Rethinking U.S. Policy Towards Iraq: Keep Containment, Forget the Sanctions
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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In the wake of the Gulf War, struggling to deal with a still-recalcitrant and hostile Saddam, the Clinton administration fell back on a proven Cold War strategy--containment--as a means to protect American interests in the Persian Gulf. First outlined in a May 1993 speech by Martin Indyk, the Special Assistant to the President for Near East and South Asian Affairs, the policy of dual containment is designed to allow Washington and its allies to contain Iraq while countering Iran at the same time. Dual containment uses sustained economic, diplomatic, and military pressure to isolate both countries, cut them off from the world trading system, and, at least in the case of Iraq encourage a change of regime. In conjunction with an aggressive military presence and proactive diplomacy, a key feature of Iraqi containment has been relentless enforcement of economic sanctions. These sanctions--particularly the embargo on the sale of oil--are intended to force Iraq to comply with UN resolutions considered essential to long-term stability in the Middle East. To date, this containment policy has arguably been quite successful. While it has not gotten rid of Saddam, it has isolated and impoverished the Iraqis while further reducing their military capability.
- Government and Political Science
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics