A New Iraq? The Gulf War and Implications for U.S. Policy

A New Iraq? The Gulf War and Implications for U.S. Policy

A New Iraq? The Gulf War and Implications for U.S. Policy

A New Iraq? The Gulf War and Implications for U.S. Policy

Synopsis

The volume analyzes the political and economic effects of the Iran-Iraq war upon Iraq, focusing on whether the war united Iraqi society in a way that has not happened since the country was established in 1920. It opens with an examination of Iraqi political development and U.S. policy toward Iraq. Following is a discussion of the various means of political consolidation of Iraq. The next chapter investigates the growth of Iraqi foreign policy in relation to both the Arab state and the superpowers. The book also predicts the country's ability to hold together under military and economic pressure. Finally, the author discusses the future of U.S. policy toward Iraq.

Excerpt

To what extent should the United States forge a close relationship with President Saddam Hussein's Ba'thi government? Some see that regime, whatever its current public posture, as congenitally hostile to U.S. aims in the Middle East. Others contend that it has mellowed and that a sufficient mutuality of interests now exists between the two countries to ensure longer-term cooperation. In devising policy toward Iraq, U.S. administrations must weigh such differing attitudes. These differences reflect congressional and public disquiet and rise from diffuse, but interrelated, elements.

First, until the Iran-Iraq war began in 1980 and even afterward, Iraq was little known to other than a limited number of official Americans and academic specialists. To the extent most members of Congress or the U.S. public thought of Iraq, it was generally in negative terms. After all, Iraq had consistently opposed U.S. efforts to achieve an Arab-Israeli peace. For years the Ba'thi leadership of Iraq had challenged the pervasive U.S. presence in the Middle East. Israel, whose influence on U.S. thinking about the Middle East is considerable, viewed Iraq as a mortal enemy. In 1981 it bombed Iraq's Osirak reactor, claiming the reactor was intended to provide Iraq with a nuclear mili-

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