Iraq's National Elections: Implications for Gulf Security

Iraq’s National Elections: Implications for Gulf Security

  • 4 January 2005

This lecture assesses the implications for the elections
should Sunni Arabs view the elections and their outcome as
illegitimate. If Sunni Arabs view the elections as illegitimate,
the insurgency would persist and perhaps even worsen.
The Bush administration may then be faced with a major
choice—does it deem the election legitimate and back
a Shia-led government that presumably may be aligned
with Iran? Will the Bush administration use the elections
as an opportunity to declare that Iraq now has an own
elected government that must stand on its own, and
decide to dramatically draw down the US presence in
Iraq? Alternatively, will the Bush administration decide to
continue combating the Sunni-led insurgency on behalf
of a new Shia Islamist government? Another option for
the administration would be to press the new Shia-led
government to open talks with Sunni officials representing
the insurgency, in an effort to forge a new power-sharing
arrangement that may be acceptable to the Sunnis. This
lecture also explored the political evolution of the postelection
period, for example, the likelihood that Iraq would
limp along with a weak government, continued insurgency
and the need for a robust presence of US forces, or whether
Iraq would ultimately and inevitably devolve into a classic
“failed state,” possibly characterized by an unending civil
war between various ethnicities and factions. Another
possibility discussed is whether or not a Saddam-like
“strongman” government could be reconstituted to battle
the insurgency, even if that government were to use highly
repressive methods to combat the violence.

Share

LECTURER

Tuesday 4 January 2005

-

Tuesday 4 January 2005

-