Monday | July 08, 2002Why an Iraq invasion is not imminent
Bush is still making noise of taking out Saddam Hussein. However, there are no indications, other than a "wag the dog" inclination to get Harken out of the news, that an invasion of Iraq is that imminent.
Quite simply, if news reports are to be believed, the logistics of any such invasion are currently impossible. As envisioned in the attack plans leaked to the New York Times, the US would invade Iraq from three sides. The land invasion would come from Kuwait, with air strikes from Turkey and Qatar.
Qatar is apparently supportive of US plans. However, both Kuwait and Turkey have publicly come out against an Iraq invasion. And, further Arab support will be non-existent while the Palestinian/Israeli conflict continues. Interestingly enough, the plan leaked to the NY Times acknowledges one bit of real politik -- Saudi Arabia cannot be counted on to provide either staging areas for ground troops or any air bases.
Some commentators have suggested an Afghanistan-type campaign, coupling US air power and special forces with local insurgents. The Kurds in the north and Shi'tes in the south come to mind. However, the Shi'ites were abandoned by Bush I after the Gulf War, and are not likely to face annihilation again. The Kurds have zero interest in getting drawned into a war with Iraq.
And back at home, news reports earlier this year indicated that the joint chiefs of staff were leery of an Iraq invasion, reluctant to overextend US forces in an ill-conceived and unecessary campaign.
One of the hallmark's of Bush I's Kuwait liberation was the building of an international coalition to lend legitimacy to the conflict, as well as shoulder a great deal of the costs. Any such coalition is currently non-existent.