The World Today

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Washington's ultimate prize of changing the leadership of Iraq may be tantalisingly close. But the only policies which are coordinated and focused are those of its present President Saddam Hussein. The international community is fragmented and the Iraqi opposition in disarray. Indeed, the tensions between those ranged against Saddam are mounting in a manner perhaps more appropriate to a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta than a conflict which will arguably influence the political future of the Middle East. So what forces will be unleashed on the 'day after'? The first stage of regime change may be drawing near with the possible removal of Saddam Hussein. But who or what would replace him? As the US races headlong into confrontation, the options range from embracing the status quo through to promoting what would effectively be the partition of Iraq. Rarely has there been such fragmented thinking. Every interest group appears to have a different idea of what should be done. The US administration is internally divided and the simmering tension between the State Department and the Pentagon is hidden by the thinnest of veils. Middle East regional powers have their own distinctive agendas, all focusing on the preservation of Iraqi territorial integrity, but from differing geopolitical viewpoints. The international community is bitterly divided - just look at old and new Europe. Iraqi opposition opinions range from multi-party democracy to theocracy. The only views yet to be heard are those of Iraqis still living there. But once liberated they will also speak with many voices. Post-Saddam Iraq promises to provoke colourful and violent debate, if nothing else. Spoilt for choice

A plethora of statements has emerged from the US administration concerning a new Iraq. They range from the promotion of democracy to the possible replacement of Saddam with a US military governor. The Kurds demand a federal system guaranteeing their autonomy, yet are faced with a US-backed Turkey...
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