Turkey will fatten on oil and manage the Kurds as it has done in the past. But nothing will be the same after this war. Unlike Desert Storm, which was about restoring the status quo ante, this war is about establishing an entirely new reality.

    The United States is, of course, well aware that its increased presence in the region will result in greater hostility and increased paramilitary activity against U.S. forces there. However, the U.S. view is that this rising cost is acceptable so long as Washington is able to redefine the behavior of countries neighboring Iraq. In the long run, the Bush administration believes, geopolitical power will improve U.S. security interests in spite of growing threats. To be more precise, the United States sees Islamic hostility at a certain level as a given, and does not regard an increase in that hostility as materially affecting its

    The conquest of Iraq will not be a minor event in history: It will represent the introduction of a new imperial power to the Middle East and a redefinition of regional geopolitics based on that power. The United States will move from being an outside power influencing events through coalitions, to a regional power that is able to operate effectively on its own. Most significant, countries like Saudi Arabia and Syria will be
    living in a new and quite unpleasant world.

    Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why the regional powers are behaving as they are. The disintegration of the European bloc has, however, left them in an untenable position. The United States will occupy Iraq, and each regional power is now facing that reality. Unable to block the process, they are reluctantly and unhappily finding ways to accustom themselves to it.

    Edited by - Scorpion on 8 February 2003 15:10:22

  • back2dafront

    quite informative - thanks for posting!

  • Shutterbug

    To be more precise, the United States sees Islamic hostility at a certain level as a given, and does not regard an increase in that hostility as materially affecting its interests.

    Many in the Islamic community already hate the US, which is sad, but after 9/11 some of us could care less. If invading Iraq will get rid of a very brutal dictator and aid in the war on terrorism, I'm all for it. Please remember, many Muslims have but one wish, to bring down the US and Israel. It has been pointed out that much of that hatred revolves around US support of Israel, but how many of us wish to see that little country taken over by radical muslims? The carnage would be horrible. Bug

  • William Penwell
    William Penwell

    I just seen on the news Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, whinning and crying about how the Germans were not supporting the US War effort. Made me want to puke.


  • Realist

    a man like rumsfeld should not comment on foreign politics. he is NOT a diplomat. his comments are unnecessary and stupid.

  • freedom96

    Rumsfield has been in white house positions for quite some time now. He is fully qualified to talk about current events going on in this country, and the effect that others have upon it.

  • Realist


    that may be. but his attacks against germany france and whoever is opposing this war are undiplomatic to say the least. there is no need to severely damage the relationship to europe.

  • Bendrr

    Thanks for sharing that info Scorpion.

    Sorry to say it but the main problem over there is Islam. No, actually I'm not sorry for saying it. The radical Muslims IMO are far more numerous than just a "fringe element" and they want us dead. Our continued presence over there is just adding more fuel to the fires of hate.

    After we're done with Iraq, I really wish the U.S. would just get the hell out of the Middle East. Sure it may mean using the oil in ANWR, but I think that could be done with minimal impact to the environment. We've got plenty of problems in our own house to deal with -- as was pointed out on another thread very well -- and after all we've done or tried to do for the rest of the world we deserve a break to concentrate on our own country and it alone.

    They want to live in the Middle Ages and we want to live in the 21st Century. Fine, let them. It won't take long before most of the Middle East is one big Afghanistan.


  • back2dafront

    I agree w/ ya Mike. Let them run their own country(ies). Let's focus on our own problems - we got enough of them without having to worry about the wrath of radical islams...even though I realize they hate our western culture, I highly doubt that influence alone would provoke them to attack our lands.

  • DakotaRed

    Why not just let the U.N pass another resolution. Surely that will solve it.

    This list is an informal compilation of selected United Nations documents on issues related to the UN Special Commission (UNSCOM). The focus is on recent documents as well as some of the earlier basic texts that lay down UNSCOM's basic rights and Iraq's obligations. The "titles" given to the documents in this list are only informal descriptions designed to describe the main points of interest from Special Commission's point of view. Click the link to obtain the specified document. Documents are in chronological order. Documents without links will be available in the near future.


    S/Res/1284 of 17/12/1999 Replacement of UNSCOM by UNMOVIC.

    S/Res/1205 of 05/11/1998 Condemnation of Iraq's decision to halt monitoring.

    S/Res/1194 of 09/09/1998 Condemnation of Iraq's decision to halt all UNSCOM disarmament work.

    S/Res/1154 of 02/03/1998 Endorsement of the MOU on access to Presidential sites.

    S/Res/1137 of 12/11/1997 Condemnation of Iraq's behavior, imposition of travel ban.

    S/Res/1134 of 23/10/1997 Condemnation of Iraq's behaviour, further sanctions threatened.

    S/Res/1115 of 21/06/1997 Condemnation of Iraq's refusal to grant access and interviews.

    S/Res/1060 of 12/06/1996 Condemnation of Iraq's refusal to grant inspection access.

    S/Res/1051 of 27/03/1996 Approval of export /import monitoring mechanism for Iraq.

    S/Res/715 of 11/10/1991 Approval of Ongoing Monitoring and Verification plan.

    S/Res/707 of 15/08/1991 Iraq's compliance; inspection flights; Iraq to provide disclosures.

    S/Res/699 of 17/06/1991 Iraq to be liable for all costs associated with UNSCOM's work.

    S/Res/687 of 03/04/1991 Cease-fire and establishment and mandate of UNSCOM.


    S/1999/100 of 30/01/1999 Note on the establishment of the three panels.

    S/1999/94 of 29/01/1999 Report on status of disarmament and monitoring.

    S/1998/1172 of 15/12/1998 Secretary-General, IAEA and UNSCOM letters on Iraqi cooperation .

    S/1998/1127 of 30/11/1998 Letters on documents and UNSCOM missions.

    S/1998/1106 of 20/11/1998 Letters on documents, biology and outstanding issues.

    S/1998/1032 of 04/11/1998 Letter on effects of Iraq's decision to halt monitoring.

    S/1998/1023 of 31/10/1998 Letter on Iraq's decision to prohibit monitoring.

    S/1998/995 of 26/10/1998 Report of the Group of International Experts on VX.

    S/1998/1194 of 09/09/1998 Condemnation of break of cooperation, suspends sanctions reviews.

    S/1998/769 of 18/08/1998 President of the Council's reply to Executive Chairmans's 12 August letter.

    S/1998/767 of 12/08/1998 12 August letter from the Executive Chairman on the implications of Iraq's August decisions

    S/1998/719 of 05/08/1998 Report of the Chairman's August 1998 Baghdad Mission.

    S/1998/529 of 17/06/1998 Report of the Chairman's June 1998 Baghdad Mission.

    S/1998/326 of 15/04/1998 Report of the Special group on visits to presidential sites.

    S/1998/308 of 08/04/1998 Report of the Technical Evaluation Meeting on BW.

    S/1998/278 of 27/03/1998 Report of the Chairman's March '98 Baghdad mission.

    S/1998/166 of 27/03/1998 Memorandum of understanding on Presidential sites.

    S/1998/208 of 09/03/1998 Procedures for Presidential sites.

    S/1998/58 of 22/01/1998 Report of the Chairman's January '98 Baghdad mission.

    S/1997/987 of 17/12/1997 Report of Chairman's December '97 Baghdad mission.

    S/1997/922 of 24/11/1997 Report of the emergency session of UNSCOM

    S/1995/1017 of 7/12/1995 Export/Import monitoring mechanism.


    S/1999/1037 of 08/10/1999 Eigth report under resolution 1051.

    S/1999/401 of 09/04/1999 Seventh report under resolution 1051.

    S/1998/920 of 06/10/1998 Sixth report under resolution 1051.

    S/1998/332 of 16/04/1998 Fifth report under resolution 1051.

    S/1997/774 of 06/10/1997 Fourth report under resolution 1051.

    S/1997/301 of 11/04/1997 Third report under resolution 1051.

    S/1996/848 of 11/10/1996 Second report under resolution 1051.

    S/1996/258 of 11/04/1996 First report under resolution 1051.

    S/1995/1038 of 17/12/1995 Ninth report under resolution 699.

    S/1995/494 of 20/06/1995 Eighth report under resolution 699

    S/1995/864 of 11/10/1995 Eighth report under resolution 715.

    S/1995/284 of 10/04/1995 Seventh report under resolution 715

    S/1994/1422 of 15/12/1994 Seventh report under resolution 699.

    S/1994/1138 of 07/10/1994 Sixth report under resolution 715.

    S/1994/750 of 24/06/1994 Sixth report under resolution 699.

    S/1994/489 of 22/04/1994 Fifth report under resolution 715.

    S/26910 of 21/12/1993 Fifth report under resolution 699.

    S/26684 of 05/11/1993 Fourth report under resolution 715.

    S/25977 of 21/06/1993 Fourth report under resolution 699.

    S/25620 of 19/04/1993 Third report under resolution 715.

    S/24984 of 17/12/1992 Third report under resolution 699.

    S/24661 of 19/10/1992 Second report under resolution 715.

    S/24108(Corr.1) of 16/04/1992 Second report under resolution 699.

    S/23801 of 10/04/1992 First report under resolution 715.

    S/23268 of 04/12/1991 First Report under resolution 699.

    S/23165 of 25/10/1991 First Report under resolution 687.

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