The Consequences for the Middle East and Iraq (October
Much of the contemporary debate over this brewing
crisis, indeed much of this Forum's first two days, has focused on
assessing Iraq's threat to international stability and to American
security goals. Yet the Bush Administration has made it clear that it
wants a "regime change" in Iraq. Thus contemporary analysts, and members
of our Forum, must contemplate not only the possibility of a new Gulf
War, but also the future -- a future Iraq and Middle East without Saddam
Ahmad Dallal, Associate Professor of Middle East History
at Stanford, discusses the aftermath of an American military campaign,
with an eye toward its impact on the larger Middle East. Noting a
curious paradox, Dallal points out that while Saddam Hussein's regime is
notorious for its abuses, and while Iraq has few allies among its
neighbors, only the United States, Great Britain and Israel have vocally
supported a regime change in Iraq. What explains this difference in
global opinion? And why, in particular, do so many Middle Eastern
governments find themselves at odds with the United States? In some
cases, these governments do not necessarily see Hussein as posing a
legitimate military threat, given that he appears to lack the ability to
project his power beyond his borders. In other cases, these governments
question the United States’ real motivations. (The desire to
control strategic oil reserves ranks higher, some argue, than the desire
to rid the Middle East of a destabilizing force.) Meanwhile, some other
governments find it hard to back the Bush Administration’s
insistence that Iraq comply with UN resolutions, when the United States
has never asked Israel to do the same. But what perhaps best explains
Middle Eastern resistance to American war plans is the fear of the
consequences – the fear that war and violence, breaking out along
ethnic and religious lines, could spread throughout the region; the fear
that a humiliating defeat of Iraq will further radicalize the region,
undermine the unfinished War on Terror, and provide terrorist
organizations with new recruits; and the fear that a U.S. invasion of
Iraq will only exacerbate – not solve – the main problems
currently facing the region: inhumane poverty, lack of democratic
reforms, and lingering national conflicts.
A world without Saddam
Hussein appears extraordinarily appealing to most American policymakers.
Stability in the region; easier and cheaper access to Middle Eastern
oil; and the establishment of a moderate, if not democratic, Arab state
as a model for the entire region all seem to flow from Hussein's
departure. James Noyes, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution who
has been long involved with U.S. security policy in the Gulf, recognizes
the appeal of such a scenario. Yet policymakers should put away their
rose-colored glasses, Noyes claims, because a post-Hussein Middle East
might prove more troubling than at first meets the eye. Any Iraqi regime
installed by the United States would be horribly weak, almost by
necessity. Expatriate Iraqi opposition groups, the kind likely to be
favored by Washington, are in Noyes's words "badly divided, feckless,
and without doubt penetrated by Saddam's intelligence organizations."
They are a "very weak reed to lean on," he says, and moreover the
country they seek to lead has no democratic foundation to speak of,
making it all the more likely that, despite Washington's best
intentions, a new authoritarian regime could spring from the ashes of
war. A weaker and less stable Iraqi government might prove the ultimate
result of an American strike. Iraq, so destabilized, could provide new
al-Qaeda sanctuaries instead of assisting the U.S. War on Terror. These
problems must be squarely faced, Noyes argues, before any airy
predictions for a democratic and moderate Iraq hold sway in Western
capitals. For if we misunderstand our future goals in Iraq, we cannot
possibly pursue the proper course of action today.
- You can view the lectures presented by today's
speakers by clicking on the links found in the "Lectures"
- After viewing each talk, please join your
fellow participants and the Forum moderator on the Discussion boards.
(Simply click the word "Discussions" on the left-hand
side of this page.)
- On the Discussion boards, participants can also
pose questions to the faculty lecturers. Starting tomorrow, you can
return to this session to find their responses posted in the
"Professor Commentary" section below. Please note
that because of the large turnout, the professors will not be able to
respond to every question.
Ahmad Dallal lecture, "An Iraqi War
and its Impact on the Middle East", taped on October 23, 2002
access the lecture in any of the following formats:
James Noyes lecture, "What Next?
What Happens to Iraq after a War?", taped on October 23, 2002
access the lecture in any of the following formats:
Problems accessing the lectures? Click here.
Professor Dallal and James Noyes will respond here
to questions posed by participants on the Discussion boards. Commentary
will be posted here on November 1, 2002. To review, click the following
Resources Recommended by Professor
The Case for
Iraq's Qualitative Disarmament by Scott Ritter (June 2000)
weapons inspector and chief of the concealment unit for UNSCOM, and the
author of Endgame: Solving the Iraq Problem Once and for All,
Ritter suggests that the success of the UNSCOM monitoring regime may
hold the key to unlocking the current stalemate between Iraq and the
Security Council. He argues that if the Security Council redefines
Iraq's disarmament obligation along more meaningful qualitative
standards, it would be possible to rapidly come to closure on all
outstanding disarmament issues.
Against a War with Iraq by Stephen Zunes (October 2002)
Chair of the University of San Francisco's Peace and Justice
Studies Program, Professor Zunes offers an impassioned plea
for greater democratic participation from the American people in this
looming crisis. President Bush campaigned for greater
American "humility" in world affairs during the 2000 election, Zunes
argues, but the present policy towards Iraq offers nothing but a greater
militancy. It is up to the American people to put away their fear
of participating in a foreign policy crisis, and to play the
participatory role assigned them in a functioning democracy.
Iraq: Too Soon
to Stop Thinking by Faleh Jabar (October 7, 2002)
Research Fellow at Birkbeck College, University of London, offers
a plea for further diplomacy in the face of an imminent, costly,
full-scale invasion and occupation of Iraq, arguing the need to put
pressure on those world leaders who will listen, to alter the structure
of the campaign into a longer-term political strategy, backed, if
necessary, by military muscle.
Lubricates Push for War by Thomas Ferguson and Robert A.
Johnson (October 16, 2002)
Ferguson, Professor of Political Science
at the University of Massachusetts, Boston; and Johnson, former managing
director of Soros Funds Management and former chief economist of the
U.S. Senate Banking Committee, clarify why oil and the dollar inevitably
loom so large in any resolution of the Iraq
Resources Recommended by James
of Fear: The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq (Pantheon
A detailed and pointed account of the rise of Hussein's
Ba'th Party to power in the years before the Gulf War, this book is
especially useful for understanding Iraqi politics in the time before
sanctions, before the No-Fly Zone, and before Iraq became a focal-point
of global attention.
Iraq: Revolution or Reaction? (Zed
This anti-Hussein tract was composed before the
Gulf War by the Committee Against Repression and for Democratic Rights
in Iraq (CARDRI), an anti-Hussein group.
and Patrick; Out
of the Ashes: The Resurrection of Saddam Hussein
In this detailed account of Iraqi politics
during the 1990s, these two veteran journalists of Mid East politics
explain Hussein's remarkable staying power. His adversaries needed
to make innumerable mistakes for Hussein to retain control. And
make them they did, by authorizing economic sanctions that harmed only
Iraq's people and Hussein's opponents, and by pitting Iraqi
insurgents against the country's military, thus curtailing anti-Hussein
elements within the military and thwarting their own plans for a
Devlin, John F.; The
Ba'th Party; A History from Its Origins to 1966
(Hoover Institution Press,
"U.S. Strategic Options
for Iraq: Easier Said Than Done" by Michael W. Isherwood (March
Writing for the respected Washington Quarterly, Lt. Colonel
Isherwood (USAF) presents a persuasive argument for a policy of
containment, rather than confrontation, in dealing with Hussein's
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Serious About Iraq by Philip H. Gordon, Michael E. O'Hanlon and
Martin S. Indyk (Autumn 2002)
Senior Fellows in Foreign Policy
Studies at the Brookings Institution, Gordon, O'Hanlon, and Indyk (a
former U.S. ambassador to Israel) outline the challenges and costs of
regime change in Iraq, arguing that what is at stake is not just the
issue of military tactics but also of strategy, diplomacy and what to do
in Iraq once the military battle has been won.
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of Stability by Michael O'Hanlon (October 22, 2002)
New York Times opinion piece, written by O'Hanlon, a senior
fellow at the Brookings Institution, examines the potential costs
of stabilizing Iraq during a postwar occupation.
[Note: Access to
this article requires registration with The New York Times.
Registration is free.]
Arnove, Anthony and Abunimah,
Ali (eds); Iraq
Under Seige: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and
War (Southend Press, 2000).
A critical appraisal of the
American-led economic sanctions program imposed since the Gulf War, this
collection presents the perspectives on the Iraqi crisis from numerous
anti-war activists, including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, and Voices in the
Wilderness (a British group opposed to the use of economic
sanctions against Iraq). The collection carries its bias on its
sleeve, but serves as an oft-needed counterpoint to Bush Administration
Hamza, Kidhir and Stein, Jeff; Saddam's
Bombmaker: The Terrifying Inside Story of the Iraqi Nuclear and
Biological Weapons Agenda (Touchstone, 2001).
first-person account (written more as a spy novel than as an historical
or journalistic text) of the inside working's of Iraq's weapons program,
as seen through the eyes of a leading Iraqi weapons designer now in
exile in the West. As one reviewer in the Washington Post
put it, the book "is not only stranger but frequently bloodier than
Ahmad Dallal is Associate Professor
of Middle Eastern History at Stanford University. Educated at the
University of Beirut (B.E.) and Columbia University (PhD), Professor
Dallal has edited a forthcoming anthology, Islam in the Modern
World to be published in Arabic, English, and French. His other
works have focused on medieval Islamic history and the impact of the
Enlightenment on Islamic thought.
James H. Noyes
is a research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution. He is an
expert in Middle East affairs and is currently researching U.S. foreign
policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict and Persian Gulf security
policy. Noyes's recent work includes an assessment of threats to U.S.
security interests in Southwest Asia over the next fifteen years,
prepared at the invitation of the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies
Institute and presented in June 2001; and an essay in the quarterly
journal Middle East Policy, June 2000, "Fallacies, Smoke, and
Pipe Dreams: Forcing Change in Iran and Iraq." Noyes received his BA
from Yale University in 1950 and his MA in political science from the
University of California at Berkeley in 1954.