Iraq: October 1, 2001


Iraq denies that it has ever been a base for terrorism. Meanwhile, US officials have hinted that Iraq will eventually become the focus of the War on Terrorism. Some senior members of the US government have pushed for an invasion of Iraq to topple the current government. But it would take months to get the ground troops for such an operation to the Persian Gulf. Moreover, there would have to be some agreement from local Arab governments before such an operation could be launched. Finally, there is the problem of what comes after Saddam. The current government represents the interests of the 20 percent of the population that is Sunni Moslem Arabs. Half the population is Shia Moslem Arabs, and somewhat pro-Iranian. The rest are Kurds, who are not Arabs and don't like the Arabs. A new government would be dominated by Shias, many of whom want revenge for the decades of oppression from the Sunnis living around Baghdad. Life after Saddam could be messy, but not as messy as it would be without the improved US-Iranian relations. 


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