February 22, 1991 | Backgrounder on National Security and Defense
812 F ebruary 22,1991 ENDING THE Wm AND WINNING THE PEACE INTHEPERSIANGULF PART I THREE SCENARIOS FOR VICTORY INTRODUCTION Mimail Gorbachevs February 21 peace plan apparently has been designed to provide Iraqs Saddam Hussein with one last chance to extricate hi s armies from Kuwait while still claiming to have avoided defeat at the hands of American and coalition forces. George Bushs forceful rejection of the plan gives Saddam only hours to withdraw his forces or face a ground war.
It is one option he still may try to exercise; and it thus is one way that Americas war against Iraq might end, and one of the war-ending scenarios for which Bush must be prepared.
It is, of course, not the only scenario. A second is that the United States and Iraq will fight a limited war over Kuwait, pushing the battle only until Kuwait is liberated and using only conventional weapons. A third scenario is that the war will escalate, perhaps to include the use of chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons, spread to other countries, and end with a U.S. drive to Baghdad Forthcoming: Ending the War and Winning the Peace in the Persian Gulf, Part n. Once the war is won, Bush will face a host of issues including the peacetime role of the coalition against Iraq, the long-term military rol e of the U.S. in the Persian Gulf, and the need to prevent the transfer of unconventional weapons technology to Iraq and other outlaw states in the international system. Part Il in the series, to be published next month, will address these issues.
Controll ing the Outcome. With deft diplomacy and choice of military goals Bush can control the outcome of any of the scenarios a diplomatic surprise limited victory, or escalation of the conflict and end the war on the terms America now envisions: Kuwait liberate d , Iraqi forces largely destroyed, and Saddam thoroughly discredited The liberation of Kuwait will fulfill Bushs pledge to restore Kuwaiti sovereignty. The destructionof Iraqi. military- capability will help attain Bushs broader objective of restoring secu r ity and stability to the Persian Gulf by denying Iraq any offensive military capability against its neighbors. A sound defeat will discredit Saddam, weakening his political base within Iraq and removing him as a political factor in the post-war Middle Eas t. It also will dis credit other radicals in.the area, such as Palestine Liberation Organization PLO) chief Yassir Arafat who endorse Saddams aggressive policies.
Already the war has destroyed Iraqs chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons research center s, and is destroying much of its armed force. Saddam probably shortly will be out of Kuwait, via a humiliating withdrawal without conditions, or after a brief, violent war. But it is not only Bush who will have a say in this wars outcome. Saddam undoubted l y will try to thwart Bushs goal of a limited war with an unambiguous ending. Iran and the Soviet Union, can be expected to try to change the outcome as well. So can some of Americas European and Arab coalition partners. So far Bush has been flawless in hi s handling of the Persian Gulf war. Now he must be ready for three broad scenarios for ending the war, each holding the prospect for American success or failure Scenario #1: Saddams surprise an Iraqi tactical retreat, in which Saddam shocks the world by pu l ling his forces out of Kuwait and declaring victory while his army remains relatively intact.The danger for the U.S. in this is that Saddam simply will redeploy his armies on Kuwaits northern bor der and remain a permanent threat, perhaps dragging the U.S . into a Korea style long-term deployment.
How to end a Saddam surprise on American terms Insist that Iraqi forces withdraw from Kuwait without their weapons, in effect surrendering.This will prevent Saddam from claiming victory in defeat.
Refuse to negotiate. Saddams withdrawal from Kuwait must be uncon ditional.
Do not permit Gorbachev to broker an agreement. By apparently un dermining allied and United Nations calls for Saddams unconditional withdrawal in his February 21 peace plan, Gorbachev has disqu alified himself as a negotiator 2 Scenario #2: Limited victory, in which the U.S. wins a limited war, routs Iraqi forces from Kuwait, but finds that Saddam sporadically fights on, hoping to drag the U.S. into an extended war of attrition How to end a limi t ed war on American terms Prevent Saddam from saving his army. The American-led offensive must prevent the. orderly retreat of the Iraqi army back into Iraq where it could be rebuilt and reconstituted Continue to occupy southern Iraq until the Iraqi govern m ent agrees to cease hostilities, abandon claims to Kuwait, return all POWs, and meet any other conditions Bush and the allies set Maintain the military initiative with continued offensive action against targets in Baghdad and against remaining Iraqi force s on the ground until allied conditions are met Continue the blockade against Iraq until allied conditions for the cessa tion of hostilities are met Scenario #3: Escalation and intensification, in which Saddam or another country raises the stakes for Ameri c a. Saddam, for example, could use chemical and biological (or atomic, if he has them) weapons against U.S forces or Israeli and Saudi civilians; Iraqi agents could carry out deadly ter rorist attacks in the U.S perhaps targeting American leaders; Iran cou l d enter the war on the side of Iraq; Jordan could be drawn into the war deliberately or against the will of King Hussein; the Soviet Union could reverse course and decides to resupply Iraq How to control escalation and end the war on American terms While t he precise U.S. response to an Iraqi escalation of the war will depend on the nature of the escalation, Bush should Warn Saddam that using weapons of mass destruction against allied civilians or American forces would lead to Saddams trial and punish ment f or war crimes, and if necessary to the occupation of Baghdad Authorize U.S. commanders to use chemical weapons if Saddam uses them first.This will compel Iraqi forces to fight in the same hot, bulky protective gear as allied forces Consider retaliating wi t h nuclear weapons but only as a last resort The political risks of using nuclear weapons, including loss of allied sup port and enduring enmity in the Arab world are outweighed only if Iraqi chemical or biological attacks cause mass American casualties, i f American forces unexpectedly are in danger of losing a conventional war and are suffering mass casualties, or to pre-empt or retaliate against Iraqi use of atomic weapons 3 Warn other regional powers, including Iran and Jordan, that interven tion or over t aid to Saddam puts their territory at risk; warn Moscow that attempts to resupply Iraq will be treated as a violation of the United Nations embargo and that ships, planes, or trucks attempting to resupply Iraq will be subject to attack AMERICAS OB JE.CTI V ES. IN THE WAR A.GAINST IRAQ George Bush spelled out the objectives of the American-led blockade and Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait completely, immediately, and without condition Kuwaits legitimate government must be restored The security and stability of the Persian Gulf must be assured American citizens abroad must be protected.
These four peacetime goals officially became Americas wartime objectives on January 15 when Bush repeated them in a letter to House Speaker Thomas Foley and Senate Pr esident ProTem Robert Byrd upon the opening of hostilities, as required by Section 2(b) of Congresss January 12 Joint Con gressional Resolution Authorizing the Use of Military Force Against Iraq. In the letter, Bush also called for compliance with the twe l ve U.N. Security Council resolutions concerning Iraqs complete and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait ing in Iraq a military machine including biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons -with which he apparently intended to upset the Persian Gulf militar y balance, gain a stranglehold over the regions vast oil reserves, and threaten other states. In addition to Kuwait these states include such other moderate, pro-Westem Arab regimes as Saudi Arabia, the other Arab emirates of the Saudi peninsula, and Jorda n. Saddams buildup also gave him the capability to challenge Israel an American ally and the regions only democracy.
If Saddams aggression against Kuwait had been permitted to stand he directly would have controlled access to 20 percent of the worlds oil r eser ves, double the 10 percent he controlled before the invasion. In addition, he would have been positioned militarily to coerce the states of the Saudi penin sula, exerting defacto control over about 56 percent of the worlds oil embargo of Iraq in a Se p tember 12 address to Congress Bushs war aims protect Americas most basic interests. Saddam was build 1 US. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration Inremutionul Energy Annual (1990 4 U.S. Burden. Since Britains decision to withdraw its mili t ary forces from east of Suez in 1971, the U.S. has shouldered the main burden of support ing the Wests common interests in the-Persian Gulf. It has fulfilled this responsibility not through empire and domination had the European powers for a century, but b y maintain ing a stable regional balance of power that has ensured Worlds Seven Largest Armies 1990 OliUlOlu of klm Troaorl I 3 the independence and sovereignty of each Persian Gulf state. In so doing America has prevented any hostile state from gaining a position that would dominate its neighbors and control the regions valuable resources Two states periodically have threatened the stability and security essential to U.S. interests in the Gulf Iran, after the fall of the Shah in 1979 and Iraq Iraqi Ground Weaponry As of January 15, 1991 rhauunaa 4 2 In Kurnlll Th-r Dap1oy.d Elarwhm I)ouroa U.a D.p.rlmwnl of D.hnu and oinw ~wma~ nwiiw. owi&n.ri Thoughthe Iranian threat I has faded since the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1989, the Iraqi threat to G u lf stability has continued to grow. Iraqs army mushroomed from 200,000 to 1~00,000 between 1980 and 1990, expanding from 13 divisions to 62 divisions. By last year, just before the August 2 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait Iraqs growing military power -with weapo n s and advice provided mainly by 2 Stephen C. Pelletiere et al Iraqi Power and US. Secunfy in the Middle East, U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute, 1990, p. 16 5 Moscow, but also by French, Germans, and other West Europeans prompted a study b y the U.S. Army War College. It warned that if the U.S were to fight Iraq, it would have to wage high intensity conflict by] heavy ground forces with air ~uperiority U.S. Air Force commanders have been surprised by just how well Iraq has girded for war, wi t h an extensive network of command posts and under ground tunnel complexes hardened with reinforced concrete to withstand at tack, backup communication systems including expensive fiber optic cable and about 2,100 hardened shelters for aircraft and other m i litary equipment many of which survived initial U.S. attempts to destroy them! Many of these facilities are designed to withstand such nuclear weapon effects as the tremen dous energy burst -knOWn as electromagnetic pulse released in a nuclear explosion. What this means, U.S. Air Force planners told The Heritage Foun dation: Saddam was preparing to fight a nuclear war against Israel.
Overriding Objective. Restoring the balance of power in the Persian Gulf is the overriding objective from which stem America s more apparent goals such as liberating Kuwait. Restoring the balance hence is the objective that should guide Americas war aims and its post-war diplomacy. This requires first, that Americas military efforts should be aimed at defanging Iraqs military c apability; and second, that the outcome leaves no doubt as to Americas will and ability to protect its interests in the region. This means no compromising on Americas war aims and no face-saving for Saddam.
Americas air campaign has done much to achieve th is already, destroying research centers and factories producing, or potentially capable of producing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. Iraqs munitions plants, command centers, air forces, and air defense system also, for the most part, were destr o yed in the early stages of the air campaign. Once Saddams field army is largely destroyed or disarmed, Iraqs ability to wage war against Kuwait or any other country will have been severely undermined, and a key American objective met destroyed, there may r emain the question of what to do about Saddam Hus sein and whether he can be allowed to remain in power. If, at the wars end Saddam in any credible way can declare victory for having stood up to America and lived to tell about it, he will remain a threat. His militant path will have been vindicated in the eyes of other Arabs, particularly radical Palestinians who advocate Saddam-style military solutions to the Arab-Israeli 5 Undeniable Defeat. Even after Iraqs offensive military capability is 3 hid.,p.40 4 Toughest WereYugoslavian-built shelters which survived direct hits by 1,OOO pound bombs.Accordmg to Air Force planners, these later were destroyed by precision warheads capable of penetrating reinforced concrete before detonating. 5 hid 6 conflict.The res u lt would be years more of Middle East instability.To prevent this America must end the war against Iraq in a way that thoroughly discredits Saddam and his aggressive policies by making his defeat undeni able, even if he manages to survive. He can be grant e d no rewards for his at tack on Kuwait no concessions, no linkage with other regional issues, no guarantees THREE SCENA~IOS FOR ENDING THE WARAGAINST IIUQ If the U.S. is to restore security and stability to the Persian GulE, it will have to: liberate Kuwa i t; destroy Iraqs ability to wage offensive war against its neighbors and discredit Saddam and the militant path he represents. With skillful diplomacy and choice of military goals, the U.S. can achieve these ends no matter what path Saddam chooses. At the same time, missteps could allow stability and security to slip from Americas grasp, even after battlefield success. To avoid missteps, Bush and his advisors should consider three scenarios, how each may lead to failure, and how each may lead to victory.
Scenario #I: Saddams surprise, an Iraqi tactical retreat.
After standing up to a six-month worldwide embargo and weeks of U.S. and allied air attacks, Saddam decides to bring home his forces hm Kuwait before they are defeated and declare victory.
In a Feb ruary 15 speech to the Iraqi people, Saddam.for the first time men tioned withdrawal from Kuwait albeit followed by a long list of conditions and told the Iraqi people that they already had won a great victory.ILvo days later came Mikhail Gorbachevs peace initiative. Continuing diplomatic maneuvering by Saddam can be expected right up to and perhaps after the start of a ground war.
An orderly retreat from Kuwait with his forces still partly intact might be Saddams best option. While his country has suffere d severe damage from U.S. air attacks, Iraqi forces have not been defeated on the ground and Saddams forces have not broken ranks and surrendered in large numbers.
Were he to withdraw immediately, Saddam credibly could claim a political victory for having withstood and suwived Americas assaults, particularly if he were to gain some almost any -concession from the coalition in return.
He might withdraw his forces to just north of Iraqs border with Kuwait, from where he would pose a permanent threat to Kuwa iti sovereignty and to regional stability. He would be well positioned to build on his improving rela tions with Moscow and Tehran to take a leading role in the post-war Middle East. His stature within Iraq could rise, not only for having stood up to Amer ica and its allies, but also for getting out before a costly land war.
His stature throughout the Arab world too could rise, particularly among Palestinians, and particularly if he manages to gain even the semblance of linkage to the Palestinian question i n return for his withdrawal from Kuwait 7 I This would vastly extend Saddams power in neighboring Jordan, with its majority Palestinian population, putting Jordans King Hussein under Saddams virtual control. With Saddam still in power and his army intact, any Arab government that had backed the Western military effort would be in danger of being undermined by pro-Saddam Arab nationalist forces How America can win after Saddams surprise Bush can thwart Saddams plans by continuing io reject any Iraqi proposa l for an end to hostilities that falls short of unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. Americas tremendous military success and strong support on the home front have taken the political pressure off Bush. He need make no con cessions, and correctly has show n no inclination to do so. Specifically, Bush should Not be drawn into negotiations. America has nothing to gain from negotiating. Saddams options so far are to accept the humiliation of uncondi tional withdrawal, or to face military defeat. Either option s erves Americas war aims. By contrast, negotiations would give Saddam new options Not trust Gorbachev to broker an agreement. Since it signed a Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation with Iraq in 1972, Moscow patiently has armed and trained the Iraqi militar y . By defeating Iraq, America is defeating a Moscow ally. It is to be expected that Gorbachev will try to salvage some thing of Soviet influence in Iraq and the Middle East. But his February 21 peace proposal would do so at the expense of U.S. and allied o bjectives.
First, even indirect linkage to the Palestinian issue, reportedly included in the Soviet proposal, undermines allied efforts to oust Saddam from Kuwait without conditions. Second, and more ominous, is Gorbachevs rumbling about guarantees of Iraq s territorial integrity and Saddams rule. This im plies a military role for the Soviet Union after the war as Iraqs protector precisely the cover Saddam would need to start rebuilding his military machine As long as Saddam survives, he is too dangerous to be offered guarantees that he will be protected. On the contrary, keeping him in line will require the constant threat of military action against him. Bush must make it clear that even unilateral Soviet guarantees to Iraq constitute unacceptable condition s for an Iraqi withdrawal. America, more than any nation, is paying the price to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam. The terms for en ding the war and shaping the peace to follow should be set in Washington not Moscow Require Iraqi forces to surrender th eir weapons before leaving Kuwait. Even if Saddam offers to withdraw his forces from Kuwait uncondi tionally, Bush should require that the Iraqi army leave behind its weapons.
Over half the Iraqi tanks, artillery, and armored vehicles in the Kuwait militar y theater, which includes Southern Iraq and Kuwait are on Kuwaiti ter ritory. By insisting that Iraqi forces leave their weapons behind when leaving Kuwait, Bush accomplishes two objectives: First, he demonstrates undeniably that Saddams forces have retre a ted and surrendered. Second he cuts Iraqs 8 army to a size that no longer poses a regional threat. While this condition is not set out in U.N. resolutions, neither are others that Bush insists upon, in cluding return of POWs and disclosure of hidden mines . America is at war with Iraq. America has spent billions of dollars and lost lives to oust Saddam from Kuwait. America has the right to impose conditions essential to the suc cessful fulfillment of its war aim Bush may face opposition,fromsome U.S. allies , the-Soviet Union, and the United Nations in demanding these conditions. At every point Bush could be under pressure to negotiate with Saddam or grant Saddam such face saving concessions as indirect linkage of Iraqi withdrawal to the Palestinian issue The American objective, however, is precisely to prevent Saddam from saving face, and hence fromclaiming victory in defeat Scenario #2: Limited victory American-led forces defeat the Iraqi army, either from the air or in a ground war, and liberate Kuwait Amer ica could win a limited war against Iraq in a number of ways. The Iraqi army in Kuwait could begin breaking up under incessant air attack, and then retreat under attack or surrender in the field to American commanders.
More likely as a limited war scenario is a successful U.S.-led ground attack against Iraqi forces in Kuwait and perhaps in southern Iraq.
Even a U.S. military success in a limited war could leave Saddam with op tions. He could pull back into Iraq and fight on, hoping to draw the U.S. into a protracted war of attrition.This is what Egypt did against the Israelis from 1969 to 19
70. Egyptian forces launched artillery, barrages and occasional air attacks against Israel to repair Egypts shattered military and political credibility after the humiliating defeat of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Similar ly, Saddam could engage U.S. forces in artillery duels, occasional air strikes probing attacks from inside Iraq across the Kuwaiti border similar to the January 29-3 0 attack on the Saudi border town of Kafji, and even launch oc casional Scud missile attacks at Israel and Saudi Arabia. His objective would be to inflict casualties on American forces and to tie them down for an ex tended period in Kuwait. He might hope t h at this would undermine support for the war in the U.S. He also might reckon that this would increase support for him in the Arab world and lead to pressures on Washington for a negotiated settlement that would leave him with some tangible achievement for his efforts, such as the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Kuwait.
How America can win in a limited war scenario.
Americas objective in a limited war must be to destroy or disarm Saddams army and to bring the war to a clear-cut conclusion on Americas own terms after liberating Kuwait.Terms would include, at a minimum, an end to all hos tilities by Iraq, compliance with U.N. resolutions, and return of all POWs.
With his army defeated, Saddam would lack the military means to remain a 9 regional danger, and would be so discredited at home that he would be in grave danger of being deposed by his own military. America and its allies could well consider themselves victors even if Saddam survives the war.To ensure victory in the event of a limited war to li b erate Kuwait, Bush should Prevent Saddam from saving his army. The American-led offensive must prevent the orderly retreat of the Iraqi army back into Iraq where it could be rebuilt and againpose a.thteat To do this, the.U.S. ground offen sive, when it co m es, must sweep far enough into Iraq perhaps as much as 50 to 100 miles to surround the bulk of Iraqi forces! Cut off from supplies of food, water, and ammunition, Saddams army in Kuwait would have to sur render or be destroyed. Surrendering forces would b e disarmed and sent home. Saddam would have 1ost.about 4,000 of his 5,000 tanks, about 3,000 of his 7,500 armored vehicles, and nearly all his artillery Maintain the military initiative even after liberating Kuwait. If Sad dam salvages enough of a force to wage a low-level war of attrition against al lied forces in Kuwait, America will have to keep the military pressure on Sad dam to bring the fighting to a close on favorable terms. Air attacks on Iraq should continue, particularly against military and poli tical targets in Baghdad.
Offensive action also could include ground attacks into Iraq to destroy what remains of Saddams army. Saddam cannot be permitted to draw the U.S into a simmering conflict with mounting American casualties. Without the military ini tiative, America could lack the leverage to bring the fighting to a close on its own terms Occupy southern Iraqi territory as bargaining leverage. Pressure too could be kept on Iraq after the liberation of Kuwait by occupying Iraqi ter ritory until Iraq a g rees to end hostilities on allied terms. Iraq has key oil fields along the Kuwaiti border, including Iraqis share of the vast Rumailah oil field, that would be a powerful bargaining leverage. So might the Fao Peninsula and the city of Basra, which bitterl y were contested during the Iran/Iraq war. Iraq lost tens thousands of lives during that war to hold these territories, and their loss would deal a severe political blow to Saddam inside Iraq Maintain the blockade. Once Kuwait is retaken, international pre s sure undoubtedly will build to end the international embargo against Iraq.
Moscow and even some American allies will argue that the liberation of Kuwait fulfills the United Nations mandate and that sanctions should end. If necessary, Bush unilaterally sh ould maintain the air and naval blockade against Iraq until all hostilities have ceased on terms acceptable to the U.S 6 This scenario has been described in some detail by Colonel Trevor N. Dupuy, How ro Dqfeut Suddum Hussein (New York Warner Books, 1991 10 Scenario #3: Escalation and intensification of the war.
A surprise event, such as mass Iraqi chemical or biologi cal weapon attacks or Iranian intervention, thwart U.S plans for a short, limited war with minimum U.S casual ties.
While the U.S. hopes to keepthe war limited, Washington must be prepared for the possibility of escalation. There are several potential surprises that could escalate the Gulf conflict Iraq could use chemical or biological weapons against American troops Iraq could use chemical o r biological weapons against Israeli and Saudi civi 1 i ans Iraq may possess and Saddam may decide to use a crude atomic weapon against American forces, Israel, or Saudi Arabia American forces could suffer unanticipated reverses and mass casual ties in a g round war Iraqi agents could launch terrorist attacks in the U.S perhaps targeting American leaders Iran could enter the war on Iraqs side Jordan could be drawn into the war deliberately or against the will of King Hussein; or, The Soviet Union could reve rse course and resupply Iraq.
Escalation of the war of course would be risky for Saddam. As long as the war is fought with conventional weapons for the purpose of liberating Kuwait he stands some chance of coming out of the war alive and still in power. If he escalates to weapons of mass destruction against U.S. troops or civilians in Is rael or Saudi Arabia, or by attacking targets in the U.S he runs the risk that America will respond by raising its own war aims in ways that pose a greater threat to his r u le and his life wars cost to the US., Bush will back down under public pressure. Saddam has pointed with pride to his own countrys ability to withstand tens of thousands of deaths in its war against Iran, and has spoken with contempt of what he perceives as Americas lack of fortitude, telling U.S. Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie on July 25 that yours is a society that cannot accept 10,000 dead in one battle.
To inflict mass casualties on U.S. forces with conventional weapons Saddams armies must perform fa r better than expected.They would have to halt the American offensive and then engage the U.S. in protracted war of at trition similar to the Korean stalemate or even to World War I-style trench warfare. This is unlikely Accepting Mass Casualties. Still, S addam may calculate that if he raises the 11 I Saddams only other option would be unconventional weapons: chemicals that kill on contact; biological weapons that spread anthrax, botulism, and other deadly germs; or, perhaps, crude atomic weapons. Chemical or biologi cal attacks are not likely to succeed in killing great numbers of Americans be cause U.S. forces are trained and equipped to fight on a contaminated bat tlefield. Saddam of course, may gamble that shock and panic would set in maki,ng his attack s , more effective than a anticipated Desperate Choice. As for nuclear weapons, while he is thought to have the material needed for one or two bombs, he is not believed to have the exper tise to build a workable weapon. If he has atomic weapons, he knows th at to use them would be suicidal. He could hope to gain only martyrdom; yet underdesperate circumstances, this would not be unthinkable.
Saddam is not the only player in the region who could up the stakes in the war. While unlikely, there are circumstances under which Iran could enter the war against the coalition. Example: the war becomes protracted, Iranian public opinion turns sharply against the coalition, and Iranian leaders call for volunteers to liberate holy Islamic territory from the infidel invad ers. Iran has a strongly-motivated 600,000-man army. A massive Iranian intervention could be analogous to Chinas entry into the Korean war on November 1 19
50. It was the hordes of often poorly-equipped Chinese soldiers that halted the American advance in Korea and ended the hopes for a quick victory.
While Irans intervention would not be so devastating as was Chinas, the U.S. would suffer sharply higher casualties. Adding further to Americas problems would be a Soviet decision to resupply I raq, either directly or through Iran. Washington then would have to decide whether to target Soviet personnel.
Jordan too could widen the war. If Saddam were to demand that Iraqi for ces be based on Jordanian territory, Jordans King Hussein might not be a ble to withstand pressure from his Palestinian population to grant Saddams re quest. With Iraqi forces operating from Jordanian territory, Israel would be tempted to become involved How America can control escalation and win if the war escalates understan d that the scope and nature of the war is not his alone to decide.
Still, if the war escalates, Bush can civilians or American forces would mean his trial, and punishment, for war crimes, and if necessary the occupation of Baghdad. Saddam apparently is not deterred by threats that his troops or even his civilian population will suf fer mass casualties. He shows, however, no inclination so far to become a martyr. His escalation of the war thus may be deterred by convincing him that he personally would suffe r if he uses chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons. He should be put on notice that he will be tried for war crimes and While Bush dearly would prefer a limited war to liberate Kuwait, he must Warn Saddam that use of weapons of mass destruction against a llied 12 I I punished accordingly. If his unconventional weapons attacks take heavy American casualties, Saddam should be warned that U.S. forces would drive on Baghdad to capture him. If the unconventional attacks are sporadic and U.S. self-protection me asures work, a drive on Baghdad may not be needed.
Still, Saddams crime should not go unpunished. Justice and deterrence of would-be-Saddams would require that an example be made of him. Bush would be justified in bombing targets in Baghdad until the Iraqi military tumea over Saddam to the US. Or, alternatively, Saddam could be tried in absentia a judgment rendered, and a warrant issued that makes him liable to capture or attack by American forces or agents anytime or anywhere Authorize American commanders to use chemical weapons if Saddam uses them first:While U.S. commanders rarely would find the use of chemi cal weapons militarily necessary, Iraqi forces must know that if they use chemical weapons they could be subject to immediate retaliation in kind. A t the very least, this will force the Iraqis to fight in the same bulky, heavy, and hot protective suits that U.S. forces will be forced to fight in if Iraq uses chemicals Consider using nuclear weapons but only as-a Iastmsort. The U.S should consider usin g nuclear weapons against Iraq only: 1) if no other means would pre-empt Iraqs use of atomic weapons or in response to an Iraqi atomic attack; 2) if American forces are suffering mass casualties as a result of chemical or biological attack; or 3) if Americ a n forces unexpectedly suffer mass casualties in a ground war and are in danger of defeat. None of these situations seems likely, but none can be ruled out range Lance missiles, or dropped from airplanes would be used to punch holes in Iraqs defensive line to clear a path for attacking allied forces. If detonated at about 1,000 feet above the battlefield, the blast of an atomic weapon of under one kiloton would destroy all forces on the ground within a radius of perhaps a half mile, and would result in virt ually no radioactive fall out, which is created only when a weapon is detonated on or near the ground. Nuclear weapons would not and should not be used against Iraqi cities.
In terms of raw power, the U.S. nuclear arsenal ultimately gives the U.S the abili ty to raise the stakes of any conflict higher than Iraq can afford to pay. But playing the nuclear card would be politically explosive for America risking enduring enmity in the Arab world, condemnation by allies, and Soviet intervention. While in princip l e nuclear options should not be ruled out, the U.S. first would have to exhaust all other reasonable possibilities for bringing the war to a successful conclusion Warn off third parties, particularly Iran and the Soviet Union. Iraqs neighbors of Iran and J ordan should be warned that their territory will be sub ject to immediate attack if either enters the war on Iraqs side. Potential Soviet intervention poses a more difficult problem for Bush. Gorbachevs U.S. battlefield nuclear weapons launched by artille r y, delivered by short 13 February 17 peace proposal contained some foreboding language concern ing Soviet guarantees for Iraqi territorial integrity and Saddams regime A Soviet decision to resupply Iraq thus is a possibility for which Bush must be prepare d . His response should be that the U.S. will continue to enforce the embargo on any military or non-military goods entering Iraq; Soviet ships would be intercepted on the high seas, Soviet cargo planes would be targets once they had. touched doyn-on Iraqi tedtory, and any I .C trucks crossing the border would be considered targets.
America will not escalate this war by choice. But if escalation is forced upon the U.S already engaged in a major war, any sign of backing down would be the surest way to encoura ge Iraq and other potential enemies to turn to even more heinous acts against the U.S. and its allies. America is at war. With sound military planning and execution, it should be a quick and limited war. But war by nature is risky and uncertain. Now that U .S. forces have been committed to battle, the U.S. must be prepared to fight, and win whatever type of war is forced upon it CONCLUSION Saddam Husseins ambitions to control a new Arab empire do not set him apart from other petty dictators that populate th e Middle East, including Libyas Muammar Qadhafi and Syrias Hafez Assad. What makes Saddam so dangerous is that he has acquired the military muscle to try to make good on his aims, right in the heart of the strategically critical Persian Gulf region.
Now Saddam is loose, and military action is underway to reign him in again.
To fulfill George Bushs objective of restoring stability and security to the Persian Gulf, the U.S. will have to fight this war in a way that brings it to a close on Americas terms: Kuw ait liberated; Iraqs ability to wage offensive war against its neighbors destroyed; and Saddam humiliated and the militant path he represents discredited.To do so, Bush must consider three scenarios how each might lead to failure, and how each might lead to victory and suc cess for Americas policy in the Persian Gulf.
Kuwait before his army is destroyed. Bush can counter this move by continu ing to insist on a total withdrawal without conditions or negotiations, and by insisting that Iraqi forces withdrawi ng from Kuwait leave their weapons and equipment behind, in effect surrendering The second scenario is a limited warflimited victory scenario in which U.S forces push Saddam out of Kuwait, but Saddam tries to drag the U.S. into a long-term war of attritio n .The U.S. can counter this by fighting the battle for Kuwait in southern Iraq, cutting off and trapping Saddams forces amount ing to about four-fifths of his military power and demanding their sur render. As bargaining leverage, the U.S. should occupy par t s of Iraq, main tain the military initiative, and enforce the blockade of Iraq The first scenario is a Saddam surprise proposal to withdraw from 14 The final scenario is an escalation of the war, through Iraqi use, for ex ample, of chemical or biological w eapons, Iranian intervention, or a Soviet decision to resupply Iraq. Under these circumstances, the U.S. will have to es calate its own war aims, perhaps changing the target of Americas action from Kuwait to Baghdad and to warn Iran or other states that m i ght intervene of the military consequences should they become involved in hostilities. Bat tlefield nuclear weapons should be considered by the U.S only as weapons of last resod, for example if U.S: forces suffer heavy cilsiialtiesunder chemical or biolog ical weapons attack.
Gulf clearly and concisely If he chooses his war aims and end-game diplomacy as carefully and wisely, he can end this war on terms favorable to Americas strategic interests in the Persian Gulf. If he wavers, if he allows Saddam to slip away with his army intact, if he is drawn into a war of attrition or if he fails to up Americas war aims if Saddam raises the stakes by using weapons of mass destruction, Bush might not reap the gains that Americas battlefield victories promise to delive r Reaping Battlefield Gains. Bush has set forth his policy aims in the Persian Jay P. Kosminsky Deputy Director of Defense Policy Studies 15