Iraq: November 26, 2001

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US president Bush warned Iraq to admit UN arms inspectors, "or else." What exactly the "or else" might be was left unsaid. However, the US doesn't many untried options left. The most likely one is an invasion of Iraq and the installation of a new government. Perhaps noting how rapidly Afghans turned on the hated Taliban government once US air power was in action and additional combat forces were in the area, Bush might be thinking on a similar war of liberation for Iraq. The  people of Iraq has long been dominated by the Sunni minority (about 20 percent of the population. If American forces came in with the intention of allowing the entire population to vote, the majority Shiites and Kurd minority (25 percent) would likely elect a non-Sunni government. This prospect is real for Saddam Hussein and his Sunni backers, for they use their massive secret police and army to regularly put down rebellions. Faced with a buildup of US ground forces in Kuwait, Saddam would be tempted to let the arms inspectors back in, and then harass and impede them as before. Kuwait would have to go along with this potential operation, although it would probably be very difficult to get Saudi Arabia to sign on. The rapid collapse of the Taliban government has reduced anti-American fervor in Arab nations, and reluctance to dismiss American military power. 

 

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