Iraq: Fragile Future

January 16th is the ninth anniversary of the start of the allied air campaign that ultimately led to Iraqi forces being ejected from Kuwait. Since then, the government of Saddam Hussein has remained the object of the most comprehensive sanctions regime of the post Cold War era. Unfortunately, the results of this extended coercive diplomacy have not been as intended. The Iraqi people, told their suffering is the fault of the West, could easily turn violently against the state, or the international community. Regional states have financed different parts of the opposition, itself divided along religious and ethnic lines.

The World Today
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Although the Iraqi regime’s ability to threaten its neighbours and produce weapons of mass destruction has been drastically reduced, it has continued to defy international pressure and retain power in the face of all predictions to the contrary.

As the international stalemate between the United Nations and Baghdad continues, it appears that insufficient attention has been paid to the effects of dire economic and social conditions on the population. These conditions are shaping the perceptions and values of generations who will soon occupy positions important in the politics of the state and the region.

Iraq’s future role in determining the relative stability of the Gulf and wider Middle East area is pivotal. Geographically, it is on the eastern flank of the Arab Middle East with Turkey and Iran as neighbours. Although smaller in population then either, Iraq numbers more citizens than the bordering Arab states.

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