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Home > News > Columnists > A K Pasha

America may win the war, but peace may be elusive

April 10, 2003

George W Bush's team had convinced hima massive air attack followed by aground invasion in Iraq would quickly bringan end to Saddam Hussein's regime. They said the Iraqis, especially the Shias, would rebel against Saddam and welcome the US invasion to 'liberate' Iraq. It was also believed that key Iraqi leaders, both Ba'athist and military, would desert Saddam and facilitate a quick US takeover.

Iraqi civilian deathsmountevery day andcoalition forces confronta heavy toll inbattle. Despite their best efforts, entering Iraqi cities proved to be a headache for the coalition forces.

Although some Iraqis are shown on Western television channels ascheeringthe US troops, a majority of Iraqis see America as an occupationarmy. That the US forces have so far not found weapons of mass destructionexposes the US. The mounting civilian deaths and live scenes on world television lead to growing opposition worldwide, especially inArab/Islamic states.

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and other pro-US leaders feel vulnerable because of their support to the US-led invasion. At the same time warnings have been issuedabout the emergence of hundreds of bin Ladens after the war.

The US objective of a regime change and the accusation that Saddampossessed WMD was a pretext. The capture of Iraqi oil fields -- especially rich Rumalia in south Iraq -- was America's main target. The US would love to control oil sources at Mosul and Kirkuk but the main focus was the south. When the US gained control of the southern oil fields it couldhave halted its invasion, worked for a cease-fire and saved further loss of lives.

Given continued hostility from many States, the US could have allowed the Arab League or Organisation of Islamic Conference forces into Iraq to performpeace keeping duties. Like what happened in 1961 in Kuwait when British forces were replaced by Arab League forces.

The United Nations could supplement the Arab League presence in Iraq with the help of UNMOVIC [United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission] to certify that Iraq is free from WMD and ready for humanitarian work.

If anti-US sentiments sweeping the Islamic world are not neutralised soon by way of a quick US withdrawal it would hurt US interests.

Additionally,US policy makers had hoped to achieve a quick victory over Iraq to boost the US economy with cheap Iraqi oil and then to redraw the strategic map in the region. America could face new and unexpected challenges.Surmounting those hurdles could drag the country deeper into the Arab quagmire.

The US had unique and unprecedented goodwill after 9/11 worldwide, including most Islamic States, but anger and hatred due to its double standards and dubious policies has seen that goodwill dissipate fairly quickly. The Bush team is in no mood to listen to saner voices from any quarter. Only the American people can savethe US from what is fast becoming a dangerous situation.

The US may win the war, but peace may be elusive. Throughout the world people have grave doubts about the legitimacy of the US-led war as civilian deaths mount. As the Saudi foreign minister very rightly said: 'This war can only lead to bloodshed, hatred and increased anxieties in the region.'

A K Pasha is director, Gulf Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

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Number of User Comments: 21

Sub: Reply to A.K. Pasha's column

It is pretty clear from the way the invasion in Iraq was conducted and its outcome, that methods other than war will have to be ...

Posted by Somdeb Lahiri

Sub: Who needs peace?

US really didn't need peace by this war. All they want is to create unrest everywhere, so that their weapons get sold. If USA's aim ...

Posted by Raghavendra Udupa

Sub: Elusive peace

It will be a peace of the graves.If hawks in US prevail Syria and Iran may be next.Kashmir may not be far behind.WInning oil, removing ...

Posted by mahesh v

Sub: Anything is possible

Or it may not! I think the time for pessimism and cynicism is over. The Americans have truimphed, Saddam's fled. Why shouldn't there be peace? ...

Posted by raghav aras

Sub: Prescription for Disaster

What we are witnessing in Iraq is an ideal prescription for civil war and collapse of civilian administration. There is the possibility of the Shias, ...

Posted by Srinivas



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