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Iraq and beyond

01 December 2002

Bearing in mind that the Iraqi issue is and will remain high on the European and transatlantic agendas, the EU Institute for Security Studies has decided to examine it thoroughly through a series of publications and activities. The following texts are so far available.
The Institute commissioned Philip H. Gordon (The Brookings Institution, Washington DC) to write Occasional Paper No. 39. The paper, entitled ‘Iraq: the transatlantic debate’, analyses the case for and against war and the sources of US-European disagreement. Taking into account that the United States needs European allies in Iraq, particularly for post-Saddam state-building, Gordon proposes a ‘common US-European strategy’. The Americans and the Europeans, he writes, should join ‘to demand, under the threat of an invasion that would change the Baghdad regime, Iraq’s full compliance with UN Security Council resolutions calling for an end to its WMD programmes. If Iraq failed to comply with [Resolution 1441], the United States and Europe would together overthrow Saddam Hussein and undertake a major reconstruction and peacekeeping effort in Iraq’.
Occasional Paper No. 40, ‘Iraq: a European point of view’, by Martin Ortega, contends that, even if there is no common European position on Iraq, the Europeans share a sceptical attitude towards a military solution, for they perceive this might have unexpected negative consequences. The paper suggests that Europeans are sceptical because they think that the United States underestimates the difficulties of post-Saddam state-building in what is a delicate regional environment, and they fear that occupation of Iraq might lead to an escalation of terrorist activities in the West. After examining some scenarios for transatlantic cooperation on Iraq, it is concluded that members of the European Union should draw up a common policy towards the Middle East based on general CFSP principles, such as the peaceful resolution of disputes, regional rapprochement, a promotion of democracy, and lessening the degree of importance placed on oil resources.
Finally, a transatlantic ‘brainstorming’ on Iraq (held in Paris on 25 November 2002) brought together more than 40 officials and experts from both sides of the Atlantic. In the seminar, the options for tackling the Iraqi threat, from UNSC-sponsored inspections to military intervention, were considered. Special attention was paid to the difficulties of the aftermath of a war and occupation, and the implications for the transatlantic alliance and the Middle East region. While Americans favour the military option most Europeans – the seminar showed – would prefer to pursue coercive inspections in order to attain WMD disarmament.