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Hain and Iraqi Threat

A follow-up to Glen's 12 July post:

An important question for Mr. Hain is "To whom specifically is Iraq a conventional or 
non-conventional [chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, and ballistic missiles (missiles with a 
range great than 150 km) threat?"

Possible Candidates (from a military standpoint):

Iran-  Iran has had a fully operational chemical weapons [CW] program since the early 1980s and 
large conventional military that is far more organized than the one that defeated Iraq in the 
Iran-Iraq war until Iraq began to employ CWs and utilize U.S. satellite information to monitor 
Iranian troop movements and coordinate bombing.  Iran is an unlikely choice.

Syria-  Syria has had a long-standing fully operational CW (that includes VX nerve gas) and 
biological weapons (BW) program and has a very large standing army, albeit one with outdated 
equipment.  Syria also possesses long range surface-to-surface missiles.  Syria is an unlikely 

Israel-  Israel has far and away the most sophisticated non-conventional capability and arsenal in 
the Middle East.  If Iraq uses on Israel CWs or BWs, or ballistic missiles with deadly effects, 
Israel will almost certainly respond with chemical and/or biological and/or nuclear weapons.  
Israel is an unlikely choice.

Jordan-  Iraq and Jordan have close, long-standing diplomatic, military (including alleged 
monitoring of Israeli military preparations), and perhaps most importantly, economic ties, ties 
that remain despite Jordan's "no-fly-zone" cooperation and increasingly tight diplomatic relations 
with the U.S.  Jordan is an unlikely candidate.

Turkey-  Turkey's conventional military is far superior to Iraq's and Turkey is a prime trading 
partner of Iraq's.  Furthermore, Turkey is a key strategic ally of the U.S.  Turkey is an unlikely 

Kuwait/Saudi Arabia-  Judging by the response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, it is almost 
implausible that the U.S., given its long-standing stated regional/petroleum interests, would not 
respond militarily and overwhelmingly if Iraq conventionally or non-conventionally attacked Kuwait 
and/or Saudi Arabia.  Both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are unlikely candidates.

For a conversation with Mr. Hain, it does not matter whether or not one agrees with developing and 
producing non-conventional weapons, using military force, or U.S. policy/activity in the Middle 
East.  The current regional military dynamic and U.S. petroleum interests exist and will probably 
exist for quite some time to come.  Given that reality, it is important to find out exactly which 
country Mr. Hain concludes Iraq will potentially be an actual military threat to.

It appears as though the proper answer is none.  The most likely targets for Iraq's future 
conventional and non-conventional force are not outside Iraq's borders.  They are within.  And 
given the post-1991 and post-"no-fly-zone" village razing and mass execution, it seems unlikely 
that the UK, U.S., or anyone else for that matter, will take substantive measures to prevent the 
Iraqi government from killing Iraqi civilians and/or destroying their homes.

With regards,

Nathaniel Hurd
Boston, USA
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