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Iraq: Consequences of a War

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Professor Paul Rogers
1 October 2002

The briefing paper, written by Professor Paul Rogers before the invasion, predicted that war with Iraq would:

  • Result in the deaths of many thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.
  • Lead to substantial regional instability, and increased support for al-Qaida.
  • Draw US troops into urban warfare in Baghdad.

Even on the ‘best-case’ outcome of regime destruction with minimal loss of life, Paul Rogers concluded that the effect of replacing Saddam Hussein with a client regime would be deeply counterproductive. He argued that a pro-American regime in Baghdad would be seen across the region as a puppet government through which the US seeks to control Iraq's oil, currently four times the size of total US oil reserves (including Alaska).

He predicted that this would be a ‘gift’ to al-Qaida and other paramilitary groups who have longed claimed that the United States is in the Gulf solely because of the region's oil reserves. Support for such groups would rise, with an increased risk of further paramilitary attacks on the US and other states involved in the war.

The report concluded that destroying the Iraqi regime by force was a highly dangerous venture and that alternative policies should be urgently developed.

Unfortunately, it proved to be correct.

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