Predictions About the Effects of War with Iraq

News Abroad

This page will be constantly updated with new predictions.

Fouad Ajami, Majid Khadduri Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, in Foreign Affairs (January/February 2003):

In the end, the battle for a secular, modernist order in the Arab world is an endeavor for the Arabs themselves. But power matters, and a great power's will and prestige can help tip the scales in favor of modernity and change....[U.S. victory] would embolden those who wish for the Arab world deliverance from retrogression and political decay....It has often seemed in recent years that the Arab political tradition is immune to democratic stirrings. [But] the sacking of a terrible regime with such a pervasive cult of terror may offer Iraqis and Arabs a break with the false gifts of despotism.


Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor at Columbia University (Fall 2003), in In These Times (January 27, 2003):

Irrespective of its cost or length, this war will mark not the end, but the beginning, of our problems in this region. Because, however much Iraqis loathe their regime, they will soon loathe the American occupation that will follow its demise. No expert on Iraq...believes that the creation of a democracy in Iraq will be a swift or simple matter; some believe it is not possible as a consequence of an American military occupation....So we will not have democracy in Iraq. We will have a long American military occupation that will eventually provoke resistance....Via a lengthy and bloody occupation of Iraq, via the establishment of U.S. bases there, via the direct control of Iraqi oil, we will be creating legions of new enemies throughout the Middle East.


Bernard Lewis, in the course of an interview published by the Jerusalem Post (April 7, 2002):

I see the possibility of a genuinely enlightened and progressive and—-yes, I will say the word—-democratic regime arising in a post-Saddam Iraq. They will have been fully inoculated against the Fascist-style governments that otherwise seem to prevail....

Clearly, Iraq is not going to turn into a Jeffersonian democracy over-night, any more than did Germany or Japan. Democracy is a strong medicine, to be administered in gradually increasing measures. A large dose at once risks killing the patient. But with care and over time, freedom can be achieved in Iraq, and more generally in the Middle East.


Martin Stuart-Fox, professor of history at the University of Queensland, writing in the Courier Mail (London) (March 17, 2003):

The best-case scenario for invasion goes something like this: Massive American bombing will shock the Iraqi army into quickly surrendering while keeping civilian casualties to a minimum. American troops driving north from Kuwait and south from Turkey will be welcomed as liberators.

Saddam Hussein will either flee or be executed. Meanwhile, the US will install a short-lived military administration, followed by free and fair elections. From these a new Iraq will emerge as a democratic beacon.

But this is naively optimistic. To begin with, the bombing campaign may well leave the bulk of the army, especially the Republican Guard, largely intact. After all, Iraqi forces are unlikely to be concentrated on military bases. Rather they are likely to be dispersed throughout Baghdad and a few other towns.

The initial American advance is likely to be swift, against little resistance. The Americans, though not their Turkish allies, will be welcomed by the Kurds in the north. In the south, Basra, the second city in Iraq, probably will fall within days. But the goal of invasion is Baghdad, and that is a much tougher prospect. For Baghdad primarily is populated by Sunni Arabs (25 per cent of the Iraqi population), and they have been the principal backers of Saddam's regime.


Robert Fisk writing in the Independent (London) (March 6, 2003):

Here I will make a guess: that in the months and years that follow America's invasion of Iraq, the United States, in its arrogant assumption that it can create"democracy" in the ashes of a Middle East dictatorship as well as take its oil, will suffer the same as the British in Palestine. Of this tragedy, Winston Churchill wrote, and his words are likely to apply to the US in Iraq:"At first, the steps were wide and shallow, covered with a carpet, but in the end the very stones crumbled under their feet."


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justine - 11/24/2003

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Trojan Man - 10/2/2003

Bush is a flaming PoS. Latex crayons? Semipermiable cheese grater? Whats up my nigga!

Kevin Fussell Cook - 4/5/2003

We will still be counting the resulting costs from this short war and it's effects a half century from now. Those who run against Bush will delude themselves, and go promising to undo the damage. (After all, who wants to vote for a pessimist?) But, the damage will not be so easily undone. But then, according to Bush, another war and some more tax cuts should fix everything (logic right out of the Mad Hatter's tea party).

Kevin - 4/5/2003

However this turns out, the analysts in the mainstream U.S. media will find a way to miss what is most telling.