what happens after the war?

Lets just say, for arguments sake, that the US and its allies do go to war in Iraq, and remove Saddam Hussein from power. What happens then? Will the US be responsible for restoring Iraqs economy and will they demmand democratic elections, or will Iraq become something akin to a US territory?

a U.S. territory? Hardly!
I think the U.N. would go in and occupy for a long time.
After that, its anybodys guess.

Best possible outcome…

Instal a reasonably pro-western government and try to keep the country together rather than let it break up on ethnic and religious lines as seems quite possible.

Hold elections ASAP.

In the meantime, start selling oil and borrow money from international banks on the promise of payback with oil generated revenue. All being well, Iraq will enjoy unprecedented ecconomic growth. Oil installations, schools and hospitals will reach a more normal (by international standards) operational status within 12 months. Domestic industry etc may take longer, but will not be far behind. The Iraqi people are well educated and have been used to a secular state, fed up with war and repression they are more than ready to work hard to build a new country. With the association between prosperity and democracy made in the minds of the masses, Iraq could become a bastion of secular, democratic reasonableness in the region.

…from an eternal optimist.

I think this is one sense in which oil is very important to the prospect of a conflict. Oil gives the people of Iraqi a hope of a prosperous future without Saddam or his ilk. There may be other dictators every bit as that of Iraq, but it is difficult to see how deposing them would leave the ordinary people quickly significantly better off.

I’m gradually coming to realise how very ignorant I am. (good ol’ Straight Dope)

Like what happened/is happening in Afgahnistan? What are Iraq’s religious and ethnic lines?

Wow. Optimism plus! Here’s hoping it turns out that way… (I’m kinda hoping there won’t be a war at all, but that hope is getting dimmer daily)

Thanks for the information. :slight_smile:

"What are Iraq’s religious and ethnic lines?" See: Iraq’s ethnic and religious divisions.

Overall, I suppose that the key point is that winning the war will be the easy bit - winning the peace is what really matters. Coaxing Iraq into the 21st century will not be easy, but the country has a lot going for it. I am optimistic about the long term prospects of post-war Iraq.

But Our Leader has already explained all this! Just a few nights ago, he forthrightly laid out the future impact in his speech before the avowedly non-partisan American Enterprise Institute (regretably, without the sartorial nuance of his bomber jacket.)

Peace and goodwill shall finally descend upon the Middle East, a gift from our hands. The Kurds shall embrace thier Turkish cousins, blubbering happily in thier unbounded joy to be reunited with thier fellow Kurds under the benign guidance of the Turkomen. I suggest we send Mr. Kissinger as an envoy, no doubt they will be doubly reassured to have him, thier fond memories being what they are.

Mr. Sharon, that “man of peace”, shall reverse all previous policies and rush to embrace the Palestinian cause for a seperate and secure state. Perhaps a few more minor settlements, here and there. After all, we are Israel’s firmest ally, surely they are ours as well?

Saudi Arabia’s plutocracy, the scales having fallen from thier eyes, will make all deliberate speed to divest themselves of unseemly wealth and power in a headlong rush to a parliamentary democracy. History abounds in such examples of unselfish sacrifice on the part of the rich and powerful.

In a matter of a few months, or, at most, decades, Iraq will be transformed under our avuncular guidance into a nation of bourgeois shopkeepers and Starbucks entrepeneurs. They shall elect a representative parliament from a slate of carefully screened candidates. We can be assured that no unworthy issues shall arise to cloud thier deliberations as they unanimously declare their joyful gratitude towards thier American benefactors.

Yes, nothing but blue skies and good times ahead!

I think it will depend on the level of America’s commitment to the postwar regime. In other words, money.

If the United States sends billions of dollars to build the local economy and infrastructure, the new government will probably be able to but its way to legitimacy. In other words, do to Iraq as was done to Japan and West Germany.

If the US doesn’t put in ton of money, and simply keeps the state together for geo-political and economic exploitation, I don’t think a democratic-leaning government will last. In other words, Yugoslavia.

Without a strong, legitimate government, Iraw will probably devide along religious and ethnic lines. The Kurds, Shiite, and Sunnis will fight for control, and Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia will all go in to support their own interests.

Of course, that’s my own opinion.

Eternal optimist here again.

Iraq is not like Afganistan or Yugoslavia in one very important respect: it has oil and plenty of it. At least some oild will be leaving Iraq within weeks of the start of a war - perhaps even before all the fighting is over - and production will rise rapidly. A new Iraqi government will be able to accept aid and investment from all over the world; money will pour into the county. There is nothing like hard cash for butressing a government.

And to reiterate, the Iraqi people are well placed to take full advantage of this sudden change in fortune. The people are well educated and used to living in an essentially secular state.

The religious and ethnic divisions in Iraq run deep and there is cetrainly a chance that some sort of splitting off will occur. There do seem to be oil pipelines in existance (or planned) that go in pretty much every direction except to Iran. Would a federal or completly divided Iraq be such a bad thing? I think it is highly unlikely that any of Iraq’s neighbours will interfere directly.