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Iraq to acquire WMDs again? "Cruel, but fair"...
Posted by: Jon Henke on Monday, March 13, 2006

This story provokes three reactions from me...
Official: Iraq may still seek WMDs

A former top CIA official said Thursday that despite the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is likely to be looking for weapons of mass destruction within the next five to 10 years.
In the order they occurred to me:

Political: Oh, hell no. We didn't go to war in Iraq just to see this result. — I quickly realized, though, that this reaction may be inappropriate — or, at least, simplistic — depending on the geopolitical situation, the nature of the State actor and the fact that we'll probably have quite limited leverage by that time. So, let's look at more constructive analyses...

So, basically, we'd be back to the 1980s, with a Middle East containment policy of competing poles of power.
US Geopolitical Interest: If Iran is becoming a destabilizing, militant power base in the region, it would certainly be useful to the US to have a balance of powers — a bi-polar geopolitical situation with Iraqi interests effectively competing with Iranian interests, and an Iraqi deterrent force capable of thwarting Iranian ambitions. So, basically, we'd be back to the 1980s, with a Middle East containment policy of competing poles of power.
Piranha Brothers Diplomacy
In the meantime, it's probably in our interest to let Iran know we wouldn't be entirely averse to this kind of containment. Call it Piranha Brothers Diplomacy: You've got a nice country here, Mullahs. Be a shame if anything happened to it. Things break, don't they? Iraqis get ideas, you know? Suppose some of your tanks was to get broken and troops started getting lost, and your neighbors were to, surprise, find some WMDs, like. Wouldn't be good for business would it, Mullah?


Iraqi Geopolitical Reality: Fact is, not too many years hence, the US is almost certainly not going to be in a position to dictate the interests and pursuits of the Iraqi government. And even elections offer no assurance that an Iraqi government will not find a keen interest in stronger deterrence than a mere army provides — say, for example, WMDs. If the US does not provide tangible, reliable security guarantees and the Iranian regime continues to ratchet up the militant rhetoric, Iraq will certainly look at their security options, and WMDs are the most efficient force multiplier they can probably obtain.

Our interests in this area depend on how the Iranian problem evolves and how the Iraqi government develops. I'd hate to see us forced back to a containment/deterrence policy in the Mid-East, but we need to consider the possibility. The ability to shape their interests may already be out of our hands.
 
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Well Jon, I’d bet that Iraq follows the lead of Japan, South Korea and Germany. It will forego WMD and rely on the US to provide nuclear deterrence. Sorry to disappoint.....And I had to snicker a bit at:
Fact is, not too many years hence, the US is almost certainly not going to be in a position to dictate the interests and pursuits of the Iraqi government.
Really, so there largest security and trading partner will not be in a position to dictate the pursuits of Iraq? You are correct, Iraq’s interests can not be directed, they are what they are, but I think you really under-estimate the power the US will wield over Iraq.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
…but I think you really under-estimate the power the US will wield over Iraq.
Umm???
Because it’s been really good so far!?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Well, Pogue is Iraq like it was PRIOR to the invasion? Just thought I’d ask....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Iraqi civillians are being killed in their thousands by Sunni Islamists. Sunni Islamists adhering to state religions the USA either openly supports or refuses to condemn. An armed and capable Iraqs primary need will be to defend itself against these attacks. The USA refuses to deal to the threat, therefore Iraq has no choice but to act.

Iraqi and Iranian regimes just aren’t the direct enemies you propose them to be. They are ruled by cleric sponsored parties with a Shia religious kinship between them. Their supporters benefit from making pilgrimage to holy sites inside of each others country. The only conflict they have is the existance of American forces in Iraq, a conflict that is unlikely to last very much longer. Iranian activity in Iraq is confined mainly to attacking American and allied troops. They tend not to directly attack civillians or civil infrastructure in the Shia (goverment stronghold) community.

Actually Iraq is more likely to purchase WMD from Iran than point them at Iran.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Sure Una-hop clasp, EXCEPT the bulk of Iraqi’s are ARABS, and as long as Saddam could paint the fight in that manner he got a degree of acquiescence from the Shi’i, in the First Gulf War (we being on our THIRD Gulf War now). So don’t bet that Iraq and Iran are going to be chums or that the Iranians and Iraqis are going to be sharing nuclear weapons.
Further, except for Al-Qaeda what group WOULD share nuclear weapons, at least for sale? I ask this from the view point that weapons have unique signatures based on their composition and construction, so that an Iranian nuclear weapon delivered by Iraq to Tel Aviv would STILL implicate Iran and invite a nuclear counter-strike, so what group would willingly give ANOTHER group the power to terminate it?
Al-Qaeda is different, it has not territorial state to be threatened and its acquired weapon is more than likely to be an ex-Soviet or Russian weapon, purchased or stolen. However, if Tel Aviv disappears from the blast of a Soviet SS-18 warhead, who is going to retaliate against Russia? It wasn’t their weapon, per se, that destroyed Tel Aviv. And it is unlikely that many would believe that Russia conspired to kill several hundred thousand folks for very little gain, but at a not inconsiderable risk. plus, who would one retaliate against in that case, even if Al-Qaeda loudly proclaimed it’s use of a nuclear device against the Zionist enemy? Would the US/Israel retaliate against Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, or the Sudan, putative homes of terrorism? So terrorists groups are a little different than nation-states. I really doubt Iran or Pakistan, or the PRC or North Korea or the US is ever really likely to transfer the total control of nuclear weapons to some third party. Even in the Cold War German weapons were held under the "dual key" control requiring US authorization for their use.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well Jon, I’d bet that Iraq follows the lead of Japan, South Korea and Germany. It will forego WMD and rely on the US to provide nuclear deterrence.
I didn’t specify nuclear deterrence. They may or may not seek nuclear capability, but that’s not their only option.
Really, so there largest security and trading partner will not be in a position to dictate the pursuits of Iraq?
We can certainly weild some degree of influence over their actions, but no...a few years from now, we’ll have little ability to dictate their interests. We don’t even have much flexibility with our economic entanglement with Iraq — oil. Their security interests will largely be determined by regional factors. We can either offer them security guarantees, or not. We cannot just tell them "don’t worry about your neighbors".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Well, Pogue is Iraq like it was PRIOR to the invasion? Just thought I’d ask....
Just thought you’d ask, huh?
Why, you in a fishin’ mood?

One good bait deserves another, I suppose. Alright, I’ll bite.

Is Iraq like it was prior? Well, no, Joe. It’s not. It’s worse. And I won’t bother with an explanation. Why? Because there’s no need. You’re an intelligent man … you follow the news … You know why.

But if you disagree. Then perhaps you could tell me why the Iraqi people themselves haven’t learned of U.S. dominance over them.
Because the power, as you suggest, we seem to wield over the Iraqi’s have largely gone unnoticed by the Iraqi’s themselves.

“Government” forces have acted without regard to the wishes of the U.S.
So why would,
Fact is, not too many years hence, the US is almost certainly not going to be in a position to dictate the interests and pursuits of the Iraqi government. And even elections offer no assurance that an Iraqi government will not find a keen interest in stronger deterrence than a mere army provides — say, for example, WMDs. If the US does not provide tangible, reliable security guarantees and the Iranian regime continues to ratchet up the militant rhetoric, Iraq will certainly look at their security options, and WMDs are the most efficient force multiplier they can probably obtain.
Be inaccurate?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Joe

Saddam was a secular Arab nationalist. The secular Arab nationalist parties contesting the most recent elections in Iraq failed to register more than 1 - 2% of the vote. Don’t flog the dead horse.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
Well Jon, as the Iraqis can already demonstrate that CHEMICAL weapons provide no strategic advantage, after all they employed them on a widescale in the First Gulf War and the Iranians agree, though Iran has chemical weapons they have sought NUCLEAR arms instead. So, if someone is going to truly threaten his neighbors, it is nuclear weapons to whcih they will turn.

A 1,000 kilogram weapon armed with Sarin is a threat to ~1 square kilometre, a 1,000 kiogram weapon armed with a fission device will eliminate a city. It’s all about the "Bang for the buck" or throw weight.

Pogue Iraq IS different, or mayhap you missed all those elections....And the squabble over the National Government is more about trying to be "politic" and include Sunni’s, they aren’t really necessary, as long as the Kurdish and Shi’i factions can agree on policy, as they represent 80% of the populace. in the long run it will be necessary for the Sunni to be co-opted, but in the short run it is desirable, but not necessarily absolutely required.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Saddam was a secular Arab nationalist.
I think that’s a rather simplistic characterization. Saddam spent a great deal of the 90s utilizing Islamists to inflame passions, rally support and retain his power base. Saddam was an opportunistic Arab nationalist — he was only secular insofar as it helped him. He wasn’t a fanatic about it.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Well Jon, as the Iraqis can already demonstrate that CHEMICAL weapons provide no strategic advantage, after all they employed them on a widescale in the First Gulf War and the Iranians agree, though Iran has chemical weapons they have sought NUCLEAR arms instead. So, if someone is going to truly threaten his neighbors, it is nuclear weapons to whcih they will turn.
It was the threat that he had chemical and biological weapons that Saddam held to prior to the 2003 war to intimidate his neighbors. Iran and everybody else knew perfectly well that Iraq didn’t have nuclear weapons, so it’s hard to see how Saddam thought nuclear weapons were a deterrent to Iran.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Pogue Iraq IS different, or mayhap you missed all those elections....
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Joe, I’m an intelligent man. I follow the news. And more importantly, I know the history. The Shia/Kurdish majority over the Sunni and all that is fine for the academics.
But it still doesn’t explain how the U.S. will maintain an active, pragmatic power over an unpredictable, unstable “government”.
And how this perceived power will dictate the actions of a fledgling nation that wishes to defend itself from foreign power or influence.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
Joe

Do agree with pretty much everything else you say. Nukes are unlikely to be shared. Iran could possibly benefit from sharing medium/long range ballistic technology with a friendly Iraq, but actual warhead co-development is unlikely.


Jon,

The point is no one in Iraqi governement is an Arab nationalist.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
"So, basically, we’d be back to the 1980s, with a Middle East containment policy of competing poles of power."
Well, no, not even nearly. Not when the pole of power we are supporting is a consensual government, and especially if that government respects it’s citizens individual rights enough in spite of their politics, that they can prosper.

Nothing like the 80’s at all.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Hello Pogue and Unaha,
"Is Iraq like it was prior? Well, no, Joe. It’s not. It’s worse. And I won’t bother with an explanation. Why? Because there’s no need. You’re an intelligent man … you follow the news … You know why."
No, it is very much better. The problems of their society can be dealt with inside the electoral process, as the vast majority of the members of all groups are now doing. You say they are dying in their thousands—true—what of it if some few thousand die over a year’s time if that is many fewer than Saddam would have killed to maintain power? There is improvement everywhere you look in Iraq.

But I know you don’t care to look. Your preconceptions are far too important to you.

Like your question about this statement:
"Fact is, not too many years hence, the US is almost certainly not going to be in a position to dictate the interests and pursuits of the Iraqi government. And even elections offer no assurance that an Iraqi government will not find a keen interest in stronger deterrence than a mere army provides — say, for example, WMDs. If the US does not provide tangible, reliable security guarantees and the Iranian regime continues to ratchet up the militant rhetoric, Iraq will certainly look at their security options, and WMDs are the most efficient force multiplier they can probably obtain."
There are short term and long term events giving this scenario some validity. For domestic political reasons, the US will likely not deal with Iran decisively until after the 2006 elections, and we will have substantially withdrawn our forces prior to the 2008 elections.

If the Democrats win in 2008, the Iraqis will almost certainly be left to twist in the wind. Clooney and the Kos Kids will settle for nothing less. And over the longer term, as supporting the Democratic Party’s socialist programs will first entirely dominate the budget and then destroy the economy, the US simply won’t have the money to do much of anything anywhere.

If Iraq is unlikely to employ WMDs in anything other than defense and unlikely to let any slip into AlQaeda’s hands, I’m fine with them having them.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"If Iran is becoming a destabilizing, militant power base in the region,"

I thought they started doing that in 1979?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://

 
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