Disarming Iraq

4. The uncompromising insistence that Iraq must either totally destroy its arsenal of biochemical and nuclear weapons programs or face war while Israel is allowed to possess biochemical and nuclear weapons in the Middle East, is only going to accelerate the pace of illegal nuclear weapons programs throughout the world. It is not surprising that North Korea has boldly expelled the two-member monitoring team of the International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) from its territory. It has publicly announced the resumption of its nuclear energy program, despite opposition from the United Nations and the United States. It is also not surprising that Iran is working profusely to develop a nuclear capability. Many Arab countries would secretly explore ways of facilitating the development of nuclear weapons. The incessant pressure on Iraq is particularly a marketing bonanza for the Al Qaeda since many Arabs and Moslems are being persuaded to join the movement, in response to the perceived sense of a double standard.

5. The U.S. threat to attack Iraq and overthrow the current government is probably forcing many countries and leaders to realize that the only way they can guarantee their sovereignty is to have or develop nuclear bombs. Learning from the powerlessness of Iraq and the powerfulness of North Korea, some countries might decide to ignore their commitment under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and begin to clandestinely develop nuclear weapons in order to deter any preemptive military attack.

The reasons given for a possible war against Iraq are not convincing. Even in Britain, the citizens have doubts about the need to fight a war with Iraq. In a recent poll, Britons believe that the US and North Korea are a greater threat to the world than Iraq. In the same poll, conducted by YouGov (CNN.com 2/11/3), 61% of those surveyed said that the evidence presented by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell at the United Nations was not convincing. It should be recalled that a day after the Secretary of State had made his presentation, it was revealed in the European and Canadian media that some of the facts presented were copied from a dissertation prepared by a doctoral student in California. The British Observer commented “Yet a dossier presented as containing prime-cuts of fresh intelligence material turns out to be nothing of the sort – but rather an internet cut-and-paste exercise largely lifted from a California post-graduate thesis focused on evidence from the invasion of Kuwait 13 years ago.” (The Observer, 2003, February 9). Although the U.S. media has not made reference to this revelation, the Europeans felt disappointed and hoodwinked when the report surfaced.

The countries that tend to support the US position on Iraq, Bahrain, Britain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Australia etc. are very edgy in their support due to their citizens’ lukewarm support for war and a strong desire for a peaceful resolution of the crisis. The world seems to support the continuation of UN inspections in Iraq, not war. Only Israel, Italy, Spain, Kuwait, and the former East European communist countries seem to have an unquestionable support for a military solution to the Iraqi conflict. Canada is in a wait and see mood, being very doubtful of the efficacy of war and yet not wanting to openly criticize the United States.

6. The U.S. has been trying to justify its right to attack preemptively as a way to protect its national security. If the U.S. were to actually carry out an attack preemptively without U.N. support, it would set up a dangerous precedent in international politics. Other countries too would also automatically have a right to carry out preemptive actions to enhance their national security. This means that North Korea would be able to attack South Korea preemptively in order to flush out the U.S. forces there, just as South Korea would be able to do the same. It means that China can attack Taiwan whenever it chooses to do so. Russia could strike at Poland or any of the former Communist countries in Eastern Europe if it feels threaten by the effort of the East European countries to join NATO.

7. Regardless of the outcome of the international chess game concerning whether to go to war or not, the international political system will never be the same again. It appears that new alliances are being formed. Belgium, France, Germany, and Russia seem to be forming a new alliance against an equally emerging new alliance involving the United States, Britain, Italy, and former East European countries. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) might undergo some changes regarding its strategic goals as the members disagree on the role of the organization concerning providing security for Turkey (CNN, 2003, February 11). Although NATO issued a joint statement on 2/17/03, warning Iraq to comply and promising to support Turkey militarily, the wound already inflicted psychologically will take a while to heal. Turkey does not support a war against Iraq but it is afraid of expressing its true feelings because it does not want to jeopardize its relationship with the U.S. On the other hand, it is treated as an unwanted child in Europe. Likewise, a new intercontinental alliance involving China, France, Russia, and the developing countries seems to be emerging.

Japan, the second largest economy in the world, is being forced to reconsider its stance toward the acquisition of mass destruction weapons. It seems to be paying so much psychologically for relying on the U.S. for its own defense. It was compelled to participate in the first Persian Gulf War, even though it did not have any direct strategic stake in it. Now, it is being forced to take sides again. Moreover, the North Korean situation is very worrisome since any military confrontation between North Korea and the United States could easily entangle China, Japan and South Korea. North Korea’s decision to reactivate its nuclear program could instigate nuclearization in South Korea, Taiwan , and Japan.

The Third World increasingly views the attempt to impose compliance on Iraq as another Western effort to impose a colonial order on a developing country. The members of this group are very suspicious of the motives and are working to reactivate the nonalignment movement again. They are befuddled by the fact that Third World countries are always expected to pay severely for misbehavior while the industrialized countries can get away with even more serious offenses. While the Arab world is divided between those who support a war against Iraq and those who oppose a war against Iraq, sub-Saharan African countries vehemently oppose a war against Iraq. The Nonaligned Movement might increase their demand for inclusion of some developing countries in the Security Council, so that the veto power would be spread equally among the major political groupings in the world. Japan and Germany could ask for inclusion too since they are the second and third largest economies in the world.

Evidently, a multipolar balance of power system, which resembles the old European system, appears to be emerging. Whether a war is fought against Iraq or not, the U.S. is going to face numerous challenges from the emerging alliances.

8. The U.S. is right in strongly maintaining that Iraq is hiding its weapons of mass destruction and is unwilling to disarm voluntarily. The U.S. is also right about Saddam Hussein’s murderous and aggressive behavior. However, given all the facts, arguments and counterarguments, the rationale for going to war against Iraq is not convincing when the Iraqi situation is contextualized or analyzed in terms of world politics. Iraq is not the only country that has biochemical weapons and has invaded its neighbors. Iraq is not the only country that has seriously violated the rights of its citizens. Iraq is not the only country that has violated UN resolutions. This is why many people, including the Catholic Church, believe strongly that Iraqi’s aggressive behavior can be contained through constant UN monitoring of its weapons programs. In the Persian Gulf War, about 100,000 Iraqis were killed. People are afraid that a war intended to change the regime in Iraq could lead to more deaths for the Iraqi people and coalition forces. This is why anti war demonstrations were carried out throughout the world recently.

9. Perhaps, a final reason why there is a strong opposition to going to war without U.N. authorization by some of the powerful states is the feeling of betrayal engendered after the Persian Gulf War. It was widely reported that after the war, most of the contracts for reconstruction in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia went to American companies, while the other coalition partners got very little. It appears, therefore, that they do not want the same situation to repeat itself again. Hence, the strident opposition to any American dominated effort to topple Saddam Hussein and his regime.


CNN.Com (2003, February 11). NATO meeting ends with no resolution on Turkey. Online:


CNN.Com. (2003, February 11). Poll: U.S. more a threat than Iraq.




CNN.Com. (2003, February 14). Security Council’s dilemma on enforcement.


Wolfe, R. & Hirsh, M. (2003, February 2). War and consequences. Newsweek. Pages 22-27.

Harding, L. (2003, February 16). Iraqi opposition slams plan for military governor. The Observer. Online.
http://www.observer.co.uk/Iraq/story/o,12239,896778,00.html. 2/20/03.

Hastedt, G.P. & Knickrehm, K. (2003). International politics in a changing world. Longman. P.42.

McGeary, J. & Wailler, D. (2002, November 25). Why can’t we find bin Laden? Time. pp. 34-35.

Norton-Taylor, R. (2003, Frebruary 24). Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war on Iraq. The Guardian online.
http//:www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,901728,00.html. 2/23/03

Ranesar, R., (2002, December 9). A twist of the arm. Time. P. 45.

The Florida Catholic, Miami Edition. ( 2003, January 23). Jesuits journal suggests oil is true U.S. motive for Iraqi war. An article originally in the Civilta Catholica newspaper of the Vatican., p. A13.

The Observer Online. (2003, February 9). The dossier that shamed Britain. http://www.observer.co.uk/Iraq/story/0,1222239,892066,00.html. 2/20/03.

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Written by
Priye Torulagha
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