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On Thu, 4 Nov 1999 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: > ... In regard to both Iraq and Yugoslavia, the U.S. has used a > combination of bombing and sanctions/blockade to obtain its real > objective -- "regime change."... > > Richard Becker > International Action Center Certainly in the case of Iraq US President Bush announced, after passage of UN SCR 687 (which linked sanctions to Iraqi weapons), that the sanctions would remain for as long as the regime did. Furthermore, Albright's first policy speeches on Iraq after becoming Secretary of State took up this torch. The policies of these individuals have also been backed with actions, as we have seen in the recent "US trains Iraqi opposition" discussion. Even before this, though, the CIA had been involved in both Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan in an attempt to effect "regime change". All of this said, though, I would prefer to qualify Mr Becker's statement in at least two ways. First, "the US" does not have a single set of consistent desires. The US government is notorious for its infighting: departments seeking to promote themselves over their rivals, staff leaking information that they hope will promote their department over another, etc. Political correspondants regard Washington as a very talkative capital in part, I think, for this reason. In this case, though, the most relevant part of "the US" might be "the US Administration", the White House and its advisers. Second, though, it is unclear to me that even the US Adminstration knows what it wants to do with Iraq. Every possible change in the situation presents the Adminstration with risks: an independent Iraqi Kurdistan angers Turkey, a popular uprising risks being Shiite-led, an unsanctioned Iraq under Saddam Hussein may damage US credibility in the region. Against this, the current situation does not seem so bad, I would guess, from the Administration's point of view. In contrast to 1998, which saw Iraq crises in February, November and December, there have been none this year. Clinton ran on a domestic policy platform: "it's the economy stupid". The current situation in Iraq does not threaten this priority. "Regime change" creates a turbulent Iraq, however smoothly it is handled: the opposition groups that the US currently supports can only be kept at the same table as each other with manacles. There is therefore a live debate about the feasibility of this strategy for "regime change": WASHINGTON, Jan 30  (AFP) - While there is a clear consensus in the United States for the ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, a major rift lingers here over Washington's plan to encourage it. The debate on the merits of the Iraqi Liberation Act -- which provides 97 million dollars to assist opposition groups in their struggle to topple Saddam -- came to a head again this week when a senior military officer told Congress he doubted its effectiveness. "I will be very honest, I don't see an opposition group that has the viability to overthrow Saddam at this point," General Anthony Zinni, the commander of US forces in the Gulf, told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently. He noted there were 91 fragmented opposition groups and that "their ability is questionable," warning that while he supported Saddam's overthrow, without a united coalition to take his place, his ouster would destabilize the region. "I've seen the effect of regime changes that didn't quite come about the way we would have liked," he said, listing Somalia, Afghanistan and Iran as examples. "And the last thing we need is another rogue state. The last thing we need is a disintegrating, fragmented Iraq because the effects on the region would be greater in my judgement than (those of a) contained Saddam," Zinni said. In a polite but somewhat testy exchange with senators who supported the liberation act, Zinni was asked if he considered to be "a viable piece of legislation." "I think it would be very difficult, and I think if not done properly, could be very dangerous," Zinni responded... I think (on the basis of the Cockburns' book, Out of the Ashes) that the ideal regime change, from the Administration's point of view, is the "silver bullet": someone close to the Iraqi President kills him and takes over. I have no idea what plans exist to support this nine-year old hope. Colin Rowat Coordinator, Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq http://welcome.to/casi *********************************************** * Support the: * * NATIONAL PETITION AGAINST SANCTIONS ON IRAQ * * http://go.to/iraqpetition * * or: 12 Trinity Road, London N2 8JJ * * or: email@example.com * *********************************************** King's College Cambridge CB2 1ST tel: +44 (0)468 056 984 England fax: +44 (0)1223 335 219 -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. Please do not send emails with attached files to the list *** Archived at http://linux.clare.cam.ac.uk/~saw27/casi/discuss.html ***