"The Point of No Return: Defining the De

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Posted by AssurHaddon from dialup- ( on Saturday, August 16, 2003 at 9:26PM :

The Point of No Return: Defining the Destiny of Mesopotamia"
Drafted by Jonathan Feiser on August 10, 2003


The ouster of Saddam Hussein marks a shift both within Iraq as well as
throughout the Middle East. The real concern, however, is where that shift
is heading. Historically, British-demarcated "Iraq" has long remained in a
fragile quest for its own identity, which has only served as a destabilizing
force. One clear example of such underlying fault lines was the 1958 Iraqi
revolution. The revolution brought an end to Iraq's monarchy and thirteen
years later eventually contributed to the final withdrawal of the British
Empire from the Middle East. The revolution was organized by Iraqi
nationalist General Abdul Karim Qasim and his more Ba'athist-tainted
colleague, Abdul Salam Arif. Arif later aided in overthrowing Qasim and
established the first -- albeit failed -- Ba'athist regime. The theme in
Iraq that trademarked the 1958 revolution and extended to the fall of Saddam
Hussein in 2003 remains perfectly clear: Power should never be relinquished.

This theme explains the series of coups that occurred after 1958 and
eventually facilitated the rise of the second Ba'athist regime under
President Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr. The rise of al-Bakr and his vice president,
Saddam Hussein, augmented the traditional warrior ethos, one that
characteristically enshrined the attainment of power over all else.

One defining characteristic that drove this series of revolutions was how
each impacted the power balance that then existed between the Soviet Union
and the United States. Today, these same balances continue to posses a great
deal of legitimacy with regional neighbors not only located in the Middle
East, but also in South Asia as well as in Europe and Russia. Thus, in spite
of the present efforts to stabilize the country, the exterior situation
retains many of the geopolitical and regional security concerns that have
never wandered far from the Iraq's historical balance sheet. Paying
attention to these factors remains a crucial part of the game and is
inherently linked to the establishment of beneficial constructs to aid Iraqi

At this juncture, the military component is certainty critical to the defeat
of those organizing hostile resistance to the U.S. presence in Iraq. Yet a
narrow assessment of opposition naturally appeals to the utilization of
narrowly defined solutions that seem to rely on the prolonged presence of
American military forces.

Indeed, such a narrow -- and perhaps overly strained -- reliance indirectly
increases the threats that exist at the intra-regional levels. This
continued development directly undermines the Bush administration's vision
of global security. Cleary, the indigenous threat enveloped within religious
veneer, augmented with anti-Western propaganda, does not fade into history
but subtly adapts to increasingly flexible degrees within conflict and
crisis. A conventional war with such a nemesis, while negating any
conceivable parallels to the war in Vietnam, nonetheless heralds the
possibility of sharing a similar fate.

The authors of Iraq's previous coup successes misjudged their means of power
in their relationship with the intimate diversity of Iraqi society. In
essence, they could afford that cost, but the United States cannot. Thus,
regardless of any possible success stories to come, the best intentions of
the U.S. presence may haplessly become an unknowing contributor to the
cyclic inertia of an Iraqi legacy of overthrowing leadership. As with the
British intervention in Kabul, the American presence in Iraq may become
permanently perceived by the locals with the role not of savior, but of
occupier. Even though this cycle may not necessarily dictate a trend of
further instability, it nevertheless represents a chapter flushed with
increasingly greater challenges and misrepresentations.

Presently, however, it is difficult to apply the precious lessons inherited
from past "regime change" debacles. With this in mind, the process of
transplanting a new regime should entail subtle realigning and renovation,
but not replacing -- or appearing to be replacing -- the deep roots of
traditional and sedimentary "family orientated" systems of power that mark
Iraq's cultural history. Such systems are generational and therefore run in
contravention to foreign implanted and artificial constructs. In the
meantime, a return of regional history may perhaps be relevant in the
confusion left by the current power vacuums formed after the removal of
Saddam Hussein. Due to this situation, it has become clear that
fragmentation within Iraq is not threatening to happen, but has already

The Power and Interest News Report (PINR) is an analysis-based
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approaches a subject based upon the powers and interests involved,
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comments should be directed to content@pinr.com.

-- AssurHaddon
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