The current situation in Iraq is tenuous. Many different claims and counter claims have created a situation where the boundaries for right and wrong have become blurred. Iraq has been the center of conflict in the past, with the various gulf wars both with and against America. In my opinion, the reasons for war are varied and very diverse. To understand the situation and reasons for the most recent invasion of Iraq you must understand Iraq’s situation: politically and geographically. You must also understand the role America has taken globally and its relationship with the Middle East. I see the current situation as a combination of many different aspects and agendas.
The current leader of America is George Bush Jnr. If he is a good leader or not is hard to discern and I have no opinion as the media seems to have taken his career in a throat hold and the speculation that surrounds him is massive. I do believe he is a die hard Christian. Born into a rich Texan family, he grew up in as he states a "fast lifestyle" involved with drink, girls and parties. He claims he was "visited by God and given a mission", that it was God who saved him from "the drink" and since then he has been fiercely part of the Christian right. The Christian Right is aligned with Israel and is the most vocal group in America for the creation of a total Zionist state. Bush has stated his intention and relationship with this movement many times and famously 'The War on Terror' was in his words 'a crusade against Muslims'. This shows to me that Bush has made value judgments based on his religious alignment in how he deals with the political situation in Iraq and The War on Terror.
Israel holds a unique position in American Foreign Policy. George Bush is religiously aligned with the plight of Israel, his government is politically allied and in the past year Sharon and Bush have conversed and met in private a total of nine times – making him the most seen political leader by the US president. I would argue Israel is unofficially an extra US state – as American policies towards Israel are not listed on the Foreign Policy Association website http://www.fpa.org Israel does not have its own individual policy in the "Middle East" section yet it is mentioned in almost every policy for the region. Israel has a major effect on total US foreign policy, the policies are not always made with the benefit of the US on mind but also the benefit of Israel and so Israel has become a vital part of total American Foreign Policy.
The Muslim world has, since the creation of the Jewish homeland, launched attacks against Israel with the thought of invading and retaking the land although they have had very little success. These wars have included the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War and many others. The Muslims claim they are fighting oppression (a mandatory obligation of any Muslim and part of lesser Jihad), but I find that this is hard to believe. If the current condition of the Palestinian refugees is so bad, why does most of the Muslim world refuse them entry as refugees? I think this is because many of the Arab leaders are happy to continually use them as a terrorist weapon against Israel. By the definition of their religion they must only fight for restricted reasons and these include the fight against oppression. Nevertheless, if they accept the refugees suddenly these theocratical governments lack any justification for war against Isreal; they would no longer be fighting oppression and conducting lesser Jihad. To wage war in this situation would fundamentally go against the justifications for war according to Islam.
American politics are strongly supported fanatically by Jewish money and the Jewish lobby is a strong political force with high concentrations of swing voters. Bush has on many occasions moved to reinforce his links and ties with the Jewish voter and Jewish political groups:
It is clear that in some of these very close swing states — Florida, Pennsylvania, potentially Ohio, Nevada, New Jersey — that there is a significant enough percentage of the voting population that is Jewish that it could make a difference in a very close election.
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
America’s political climate at home has helped to created a unique situation where the policies of Israel and America are very closely linked and now form part of the stand off that exists between Israel and the US government against several Arab nations such as Egypt, Iraq, and Iran.
America’s foreign policy has felt an especially strong incentive to maintain close relations with those petroleum-rich states which have proven willing to cooperate with the U.S.: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Yet this cooperation has created much discord within these nations borders, as the population generally does not support America’s involvement in Middle East affairs.
Mark N. Katz, Ph.D
GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
These ties and obligations have continued to grow, supported from many different many different angles and viewpoints and I believe, America has moved into a position whether voluntarily or subconsciously so that they are now obliged to continue this support. The US has been in the past and still is today a supplier of weapons and aid. The US has provided Israel a qualitative military advantage
Benefits to Israel of U.S. Aid
Since 1949 (As of November 1, 1997)
Foreign Aid Grants and Loans
Other U.S. Aid (12.2% of Foreign Aid)
Interest to Israel from Advanced Payments
Total Benefits per Israeli
Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of U.S.
Aid to Israel
Interest Costs Borne by U.S.
Total Cost to U.S. Taxpayers
Total Taxpayer Cost per Israeli
These weapons include an infamous WMD – the atomic bomb for use as a last resort against invasion as well as, high tech rifles that effectively can be fired by a young boy accurately and modern tanks giving the Israeli’s a significant advantage against most the of the post soviet-era governments in the Middle East. In my opinion without these strong ties and obligations to the state of Israel, the invasion of Iraq would not have been so important and pressing.
The invasion of Iraq significantly changed the political climate of the Middle East. In my opinion several factors prompted the invasion of Iraq. September 11, a defining moment in US history has permanently changed the psyche of the current generations and future generations towards their foreign policy and terrorism. These attacks demanded a response and the American people wanted revenge and retaliation. The people of America were shocked – as their comfortable isolation from harm developed during WWI and WWII due to geographic isolation was shattered. War had been brought to American soil. This hugely changed the viewpoint on war; the people no longer could feign indifference and they were forced to deal with the remains and carnage from a war brought to their door. So when the American people were in "blood lust" mode, the Bush government snapped up the idea of America against Terrorism. Several high standing officials met with Bush, to blame 9/11 on Iraq, and in the State of the Union address (the most important speech by any president), Bush mentioned Terrorism, Al-Qaeda and Iraq in the first part of this speech; never linking them together directly yet to any incautious listeners they seemed woven together and interrelated. In my opinion the reasons they interwove these subjects were varied. Bush was floundering in his presidency, he lacked guidance and much public speculation flourished about his ability to govern at this time. Yet the war in Afghanistan gave Bush an objective and purpose, and he quickly developed a reputation as a wartime leader:
Had September 11 never happened, there is no telling what kind of presidency Bush would have had or what kind of deputy he would have needed. But in the national crisis, when all the bright lights came up on the White House stage, there was a chance to rewrite the rules, rewire the whole Executive Branch. Bush had the zeal to make the war on terrorism his mission
Bush needed to continue the wave; it gave him purpose and saved his career as it united the people of America behind him. Blaming it on Iraq gave him reason to continue, but the question of "why Iraq?" cannot be fully explained in my opinion, but Bush has set forth with a number of influencing factors.
Security of the oil reserves is prominent. America is the highest consumer of oil in the world, Iraq contains a large oil reserves and in current times the value of oil is increasing as it becomes more rare and slowly the world is beginning to run out of oil
Geologists and analysts have been saying for some time that estimates of global oil reserves may be dangerously exaggerated. If you take oil prices currently at around US$37 a barrel, the highest for nearly 15 years, US petrol prices at record levels and you add terrorist attacks and diminishing supplies, you have a recipe for inflation and economic slowdown. The question of reserves becomes a much more important factor.
JANES INFORMATION GROUP
Obviously America, which is such a high consumer of oil would be concerned with this, they stand in a dangerous situation if a high level producer such as Iraq would stop producing, because they have a huge potential to lose massive amounts of money as a result of their dependency on oil – the securing of Iraq’s oil fields would be a contributing factor in the invasion of Iraq.
But in my opinion the relationship between America and Israel plays the most important role, because I believe that the US set out to change the balance of power in the Middle East. When you take the geopolitical location of Israel in the Middle East, you realise that Israel is in a dangerous situation; Located on religious holy ground for three religions, Israel has potential and real enemies on all sides, in the form of the Arab nations.
Although the US may wish for Israel to be its foothold in the Middle East, the only reason Israel has not been crushed with the combined weight of the Muslim world is that unification of Arab armies has been ragtag in the past when compared to the rigid Israeli army, many times in history it would have only taken a well planned strike to potentially cripple and oust the Jewish people from Israel. To maintain its interests in the Middle East I believe America has moved to create a new political climate and change the balance of power. When you take into account the nations that have in the past provided support to America and vocal praise, along with the creation of a pro-America state in Iraq, Israel no longer looks as weak and threatened.
Iraq was a major player in Middle East politics and without it the total weight of the "Muslim World’s" army is diminished. Iraq has been conquered, and with the inclusion of a pro-US government, the Muslim World is separated and America has created a stronger foothold in the Middle East. Any mass military strikes on Israel would have to account for the possible counter strike through Iraq by America forces and vice versa. Now that Iraq has been brought to relative heel and is under virtually American control, the Bush government has began to move its sights onto Iran:
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says it is time for the United Nations to take punitive action against Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons program.
VOA NEWS (2nd September 04)
This seems very similar to statement at the start of the war against Iraq. If Iran were to be invaded in the same way as Iraq, America would have succeeded in creating a new political climate in the Middle East and a safer surroundings for Israel.
In my opinion, the underlying principles and influencing factors for the war on Iraq have been America’s strong support and obligations towards Israel. The invasion of Iraq has changed, and I believe the US will continue to change the political balance of power in the Middle East with the aim of strengthening Israel’s and America’s position in the region. Oil has also played a role for the invasion as the world prices and availability of oil affect the financial security of America especially as the world moves towards the day the resource runs out. I don't believe the war in Iraq was a "do gooder" act of integrity but rather it serves America to have stable control of the country because of its vital role economically and politically in the region.