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October 2, 2002

October 2, 2002 | News Releases on

Iraq Will be Liberated by Large, Broad-based Coalition, Analyst Predicts

WASHINGTON, OCT. 2, 2002 -Domestic and foreign critics of the Bush administration's policy toward Iraq are adamant: Any unilateral effort to cause "regime change" in Baghdad is doomed to fail. But a new paper from The Heritage Foundation says the United States won't have to act unilaterally.

"Mounting evidence suggests that the people of Iraq will be liberated by one of the largest strategic and diplomatic coalitions the world has seen in modern times," writes Nile Gardiner, a visiting fellow in Anglo-American security policy. "The Bush administration has begun building the broad-based alliance necessary to bring Saddam Hussein down." Ultimately, he predicts, the emerging coalition will rival the one assembled for the Gulf War.

A military campaign against Hussein will be led primarily by the United States and Britain, Gardiner says, but there is a strong possibility that Australia will take part and that new members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), such as Poland, also might lend a hand. Older NATO members closer to the Middle East, such as Spain, Turkey and Italy, could join in, along with a quartet of Iraq's neighbors: Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

"Even France has stepped back from its unequivocal opposition to the use of military force, and China and Russia have indicated they may be willing to soften their opposition to war," Gardiner says. "Clearly, the tide is turning against Iraq. The United States may not have to go it alone to rid the world of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, after all."

Still, he says, Washington needs to keep drumming up support within the United Nations Security Council, Europe and the Arab world. "Allied military, diplomatic and strategic support will be vitally important not only for a campaign to destroy Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and eliminate its weapons programs, but also after the war to ensure that long-term war aims are implemented," he says.

The Bush administration also shouldn't hesitate to condemn those governments that would appease Iraq, Gardiner says. "Germany, for example, should be strongly criticized for moral cowardice and its failure to stand up to a totalitarian regime that threatens regional and global security," he says.

The key U.S. ally in this campaign, the Heritage analyst says, is Britain. That's why it's important for U.S. policymakers to understand the intense pressure British Prime Minister Tony Blair is under from naysayers within his Cabinet, his own party and the European Union for his support of the Bush administration's policy on Iraq.

"If Blair doesn't succeed at winning over these critics, there's a real danger that any international coalition against Iraq could collapse," Gardiner says.

Blair may have vowed before Parliament that Great Britain is committed to disarming Iraq "one way or another," but his fellow Britons are far less supportive of waging war, Gardiner says. A recent poll showed that 52 percent oppose military action and 33 percent are in favor. And opposition to a war has jumped 14 percentage points since March.

Much of the criticism comes from Blair's own party, according to Gardiner. Of the 160 members of Parliament who signed a recent motion opposing military action in Iraq, 133 are from the Labor Party. Indeed, it was because of the criticism leveled by Labor officials that Blair recently agreed to a compromise resolution calling for Britain to obtain U.N. authority before taking military action.

Gardiner says that Blair also must convince members of the European Union, who are irritated over the fact that Blair's support for the U.S. campaign makes it impossible for them to condemn President Bush with a single voice and counter-balance U.S. dominance in global affairs. As Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel has said: "Morally and politically we [the EU] could take charge of the world. But the British are blocking that."

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