Iraq: January 11, 2003

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US diplomats are hard at work reassuring Iran and Turkey that they will not suffer any political or economic damage if the US invades Iraq. Both nations are worried about hordes of refugees crossing their borders, and Turkey is concerned about the loss of trade with Iraq (normally a major trading partner.) The US is offering Turkey billions (probably over $10 billion) in economic aid to help them out. So far, Turkey has not agreed to allow large numbers of US troops to operate from Turkish territory. The Turks are worried about the Kurds in northern Iraq moving south and seizing the oil wells in northern Iraq and declaring the establishment of a Kurdish state. To forestall this, there is one brigade of Turkish troops stationed in northern Iraq, and the implied threat that half a dozen combat divisions will enter the area if the Kurds get out of line. All of this puts America under tremendous pressure to win a quick, clean victory. This would avoid a lot of diplomatic, economic and political problems in the region. A quick victory would also silence most criticism of the invasion and eliminate a dangerous police state.

UN weapons inspectors are increasing their inspections, and are complaining about Iraq pressuring Iraqi weapons scientists to not talk with inspectors unless an Iraqi government "minder" is in the room. 

 

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