RAND analysts Daniel Beeman (Byman Danyel) and John Wise (John Wise) prepared the report "the Persian Gulf in the coming Decade" (MR-1528 "The Persian Gulf in the Coming Decade"). Work on the report preparation was conducted at the request of the air forces of the USA. The aim of work performed in anticipation of the US military against Iraq to analyze the development of military-political and military-strategic situation in the Gulf region, to identify the main factors affecting the stability of the region in the next ten years.
According to experts, the Persian Gulf last 25 years is one of the most serious pockets of instability in the world. Military conflicts in the region occur almost constantly. So, in 1971, Iran occupied several Islands belonging to the United Arab Emirates. In 1980-1988 was bloody Iran-Iraq war for the control of several rich oil fields. In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. According to the authors, Iraq and Iran have always supported and support international terrorist organizations operating in the Persian Gulf region. In addition, the special services of Iran undertook certain efforts to overthrow conservative monarchies, ruling in the majority of States in the region.
However, in RAND believe that the threat of use of military force in the Persian Gulf in the near future will sharply decrease. Iraq, even if Saddam Hussein remains in power in the coming years will not be able to threaten its neighbours, because its armed forces are in very bad condition. The reason for this are the UN sanctions. However, this situation, as experts believe the RAND, pushing Iraq to attempt once again to increase their arsenals of weapons of mass destruction to compensate for the weakness of his army.
According to RAND, in recent years much more active in the region was Iran, which in recent years seriously strengthen its army and attempting to gain access to nuclear weapons. However, the internal political situation in the country, and the situation in the economy suggests that in the next 10 years, Iran's armed forces will not have the capacity to conduct large-scale offensive operations.
The main problem, according to experts, remains the weakness of the local regimes, including, traditionally friendly to the United States. The economy of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman are not diversified, based solely on the export of oil and depend only on the level of world prices for hydrocarbons. The slightest fluctuations are immediately reflected on the political situation in these countries.
The oil industry accounts for 98% of the economies of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, 96% of the Iraqi economy. Every year the population of the Gulf countries increases by 3%. The last 10 years unemployment in these countries is growing (in Saudi Arabia, where half of the population under the age of 18, she had already reached 14%), and governments are often unable to provide their citizens with the level of life to those who are counting.
Despite huge revenues from oil sales, these States are of the highest level of corruption, lack of civil liberties, resulting in low quality education, lack of highly skilled professionals in all sectors (except theology) and hence to a poor performance of the state and the economy in General.
On this basis, the experts concluded that the growth of economic, social and political problems may in the coming years to put these countries in a difficult position. Given the fact that reforms in most of these States are unlikely, it is possible that in the next 10 years the countries of the region will face another crisis. In this regard, RAND recommends that the U.S. administration sharply reduce the military presence in the Persian Gulf region not to give the local regimes the opportunity to direct public discontent against the Americans.
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