How analysts in the Arab world see the Iraq war

Christian Science Monitor
by Helena Cobban

03/29/07

Policymakers and strategic analysts in the Arab world have little confidence that [the] current US troop surge in Iraq will do much more than — at best — postpone a complete political-security breakdown in Iraq, which, they fear, could then spread across the Middle East. During my lengthy recent discussions with experts in Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, and with some well-connected Iraqis in Jordan, I heard a lot about how Iraq’s collapse has been affecting these Arab societies. The news from my Iraqi friends — leaders in quasi-governmental and nongovernmental organizations — was grim. These were people who (on human rights grounds) had supported the US invasion in 2003, and who then worked hard to build an effective, democratic order in their country. Now, I found them downhearted — but thoughtful, as they tried to pinpoint the worst of many US mistakes in Iraq. They told piercingly tragic stories about the violence and sectarianism that affects everyone there. I asked one of these friends what he thought would happen if US forces leave Iraq in the near future. He said there’s a possibility this would concentrate the minds of his countrymen on the need to find a workable reconciliation. ‘But if the Americans stay, we can expect the situation to remain bad,’ he said...

//www.csmonitor.com/2007/0329/p09s02-coop.html


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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