Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Iraq Effect. the Middle East after the Iraq War

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

The Iraq Effect. the Middle East after the Iraq War

Article excerpt

The Iraq Effect. The Middle East After the Iraq War. By Frederic Wehrey, Dalia Dassa Kaye, Jessica Watkins, et al. Santa Monica: RAND, 2010. 187 pp. $40.

The Iraq Effect is a thought-provoking but flawed study commissioned by the U.S. Air Force on the regional implications of the 2003 Iraq war. Trends discussed may be real, but their presence before Operation Iraqi Freedom suggests that they should not be attributed only to the war.

For example, while the authors are certainly correct that the Iranian regime exploited Iraq's postwar leadership vacuum, attributing Iran's "growing aggressiveness" to the war alone ignorcs more than two decades of Iranian nuclear threats, its support for Hezbollah, or its efforts to undermine stability in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. That Tehran's boldness might be less due to Iraq's fall and more to do with a long history of Western concessions and voided red-lines indicates a skewed and uncritical perspective.

While the authors correctly mark Turkey's rise as an important regional development, their attribution of the Turks' antagonism toward Washington to the Iraq war is less certain. While Ankara certainly had its reasons for opposing Saddam's ouster, the authors fail to ask whether Turkey's Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) encouraged anti-Americanism on ideological grounds which, at their core, had nothing to do with Iraq. …

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