Governing Iraq: Who's Boss Around Here Anyway?

Regime change by force was the easy bit. Now comes the difficult task of finding a regime to govern Iraq. A kaleidoscope of forces has been unleashed with the end of Saddam Hussein’s repression. They seem united in just one thing — opposition to American occupation.

The World Today Updated 21 October 2020 Published 1 July 2003 5 minute READ

Professor Gareth Stansfield

Professor of Middle East Politics, University of Exeter

Following the iron authoritarianism of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraq has suddenly become a state on the verge of anarchy. Not that there is an absence of forces willing to violently seize or graciously accept power in the mêlée. Indeed, it seems there is an abundance of willing participants ranging from Islamists to self-proclaimed democrats.

The problem for the US is that the fantasy envisaged by neo-conservative Washington policy-makers, of Iraqis accepting liberation with open arms and realising the advantages of benevolent occupation, is being met with anti-American slogans. Dangerous sullenness has the potential to develop into vengeful reprisals against what is seen as an increasingly exploitative occupation.

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