Post Hussein Plans?

A simple question.

Hussein is deposed…then what? Democratic, representative governments are not the first concept that springs to mind when you hear the term “Middle East,” so I’d like to hear what those of you who are more well versed on the subject than I think will be the post-Hussein outcome in Iraq (on the assupmption that he is, in fact, deposed)

Well, let’s take a look at the last time there was a challenge to Hussein’s regime - at the end of the Second Gulf War in 1991.

Kurds in the north and Shi’a Muslims in the south were organizing rebellions against Saddam Hussein. George Bush promised them aid and support. But when it came down to brass tacks, he instead allowed Saddam Hussein to violate the “no-fly” zones in order to crush both rebellions from the air.

In 1998, Peter Jennings commented, “The United States did want Saddam to go, they just didn’t want the Iraqi people to take over.” Brent Scowcroft came in with this: “I wish it hadn’t happened. I envisioned a postwar government being a military government.”

So more than likely, plnnr, you’re probably right - it won’t be a democratic, representative government that replaces the Hussein regime. But whose fault is that? Certainly not the Iraqi people’s fault, or the fault of some sociopolitical factor unique to the Middle East.

Afghnaistan sure doesn’t have any history of democracy, but with the UN’s help, they’re trying to create one. I would expect similar efforts in Iraq.

There is precedent for success: we did create a fine democracy in Japan after WW II. Still, it’ll be tough to do that in Iraq (and Afghanistan is by no means a stable, working democracy yet.) We may well fail, but we ought to try.

No no no. There was a 5-prong civil war after Britain divided Iraq and Kuwait and left. With Hussein and his minions gone, that civil war will resume, with the difference being that the Ba’ath group will be weakened.

I don’t know what is the solution. That is unimportant, after all who the hell I am, the problem is that little Bush doesn’t seem to know the answer. And still he is eager to topple Saddam. He certainly seems to be a moron, a dangerous one.

Occam’s Razor: thermonuclear ablation of Iran’s cities. Twenty 300 kT warheads is two MIRV’d Peacekeepers. They need periodic certification anyway.

  1. The problem is irreversibly solved.
  2. A 14th century religion obsessed with martyrdom can discover just how large its appetite is.
  3. We send in some Texans and a long line of oil tankers.
  4. President Bush the Lesser sends a brief note to Iran, the Palestinian Authority, and North Korea: Eternity is long but life is short. The US is done talking. The US will now stomp those who bother it. Welcome to Hell.

A stable family requires a strong patriarch.

Uncle Al
(Do something naughty to physics)

UncleAl: You know that’s a fantasy, right? And that it’s an evil notion, right?

Here’s more likely what would happen:

  1. U.S. government launches nuclear weapons at Iraq population centers.

  2. A horrified U.S. populace demands impeachment of the president for authorizing this.

  3. Arab Nations scream for help to the rest of the world.

  4. Russia and France and Pakistan announce a new policy of defending other states against first use of nukes - by responding with nukes if another atttack should come anywhere.

  5. The U.S. suffers a horrible PR backlash around the world, and new military alliances form between Russia, the EU, and other countries, in order to build a deterrant against the ‘American Threat’.

  6. Hell freezes over, because there is no way the U.S. would ever do the kind of despicable thing you are suggesting.

Uncle AlO, this is precisely what al-Qaeda is planning–for the US gov’t to overreach themselves to teh point of no return.

Whether or not I agree that removing Saddam is warranted, I have this sinking feeling that the image of U.S. troops occupying Baghdad, even if they do so only for a few weeks, will produce the best recruiting poster al-Qaeda ever had. I think it would increase the danger of anti-U.S. terrorism tenfold.

Nicholas Kristof argues in pretty convincing IMO detail for a bloody revolt by the majority Shiites and Kurds against the Sunnis in much of the nation, in the tradition of suddenly-nonoppressed peoples in other countries, followed by much-stronger Iranian Shiite influence over Iraq, and possibly an uncontainable Kurdish independence movement.

Or, if you like, Bosnia and Kosovo on a much larger scale, with no military force in the world powerful enough to contain it. In simple terms of minimizing the death count, probably the best outcome would be an imposition of another military dictatorship, similar to the current one but with new names, and some promise of restraint in return for easing of Western restrictions over the economy.

“Democracy”, I hear you say? Based on precisely what current organizations or national history, pray tell? Maybe in some future generation, but now? What gives you the idea that it can be put in place now as anything more than a make-the-West-feel-good Potemkin facade?

Now, who thinks the White House decisionmakers have actually considered that the question of what happens after the occupation of Baghdad even matters? Or, are they more on UncleAl’s level?

Well, here’s the fork in the road.

If the US does this thing unilaterally, without all that messy UN stuff, then the US gets all the goodies unto itself. Even as we speak, there is no doubt a bidding war between all those candidates (recently paraded in swimsuit competition as Leaders of the Iraqi Opposition). Who amongst them is the most blubberingly grateful. And who amongst them has the clearest vision as to the correct procedures for rebuilding the Iraqi economy. Who most clearly sees the advantages for Iraqi democracy offered by Exxon, BP, and other stalwarts of civic virtue?

Of course, a continuing American military presence will be necessary to protect the fragile democracy. America stands ready to shoulder the burden of being the dominant military power in the Middle East.

If the US acts without the “messy UN stuff,” we will be supported by the UK, as Tony Blair has made clear. With that leadership, I would expect several other countries to participate, to one degree or another. Qatar and Kuwait are already more-or-less on board. I expect Australia and Turkey to support th effort. I wouldn’t be surprised if Germany bent over backwards to help out, in order to heal their rift with the US.

So, even without the UN, an attack on Iraq would be carried out by a coalition of countries.

Thank you, Rudyard Kipling.

Tony’s got his hands full–it’s by no means certain that he can deliver the UK.

In the Beeb’s opinion, only Israel, Kuwait, Australia, and possibly Saudi Arabia and Japan are on board.

So that may be a coalition of sorts, but I’d be very surprised to see the any of these nations join Cowboy George in his own personal crusade without some kind of official UN imprimatur on the expedition.

Can’t see Tony doing it without Parliament a-tall, come to that. The Brits are allowed to hold new elections for PM any time they get sick of the one they’ve got, and can muster up the support in Parliament to call for new elections, right? So he may find his job at stake, if he annoys and/or frightens enough of his constituency.

“Thank you, Rudyard Kipling…”

<< snicker >>

I spent a half hour in which I should have been working reading this Atlantic Monthly article. I think it clearly articulates why we need broad international support, particularly from Iraq’s neighbors.

He starts with the assumption that the government has more reason to fear Hussein than they have told us, and that the US would win the war. He then uses input from a broad range of experts to speculate on what a post-war Iraq would be like, and what our responsibilities would be.

I’m glad to see this thread back again - the lack of input in the early stages confirmed my fears: No one, including the Bush administration, has carefully thought about what happens after Hussein falls and at what expense the US will have to manage affairs in Iraq.

I’m still not convinced this course of action is in the best interest of the US.

Well, if you wanna know what a post-war Iraq would be like, just look around the world to find a country that fits in the following story:

  1. It was originally part of a large, powerful empire.
  2. After the large, powerful empire collapsed, the country became a kingdom.
  3. Then it was a republic, for a few years.
  4. Then they started having coups, with a succession of military strongmen taking power.
  5. Then the latest military strongman stepped on the toes of another, different, large and powerful empire, who one way or another had him removed.

Okay, so what happens next in the story? Does the large, powerful empire:

A. Install an out-and-out puppet dictator as “president” (“Some Guy”), who will do their bidding at long distance, backing him up with Imperial troops stationed in his country?

B. Install the strongest of the local political leaders as “president”, and then peer over his shoulder and micromanage everything he does, backing him up with Imperial troops, too?

C. Install the strongest of the local political leaders as “president”, and then get out of his way, perhaps leaving just a few Imperial troops there just in case he wants to use them for backup?

D. Take a poll of the people and ask them who they want for a leader (this is known as an “election”)?

I haven’t seen anything in the news that indicates that the Bush administration has thought this thing through. All I hear is “regime change, regime change”, but nobody’s said what happens next in the story.

It’s kind of like hearing, “Cinderella goes to the ball, and dances with the prince, and then runs away when the clock strikes midnight, leaving a glass slipper behind.” And that’s it.

all this prophesying is nice–but it all rests on the assumption thea the West will succeed in defeating Saddam. Sure, we have massive air power, but Saddam has a massive underground, nuclear-proof bomb shelter. He will simply duck downstairs for a month , and then step outside, survey the ruined buildings , and declare that he is the greatest winner in history, because he stood up to the Americans.
The civilian population may be miserable, with no electricity or water supply, but he will still be the ruling tyrant.

This assumes that in order for Saddam to lose, he would need to be killed or captured. I don’t believe this is the case. Saddam doesn’t have support because he’s a great leader, or a nice guy. He has support because people are scared of him. Without the promise that he can force his followers to do nasty things to you, there’s not more reason to be scared of Saddam than any other random bully.

If we invade Iraq, take over Baghdad, drive Saddam away, and scatter the Republican Guard, then install a new government a la Afghanistan, backed by US troops, Saddam can’t just waltz on in and resume power six months later. He’ll have been neutered, and will have lost his ability to cause fear. And if the people start to get a taste of democracy, like in Afghanistan - those people love us now, by Middle Eastern standards - I don’t see them letting Saddam get power. If they saw him in the streets, after the years of terror he’s dished out, they’d probably tear him apart with their hands.