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Interview with Kenneth Katzman - 2002-05-02


MR. BORGIDA:
Joining us now is Dr. Kenneth Katzman, of the Congressional Research Service, which advises Congress on policy issues. Dr. Katzman is an expert on the Gulf and the Middle East, and he is here to talk to us about Iraq.

Thank you, Dr. Katzman, for joining us.

Are you among those analysts who fear that Iraq may be trying to delay any U.S. military effort by engaging at the U.N. again?

DR. KATZMAN:
Yes, I think they have been somewhat rattled by the "axis of evil" designation, and it has had an effect and made them come back to the table with the United Nations to discuss new weapons inspections. But I think the administration is likely to set some sort of a time deadline, not to let these talks drag out ad infinitum.

MR. BORGIDA:
Dr. Katzman, you have just returned from a trip to Europe, where you talked with European leaders about many issues, but foremost among them, or certainly one of them, was the situation regarding Iraq. What was the reaction that you got there?

DR. KATZMAN:
In Europe, there was a tremendous sense that any action against Iraq would need to be justified -- either Iraq invading another country or very clear evidence that it was, let's say, developing a nuclear weapon. There was a lot of skittishness about this scenario of a U.S. big ground offensive to oust Saddam and to invade Iraq, a lot of nervousness about that scenario.

MR. BORGIDA:
Moving from Europe to the Middle East, though, if there is progress on the Israeli-Palestinian front, would you expect that the climate would be easier for the Bush administration if it were to -- if, big if -- if it were to undertake some military effort against Iraq?

DR. KATZMAN:
I still see a lot of problems with, again, the big ground offensive scenario. I think a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute could facilitate possibly lower-level options against Iraq, such as air strikes, possibly insertion of special forces into Iraq to help opposition groups, stepped up U.S. aid to Iraqi opposition groups. These less sort of aggressive scenarios might be sustainable.

MR. BORGIDA:
And how does the Bush administration, Dr. Katzman, deal with the very apparent opposition on the part of moderate Arab states?

DR. KATZMAN:
That's the really tough part. If you need, let's say, 200,000 ground forces, to be sure of toppling Saddam, and the states around Iraq won't let you put these ground forces there, then it's hard to have an offensive under those circumstances.

MR. BORGIDA:
Dr. Kenneth Katzman, thanks so much for your time. Dr. Kenneth Katzman, of the Congressional Research Service here in Washington, a policy expert on the Gulf and the Middle East. Thanks so much for joining us.

DR. KATZMAN:
Thank you.

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