Experts of the American Center for strategic and international studies on the impact of Iraq war on U.S. relations with the Islamic world
Material posted: -Publication date: 21-11-2004

A number of American experts at the Center for strategic and international studies employed to study the possible consequences of Iraqi campaign, noted that military action against Iraq will have adverse effects on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. The degree of adverse impact will be largely determined by the duration of the operation.

Assessing the situation, experts say that anti-American sentiment caused by the preparations for war with Iraq, have seriously complicated relations of the USA and several countries of the Islamic world.

Reportedly, over the last few weeks the most massive protest demonstrations were held in Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain and Sudan. In a number of countries have clearly highlighted the difference between the official position of the government and the masses: the governments of several Arab States are keen to maintain friendly relations with Washington, while the population is strongly opposed to the aggression against Iraq.

Against this background, experts note that the scale of the riots today are not able to threaten the stability of existing regimes. Experts say that the reaction to the actions of U.S. armed forces in the region does not have such a negative and potentially able to destabilize the situation in several Arab countries, as it may seem. They also note that the adverse effects of the American attack on Iraq will have long-term negative consequences.

However experts of the Center for strategic and international studies I do not presume to predict the nature and duration of the reaction of the Muslim world on the U.S. war on Iraq. They identified the following factors that are likely to influence the development of the reaction of the Islamic world.

1. The provision of the U.S. armed forces, convincing evidence is not sufficient open cooperation of Iraq with the UN inspectors, as well as detection of chemical or biological weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The presence of such evidence would legitimise the American military presence in Iraq, and to improve the perception of the US, at least part of the Muslim population of the region.

2. Multilateral authorization of military action in accordance with the UN Charter. It is clear that the decision of the UN Security Council supporting military action against Iraq, would limit the adverse effects of war on relations between the U.S. and the Muslim world. The existence of such decision did not satisfy the most rigid opponents of the military action of the USA, but it would be much easier interaction with the General public. The existence of such solutions would allow the governments of some Arab and Muslim governments to remain neutral towards US, if not to cooperate with them.

3. The duration of the war and the seriousness of the clashes. Lightning war, which does not lead to large-scale civilian casualties or mass destruction of infrastructure and civilian buildings in Iraq, will have less adverse and shorter impact on U.S. relations with the Muslim world. However, the long war, leading to many casualties among Iraqis is likely to cause more large-scale anti-American demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience. Experts also note that such a scenario war will seriously increase the risk of a recurrence of terrorist acts against the United States, and in the long term may lead to a rise in extremist tendencies of various directions, including Islamic fundamentalism.

4. The situation in post-war Iraq. On U.S. relations with the Islamic world will also be affected and the development of the situation in post-war Iraq. If the U.S. can guarantee the preservation of Iraq and its territorial integrity and ensure political and economic revitalization of Iraq, it will be one of the best ways a few to cool anti-American feelings in the Islamic world. The time required to reach these goals and, consequently, the duration of US military presence in Iraq, will also have a serious impact on relations with Muslims, especially Arabs. However, if after the war Iraq will be divided, or to continue for a long period of chaos, the risk of increased anti-American sentiments in the Muslim world will increase significantly.

5. The regional implications. Experts believe that if the war in Iraq will lead to the growth of the instability on neighbouring countries, including Turkey and Iran, and potentially Jordan, then such developments may lead to an escalation of anti-American feelings in the Islamic world. However, if such event of destabilization can be prevented, the response will be smoother.

6. Quick resumption of American involvement in the middle East peace process. A significant factor in the recent rise of anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim worlds is a crisis in Israeli-Palestinian relations. Specialists of the Center believe that the American efforts to end this cycle of violence and engender hope for the resumption of peace talks will reduce anti-American feeling.

The General conclusion of the experts is the conclusion that the U.S. should expect some negative consequences from the war on Iraq in its relations with the Islamic world, especially its Muslim population. Damages at the government level is likely to be limited, if the war does not entail unexpectedly strong resistance. However, these effects should not be too serious and lasting, if the actions of the US will be effective afterwards.

Experts note that today there are a number of measures that the United States should implement before the outbreak of hostilities and after to mitigate any negative long-term impact of the war on U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Among such measures are noted: the continued search for allies in his anti-Iraq campaign for the purpose of obtaining obtaining international support for its actions, the availability of a realistic comprehensive plan for post-war reconstruction of Iraq, the management of negative consequences of the war in the neighbouring regions and an early conclusion of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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