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> Can anyone tell me where I can find opinion on the probable outcomes of > the restoration of full sovereignty to Iraq? Hi Tony, This is the big question, and is often addressed in some form or another in everything written on Iraq policy. Part of the answer to your question depends on what you mean by "full sovereignty": a removal of the arms embargo might be consistent with full sovereignty, but is much less likely than loosening of economic constraints. Full sovereignty can be restored with or without Iraqi debt restructuring, which may be one of the most important issues in Iraq's future. The arguments that are then deployed tend to emphasise the following issues: 1. non-conventional weapons The Iraqi government learned, during the Iran war, the value of non-conventional weapons, using them (and international support) to fight a nation three times its size to a standstill. It has made their retention a high priority over the 1990s, possibly paying a very high price to do so ("possibly" because it is not clear that the US would have approved sanctions' lifting had Iraq been found in compliance by UN weapons inspectors; US administrations have repeatedly insinuated that sanctions are actually linked to the person of Saddam Hussein, not to Iraq's weapons). It most likely maintains clandestine non-conventional weapons programmes to this day. I do not understand well the extent to which Israel's possession of such weapons influences the Iraqi government's interest in them, but Iran has certainly not diminished in size over the past decade. Further, with India and Pakistan developing their nuclear weapons since sanctions were imposed on Iraq, the need to have such weapons to maintain parity may have increased. Thus, all indicators suggest that the development of these weapons will continue to be a priority in the future. My own sense is that some programmes will be almost impossible to prevent: laboratory level biological or chemical weapons research require relatively few resources. Actually "weaponising" the results of this research (that is, scaling up to military dimensions) is much more obvious, and easier to prevent. 2. invasions Under Saddam Hussein, Iraqi forces have invaded two neighbouring countries, Iran and Kuwait. One of the results of this is that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein as president, has always been on a war footing. One group of people argue, on this basis, that Saddam will always seek to maintain some form of war footing, to keep Iraqi society relatively in check. One factor that has changed, though, is that neither of the previous two invasions took place in the face of strong "great powers" opposition. The Iran invasion was widely supported internationally as an effort to break Ayatullah Khomeini's Islamic Revolution. The circumstances surrounding the Kuwait invasion are more debated but there does seem to be agreement that no strong signals of deterrence to the Iraqi army's buildup on the Kuwaiti border in the months prior to the invasion were sent by the US. Thus, Saddam may have believed that he would be allowed to swallow Kuwait. It is now much more clear that any significant military expedition by the Iraqi army will draw a US military response. How much is "significant", though? The border skirmishes with Saudi Arabia and Iran have not yet counted. Would movement of military assets into Iraq's share of the non-militarised zone along the Kuwaiti border while the US was trying to maintain support for its Afghan campaign be significant? A related question is that of how well Saddam can gauge what is "significant". He is a survivor but, I think, got it very badly wrong in Kuwait. It is certainly the case that, as Iraq's position in the world normalises, its military will rebuild. Apparently many non-Iraqi Arabs also would regard this as a good thing: a weak Iraqi military contributes to a weak Arab world, according to this thinking. 3. internal oppression In this case, it is noted that the Iraqi government, under Saddam Hussein, has pursued systematic campaigns against civilian populations, particularly Kurdish, even after the Iran war. The official rationale of the US/UK 'no fly zones' derives from this observation. In the South/Centre of Iraq, it is the case that the zone does nothing noticeable to reduce internal repression. Indeed, by stressing that their rules of engagement only allow them to attack when they themselves are attacked, they guarantee ineffectiveness from this point of view. In Iraqi Kurdistan, my sense is that the zone does offer a sense of protection to inhabitants. I think that similar thoughts to those that apply to the issue above, that of invasions of other countries, applies here, but to a lesser extent. The eyes of the world are and will be on the Iraqi government's treatment of Iraqi Kurdistan, but troop movements into regions officially recognised as being part of Iraq are different than those into regions of, say, Kuwait: international responses are less likely. This is one reason that I think that Iraq's Kurdish population is at real risk as Iraq as a whole re-integrates. 4. spending priorities The final issue often addressed in this context is that of Iraqi government spending priorities. Crudely, would Saddam spend anything more on the civilian economy were economic constraints loosened? In recent history, the Iraqi government has certainly had a sense of social contract, investing heavily in civilian infrastructure and education prior to sanctions. I personally think that this would most likely be continued: the Iraqi government is full of well trained senior civil servants with a desire to improve their country; without the excuse of sanctions, popular expectations are likely to rise sharply, placing pressure on the government to deliver. I hope that this helps somewhat. I apologise for not citing particular articles or papers in this summary. If you'd like references, I can try to think of some more specifically. Please also let me know if you have any questions, either on the above or otherwise. Best, Colin Rowat work | Room 406, Department of Economics | The University of Birmingham | Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK | 0121 414 3754 | email@example.com personal | 07768 056 984 (mobile) | (707) 221 3672 (US fax) | firstname.lastname@example.org _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? 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