Since the Gulf War, Iraq has attempted to win through confrontation, diplomacy, and bluster what it could not achieve on the battlefield. Defense analyst Anthony Cordesman suggests that this war of sanctions may be a struggle that Iraq has begun to win. Saddam Hussein's regime remains aggressive and ambitious, and its military capabilities cannot be judged solely by the current state of Iraq's armed forces. Most dangerous of all is Iraq's continuing effort to build an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction. Cordesman analyzes Iraqi strategic intentions and diplomatic opportunities, and assesses the options available to the international community to counter the Iraqi threat.
Iraq has effectively used diplomatic means to divide the United Nations and exploit Arab sympathies, while using its oil wealth as an incentive to win support for an easing of sanctions. The military potential of Iraq, and especially its development of weapons of mass destruction, must be considered as much for its intimidation value as for any actual utility in a possible war. A realistic assessment of Iraq's future capabilities, says Cordesman, must take into account these political and strategic factors as purely military considerations.
About the Author:
ANTHONY H. CORDESMAN is Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a military analyst for ABC News. A frequent commentator on National Public Radio, he is the author of numerous books on security issues and has served in a number of senior positions in the US government.