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'Iraqi War Inevitable,' say Arab Analysts, Officials - 2003-02-27

While U.S. officials say Iraq can avert war by complying with U.N. resolutions, Arab officials and analysts say they think there is virtually nothing Saddam Hussein can do to avoid a U.S.-led attack. Key officials in the Arab League and the Egyptian government say a U.S.-led war against Iraq has become "inevitable."

Speaking to VOA, on condition their names not be revealed, the officials said that war with Iraq "is a done deal."

One official says the only thing that would stop a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq is a coup against Saddam Hussein's regime, which he says is not likely. And, he says, unless the regime is replaced by a democratic government, U.S. and British forces might invade anyway.

The official says President Bush has "no choice" but to launch military action against Iraq if he is to maintain political credibility, both in the United States and abroad.

Arab officials say "numerous Arab states" have been negotiating with U.S. officials regarding a post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, and they say "too many wheels have been put into motion" to prevent war from happening.

Former Egyptian army general Mohamed Kadry Sa'id agrees. He is the head of the military unit at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo, and he says he can not imagine that war will not occur.

"The size and the level of mobilization, politically and also from a military point of view already, I think, passed the limit to go back again," he said. "So it is from the point of view of the United States, it cannot go back again to initial conditions, it should continue. I cannot imagine a scenario without war now. It is difficult imagining a scenario for peace. So all the situation now is at a level of going to war and it is very difficult and damaging for the United States not to continue."

The head of the al-Ahram Center, Abdel Moneim Sa'id, says several factors indicate war has become inevitable.

"The evidence is, we have now a kind of strategic deployment of forces," Abdel Moneim Sa'id said. "You have a political cost in case there is no war for President Bush. Number three, the revelation that Iraq is still not really following Security Council Resolution 1441. You have more resignation of the world community over these facts. So the factors are there."

The greatest factor suggesting war will take place, according to Dan Tschirgi who heads the political science department at American University in Cairo, is President Saddam Hussein's failure to abide by U.N. resolutions.

"Saddam has given no sign at all that he is really going to cooperate fully with the Security Council Resolution 1441 and Washington has been deadly serious in its determination that he and the arms have to go," Dan Tschirgi said. "Given all of that, barring some major, not just the elimination of Saddam Hussein, but of the regime, barring that I think that a war is inevitable. We are on a sort of track and it is playing itself out. Nobody seems to be able to get out. Everybody's kind of locked themselves into positions and I just do not see any other alternative at this point."

Another political science professor at American University in Cairo, Mona Moakrahm Ebeid, says even Saddam Hussein realizes "his time is running out."

"Saddam is, of course, opposing now any recommendation of disarming because he sees what is the point of disarming if, in any case, the United States has made up their mind to attack," she said. "So, he is putting up a provocative, confrontational, stance which he did not have a week ago."

U.S. officials have said war is not inevitable, indicating that if Baghdad agrees to declare its weapons of mass destruction and fully disarm, war can be averted.

But the Iraqi president insists he does not have any weapons of mass destruction. And while U.N. arms inspectors say they have found none in the past few months of inspections, they also say Iraq is not fully cooperating as required by the U.N. Security Council.