Whither Iraq? Beyond Saddam, sanctions and occupation
The question of Iraq's future in the wake of 35 years of dictatorship and 13 years of sanctions is a major problem on the global agenda. This question is complicated by numerous factors, not the least of which are military occupation by the world's sole superpower, growing resistance and hostility to the presence of foreign troops and contractors, and the post-occupation influx of international terrorist groups into Iraq. To address the question of ‘whither Iraq', this paper represents an effort to identify guideposts to Iraq's future that are manifest in its present. These guideposts are identified as a function of the interplay between national, regional and international political dynamics. Iraq's future is situated in an interaction between history and contemporary political dynamics. The USA's policy of nation-building and state-building in Iraq are examined against two earlier models of political reconstruction there—British and Baathist. Using the guideposts revealed, four scenarios are posited based on different sets of assumptions about the state of state- and nation building.