The Future of Iraq

In This Review

The Future of Iraq

Edited by John Calabrese
Middle East Institute, 1997
140 pp. $5.00
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Books on Iraq must ever be behind the times, but such is the systemic stability of the confrontation with Saddam Hussein's government that this slim volume is not outdated. Nine authors handle the usual subjects, including the impact of sanctions, oil and general economic prospects, and Iraq's regional policies in the 1990s, plus they give descriptions of Iraqi political culture with an eye to what the future might hold. As for U.S. policy recommendations, Paul Wolfowitz prefers getting rid of the Iraqi regime using not just military pressure but "a political strategy that makes clear not only our opposition to Saddam, but also our willingness to support an alternative." One would have thought that was already quite clear. Abbas Mehdi scores U.S. covert action for having relied on "coup-makers rather than nation-state builders," but his alternative, including a "positive, rather than a punitive, approach" to Iraq, implementation of human rights, and indicting Saddam Hussein for war crimes, seems more a wish list than a policy. Madeleine Albright's March 1997 speech indicating no change in U.S. policy toward sanctions without a regime change in Iraq is included. This stance bears watching now over a year later. Giandomenico Picco offers the bold speculation that given Israel's "strategy of demonizing Iran" and the need to balance Syria an Israeli-Iraqi rapprochement might emerge.