. . .
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you for directly responding to that. The second is a broader question and a maybe a bit of a wild card. But it struck me as an interesting point, a gentleman that's far more knowledgeable than I am on these issues in the region was assessing the War on Terrorism, and I think to date the Bush administration has done a marvelous job in the War on Terrorism. I think they've done so very focused, very intense, and going sequentially, focus on Afghanistan, next, removing and been involved in the Philippines where troops are coming out, Georgia, troops in Uzbekistan, building alliances up in Central Asia, I think this has been, to me, a very good, solid, sequential strategy.
My question is now that in the War on Terrorism, what is the appropriate next target to go at? If you just back up and ask yourself what's the best place to go at? And this person was asserting that if you look at it that way and you're trying to get your biggest, most problematic targets first, an analogy to dealing with cancer where you go and you dig the big nodes out before they metastasize, you go at Afghanistan, you've got to dig and pull this one out, that your next big country that's supporting and sponsoring terrorism, that's putting money into it, that's putting troops in into it, that's training, is Iran. That that's the country that's supporting and sponsoring more terrorism, supporting Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Hamas, shipping weapons, providing training to a number of countries in that region. Is that the more likely intense focus that one should go at on a sequential battle in the War on Terrorism?
MR. MCINERNEY: My feeling is, is that Iran will take care of itself once Iraq goes. Iraq has violated the U.N. accords, it's violated everything, it tempts to shoot down every day airplanes in the northern fly zone, the southern fly zone. If they hit one of them that's an act of war, isn't it? Will that be -- that doesn't seem to bother him because I think he flat says, they just don't have it. They just don't have the guts to come after me. And every day they fire at our planes and every day we put them in harm's way. Now, that's why I think Iraq should come before Iran. What you said about Iran is exactly correct. Although I think once Iraq goes, that Iran will self correct.
MR. HALPERIN: Senator, let me sum it up in two points. One, I think the only way to stop Iran from supporting those terrorist groups is to settle the Palestine-Israeli problem. I cannot imagine even a different regime in Iran which would not provide support to those groups as long as the Middle East problem is the way it is. So the solution to the Iranian terrorism, which as you say is focused on the Middle East and on Israel is to settle the Middle East problem. You can't settle it by regime change in Iran.
Second, I agree with you that we need to go through a sequence, but I think we've skipped the first step too fast. Afghanistan is not over. Afghanistan is still going to require for a very long time a very substantial American military presence. And I think before we look for another place to use American military force we better make sure that we don't leave behind in Afghanistan, which in two years from now is supporting terrorist groups again, not of the central government, but from pockets around the country.
MR. MCINERNEY: The only thing I would say is that Afghanistan is not developing weapons of mass destruction, and that's why the priority must shift. We clearly must stay and work the Afghanistan problem more, and I agree with you 100 percent.
MR. GALLUCCI: I, Senator, think Iran is a serious problem for us, but I don't think -- I hope it is not on our list of countries which we would plan to invade anytime soon in a preemptive act.
SEN. BROWNBACK: And I've not heard anybody suggest that.
MR. GALLUCCI: That's good. I think there's a question about how best to deal with Iran. I guess I would disagree with General McInerney, I don't think that addressing the Iraqi problem is necessarily going to help us with Iran. I think certainly if the Palestinian-Israeli issue were resolved, that would go a long way in taking away one of the issues that causes difficulty. Iran's drive to weapons of mass destruction independent of its support for terrorism I think is a much more deeper rooted desire in Iran, and I don't think it's connected particularly to this regime. I think it's traceable to the Shah and I think this is a strategic issue that we -- only when we get a dialogue with Iran we'll be able to address successfully.
Right now I think the key to dealing with Iran is dealing with Russia rather than Iran because we don't have much going on with Tehran. If you -- to go back to your first question about where do we go next, I would be putting energy working on the Mort Halperin theory that governments in the United States only have so much energy. I'd be putting energy on working on South Asia and Pakistan in particular. And I worry greatly about the stability and coherence of that country and its relationship with India over Kashmir.
SEN. BROWNBACK: Thank you. Thank you, gentlemen.
. . .
Dr. Kemp, welcome.
Director of Regional Strategic Programs,
The Nixon Center
MR. GEOFFREY KEMP: I'd like to add my appreciation, Mr. Chairman and your colleagues, for hosting this extremely important set of hearings. I've been asked, as you know, to do a rather strange thing -- talk about the likely response of Iran on the one hand and then Europe on the other to a war against Iraq and I'll try to do it in about nine minutes.
Iran has a long agenda of unresolved problems with Iraq including border disputes, the Kurdish question, religious quarrels, terrorists/liberation activity, Iraqi Shi'a refugees in Iran, and there are hundreds of thousand of them, and of course the continuing aftermath of the brutal Iran/Iraq war. Iran has a huge stake in the future of Iraq and therefore is going to be watching very, very carefully what we do and what happens. Iran remains extremely suspicious of Saddam Hussein and most Iranians hate his regime, I am certain as much as Fouad, my colleague, says the Iraqis do.
However, and this is the point I want to stress, at this point in time the Iranian regime is more worried about a U.S. war that calls for regime change. It regards this to be inimical to its own interests. From an Iranian perspective, the status quo, that is to say a contained Iraq, suits their interests much better. They acknowledge Iraq's potential to re-emerge as a regional threat. But the United States is seen as the greater threat.
The president's State of the Union speech designated Iran as part of the Axis of Evil. Iran's hard liners have taken this very seriously, including the frequent calls from the administration for regime change in the region. And they wonder at what point their Islamic republic, which is in trouble, will be a candidate for American action.
All Iranians, irrespective of whether they're hard liners, soft liners, moderates, conservatives, worry about a failed or messy U.S. operation that would leave the region in chaos, they would then be on the receiving end for possibly millions of new Iraqi Shi'a refugees and they worry about the enormous disruptions a messy war would have on world oil markets and their very fragile economy.
SEN. BIDEN: Doctor, can you tell us how large the Shi'a population is in Iraq?
MR. KEMP: It's about 60 percent of the population, and if you think --
SEN. BIDEN: About 14 million, 15?
MR. KEMP: About that, yes, I would think so.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you.
MR. KEMP: Now, Iranian fears which I have just articulated are one thing, but what in reality is the Iranian government likely to do in the event that's a war? Some analysts, and very good analysts I would add, believe that Iran has already embarked on a proactive policy to delay any U.S. attack on Iraq by stepping up support for terrorism against Israel and stirring up trouble in Afghanistan. The greater the violence in either area, the more difficult it will be for the president to take on Iraq.
On the other hand, there is some evidence that the Iranian-based Shi'a opposition groups, this is the one that Tony Cordesman was talking about this morning, the Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, may be open to support from the United States, particularly air power, to topple Saddam provided we don't send in ground forces. Now, that would suggest that the Iranian government is at least prepared to blink or wink in the event of a limited U.S. operation that does not involve huge ground troops.
In my judgment, Mr. Chairman, if the United States has serious support for military action, including U.N. backing, EU backing, some moderate Arabs on board, Turkey on board, and the Russians -- very important, I think the Russians are moving more in our favor -- Iran's likely to keep its head down and not take a strong position against the United States during the war.
However, if international support is weak, Iranian protests will be loud. Much will depend upon how this administration approaches Iran in diplomatic channels.
In my judgment, its current policies toward Iran suggest that the leaders of Iran are likely to be warned rather than wooed in the event that we decide to go off to Iraq. The problem here, I think, is that Iranians could react unpredictably to what they would regard as a belligerent U.S. posture. The regime, for instance, might decide to place Iranian military forces on high alert. Under these circumstances, there's a danger that there could be military incidents between United States and Iranian maritime forces in the Persian Gulf and that that could lead to miscalculation and escalation.
Now, in thinking about Iranian behavior the day after the war, much will depend upon the nature of the new regime in Baghdad. It's not inconceivable that Iran might be willing to work closely with the new regime and reach an agreement to resolve outstanding issues relating to the Iran/Iraq war, the POWs for instance, and this longstanding dispute they've had with Iraq over the demarcation of the Shatt al-Arab waterway. But if U.S. forces have to invade an occupied Baghdad, this will mean trouble for the hard liners, and they will clearly be eager to exploit regional resentments of this new Pax- Americana, of the kind that my two previous colleagues suggested might happen.
Assuming no radical shift in the political balance in Tehran, it could be expected and I think this is important -- and I'm glad that Bob Gallucci talked about this in the previous panel -- Iran will make greater efforts to develop a nuclear weapons capability. It's possible that a quick U.S. victory over Iraq could result in a new bout of pragmatism in Tehran leading to a deal with Washington. But this outcome is by no means certain. A perceived to be arrogant, victorious America could well find it disliked by Iranians who regard themselves as reformers and pro-west.
Iranians are very proud of their independence as well as their desire to have a more democratic system, and we should not be unaware of the fact that while they may hate -- a lot of them may hate their own regime, and like us at this point in time, that can change. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chairman, a number of geo-political realities are going to face any new regime in Baghdad and ultimately better relations between Iran and Iraq will be very, very important. The fact of the matter is Iran will be Iraq's neighbor long after U.S. troops have left.
Now, just two or three minutes on Europe -- I know that sounds strange but that's the way these things work out. Look, frankly, Mr. Chairman, direct European support for U.S. military action against Iraq is highly desirable but frankly not essential. However, cooperation with the United States would be essential if this war was protracted. We would conceivably have a major energy supply problem and working with the Europeans to resolve that is essential. And the European support, in my judgment, is going to be essential to make sure that the post-Saddam Iraq and the whole Middle East remains relatively stable.
Officially, cooperation between United States and Europe on the Middle East is relatively close, that is to say cooperation between the governments. The EU as you know, now has a common policy on the Middle East and this makes coordination with the Washington much easier than in the past. But the EU itself is not a state. As a consequence, its Middle East policy inevitably reflects compromise on contentious issues.
I think it's fair to say the key European governments all share the U.S. view that Saddam Hussein is a menace, that he's determined to reconstitute his WMD and that if he obtains nuclear weapons, he will flaunt them and attempt to change the balance of power in the Middle East. However, regime change, a phrase now frequently used by the administration in the context of the war against terrorism, is quite another matter for most European governments and parliaments.
Indeed, without the cloak of the U.N. legitimacy, European governments will find it difficult to carry public opinion. Though this does not mean they will not cooperate with us if in the last resort the United States decides that war is the only alternative. Europe obviously worries about the cost of the war as we do, particularly one that does not go well. The Europeans tend to have a more gloomy prognosis as to the region's susceptibility to a quick fix American military option that many seem to have in this administration. They ask how long the United States will have to occupy Iraq for? How long and what size force? When pressed, European officials are not prepared to say that they would contribute to a post-Saddam Iraqi occupation, unlike by the way the situation in Afghanistan when they volunteered more military forces than the U.S. thought necessary.
And while we're on the subject of Afghanistan, the Europeans do worry that the United States has no quote, "staying power". Therefore, absent a casus belli, a linkage between Iraq and Al-Qaeda or deliberate outright flaunting of WMD by Saddam, most European governments, I believe, would argue it would be unwise to take on Iraq while Afghanistan and also the Pakistani regimes remain precarious.
So I would just conclude on these two points, Mr. Chairman. Iran will not be able to prevent a U.S. attack on Iraq. It will likely remain neutral during the war while intensifying its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Its greatest leverage will be during the post-war period. Its population and geography assures its interests must be taken into account, irrespective of who is running Tehran.
And on Europe, in the last resort, the European governments will support the United States if it uses force. I doubt very much whether this will involve troop contributions, except in the case of the Blair government which, as I understand, it shares all our concerns about Iraq except the issue of regime change as an objective.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank you very much, Doctor.
. . .
SEN. BIDEN: Dr. Kemp, if you were in your old job down at the White House, what advice would you give the president about what signals he should send to the Iranians now, if any, about any move against Iraq on our part?
MR. KEMP: Well, I'm not quite sure what the current policy towards Iran is, quite frankly, Mr. Chairman. As I understand it, in the period leading up to the war against the Taliban there were meetings with Iranians, multilateral meetings with the Iranians in the Six by Two Forum and the Iranians were relatively cooperative during the war against the Taliban and then in the immediate aftermath of the war, there were State Department people who were in Bonn, acknowledged that the Iranians were useful in putting together the Karzai government, interim government. Then things of course went down hill, very badly, climaxing with the Karine A incident, the ship that was caught moving arms to the Palestinians and the president's State of the Union speech. So now the problem is we do not have the sort of relationship with the Iranians we had last fall.
My own personal view is that if we contemplate a major war against Iraq we at least have to make an effort to resume some dialogue with the Iranian government however unpleasant its activities are in other theatres.
I happen to believe that what the Iranians are doing in the occupied territories, their support for Hamas and Hezbollah is linked to their fear that we are going to go after Saddam Hussein and that they have got to know that if we are truly determined to get rid of him, they're going to have to make a calculus that they can either cooperate with us in a passive way during that campaign or they can be against us and if they're against us then they're likely to be very much in our cross-fires. So my advice, if I had my old job and assuming I survived more than a week down there in this climate, I would essentially suggest we rethink our Iranian strategy as we get closer towards a war with Iraq.
. . .
SEN. HAGEL: Mr. Chairman, thank you, and thank you to our panel this afternoon after a long wait. We appreciate you hanging in there with us. I apologize for missing some of the opening statements. So I may ask a question here that some of you developed in some detail.
Dr. Kemp, I heard it said recently on the Iranian dynamic, if we should invade Iraq, or liberate Iraq, however way we will phrase it, that the two options for Iran would be a negative neutrality or a positive neutrality.
. . .
MR. KEMP: Well, the one clear linkage, it seems to me, between Iraq and the peace process, the Arab-Israel conflict, whatever you want to call it, is Saddam Hussein. What did Saddam Hussein do in January 1991? He launched scuds against Israel with the sole purpose of bringing Israel into a war that would then disrupt the alliance that George Bush senior had put together. It didn't work because the scuds weren't effective and the Israelis showed remarkable constraint.
Saddam more recently has, of course, been upping the ante by paying these bounties to the families of suicide bombers in the Palestinian territory.
The scenarios that you've been hearing about this morning and read about every day in the paper include the possibility that in extremis Saddam Hussein will launch his WMD directly or indirectly against Israel in order to bring the linkage into effect.
And perhaps the most disturbing possibility of all, which there is now quite some speculation about, is that Saddam Hussein in extremis would do whatever he could to destabilize the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan. And it's interesting that everybody on this panel who has slightly different views, we all seem to agree that, you know, the Saudis will ride it out, the Egyptians will ride it out, the Qataris will, but we're all a little worried about the king.
In other words, we talk a lot about regime change, but actually what we have to worry about is regime survival, particularly the survival of King Abdullah, because if anything happened to Jordan under his rule, promoted by the Iraqis, and they can be very, very unpleasant, this is an immediate threat to Israel, and Israel will respond. That's the linkage that worries me.
SEN. HAGEL: Thank you.
SEN. BIDEN: Sorry. Senator Sarbanes.
SEN. PAUL S. SARBANES (D-MD): Mr. Chairman, I regret very much that my schedule was such that I've not been able to be here with you through the day, but I want to commend you for scheduling these hearings at a very busy period, just before the recess. I think it's extremely important that you've undertaken this effort. And we're having another full day tomorrow, as I understand it.
SEN. BIDEN: That's correct.
SEN. SARBANES: And that you're also contemplating resuming the hearing process when we come back in September. I think it's imperative that we've launched on this enterprise. Every day we got a new report in the national press about U.S. policy toward Iraq and its implications. Sunday we had a headline in the Washington Post, quote, "Some top military brass favor status quo in Iraq: containment seen less risky than attack."
Another in the New York Times just yesterday, "Profound effect on economy seen in a war on Iraq. U.S. may bear most costs. Experts weigh likelihood of an oil price shock and other disruptions of markets." And then even today, the Times had its lead story, "Air power alone can't defeat Iraq, Rumsfeld asserts. Secretary sidesteps question of sending in U.S. ground forces to oust Hussein." So we -- you know, which then of course draws you into the debate, can you do it with air power alone or can you not do it with air power alone, et cetera?
Now, it seems to me imperative that there be a broader examination of all of these questions and, you know, this current brutal regime in Iraq raises major and complex questions for U.S. policy. And how they're answered will have consequences for the region, for our own country, and more broadly around the world for a long time to come. And obviously we need to embark on the process you've launched sooner, I think, rather than later. We have to have well-considered, well-informed policies and we have to take into account the full measure of potential benefits and risks and they have to be fully explicable to our people.
In that regard, I was very much taken by the op-ed piece, as you and Senator Lugar have in today's New York Times, and I'm very strongly supportive of the approach contained therein, including your statement. Without prejudging any particular course of action, we hope to start a national discussion of some critical questions. I think that's extremely important. And I therefore again commend you for undertaking this careful examination of the situation.
You and Senator Lugar set out there some questions which I think have formed the framework for these hearings. What threat does Iraq pose to our security, how immediate is the danger, what are the possible responses to the Iraqi threat? Third, you know, what are our responsibilities if Saddam is removed? Fourthly, what would it take to rebuild Iran economically and politically? And I know you're trying to do these panels, I think, focused on particular aspects of that question, but if I could go outside of that --
SEN. BIDEN: Well, they -- believe me, these guys can go anywhere you want them to go.
SEN. SARBANES: Well, I know. Well, let me then just close these observations.
SEN. BIDEN: I mean they're capable of dealing with any subject, I didn't mean to imply anything else.
SEN. SARBANES: Let me close by putting a question to them then.
SEN. BIDEN: No, take your time. Take your time.
SEN. SARBANES: What would we have to undertake afterwards with respect to Iraq? I mean, how long are we talking about being present, and what kind of resources would we have to commit. And as you answer that question, could you put it in the context of our staying power, what we have reflected on that question in Afghanistan?
You know, we went into Afghanistan and we did an important military operation with considerable success, but we're left with problems afterwards. Now, how adequately are we addressing that, and how commensurate has our commitment been? And as you look at the Afghanistan situation, what questions may that raise about the Iraqi situation post Saddam Hussein? That's the question I'd like to leave with this panel.
SEN. BIDEN: Very good question, I'm anxious to hear their answers.
MR. KEMP: Can I start?
SEN. BIDEN: In any order you'd like.
MR. KEMP: As I understand it, the U.S. Army began preparations for the occupation of Germany in 1942. Currency was being printed for the occupation. I think we've got a long way to go in thinking about this problem of occupying Iraq. I gather tomorrow morning you're going to have some very, very good people who have looked at this in great detail, so I wouldn't want to pre-empt anything they say. But if you're talking about the occupation of Iraq, you're talking about tens of thousands of U.S. troops for a long period of time. Kabul, you know, is the only area that we're really protecting in Afghanistan, and that is a relatively small city. It is not Baghdad, it is not a city of six million.
So I think the idea that we can just win the war and go away would be extraordinarily irresponsible. The idea that there will be a government in waiting ready to take over the administrative tasks of Iraq, I think, is utter wishful thinking.
And furthermore, there may be people cheering us on, and I'm certain there will be, but there's also going to be a lot of recrimination and a lot of violent acts that will be committed in revenge. Some people have said that the southern Baghdad suburbs, predominantly Shi'a who have been suppressed for years and years by this regime, are not going to kiss and make up the day after. This is going to be worse than Paris in 1944 when, as you know, more people were killed in the three weeks after the liberation than had been for many, many years before.
So I think it is a terribly serious problem and I am delighted that you are going to have a special panel on this because it is the least thought through element of this extremely polemical debate that we see in the press, that really I think has been so over simplified and so underestimated the complexity to the problems. I think we're just beginning to get into this and let's start here.
SEN. BIDEN: With the permission of my colleague, if I can add a complicating factor to the extent that you spoke about Iran. The degree to which we settle the matter and keep peace in Baghdad and other places by being in place and occupy it, does not that raise the ante in Tehran that we in fact are seeking a permanent basing and a permanent station there?
MR. KEMP: Yes, it does. And some people of course would argue that's all to the good because that would put the fear of God into the bad mullahs and the good mullahs will take over. But I'm not quite so confident that that's what will happen.
SEN. BIDEN: Please, Doctor, if you'd follow through with the question.
MR. AJAMI: Well, first of all, let me just take this opportunity to thank Senator Sarbanes because he's been looking after my pension and for his great -- (laughter) -- for his great work on corporate reform, we really commend you. You're a great figure and I think that if you can handle corporate reform, you can handle Iraq very easily.
Now, I agree with everything that Geoff Kemp said, and I teach a class with Geoff Kemp and I've been doing it for many years and this is probably one of our first agreements in a long time. I think we are going to be there in Iraq but I don't think we should be frightened necessarily or we should think that it will be drawn out, it will be extensive and that we are going to take the plunge into imperialism in a very deep way. There are several things -- I'm just echoing some of what Geoff said.
We want to know about Iraq. This is a country that has the second largest reserves of oil after Saudi Arabia. It has enormous social capital. Like Afghanistan, it has an educated and technically competent middle class. So making a stand there will not necessarily be bad for us. I think Geoff is right. There are these grievances and historical accounts to be settled in Iraq. They will be things that we should be good at. There will be truth and justice commissions. There will be war criminals. There will be people we can't protect and maybe even we shouldn't protect.
So it won't be easy. But I think we operated on the assumption -- I think, again, the chairman has given us good marching orders and I think Senator Lugar was very clear on that as well -- we have to take this and say, "Is this worth doing? Is this worth doing?" And that's what everyone of us really has to make -- that's the decision that has to be made, whether it's in Wisconsin or Maryland or Connecticut or anywhere. You have to really argue the case and sustain the case, that it's really worth it, that this is a very volatile part of the world. It is the oil supply of the world. It is a very notoriously bad man and that even though we are a reluctant umpire. You know we are reluctant about imperial burdens. We don't undertake imperial burden willingly and that's good.
When sometimes people say that they heard from the joint chiefs of staff and they are against this military intervention or that military intervention, one is reassured that we don't have a military ready and eager to go everywhere and pull the trigger. So it's really all that what that national discussion is all about. That's what your hearing's and that's what the debate is all about.
SEN. BIDEN: Are you talking about the same numbers Dr. Kemp is? You're talking about tens of thousands and if you are, we are obviously talking about billions of dollars. Tens of thousands troops translate over in comparatively short periods of time into billions of dollars.
MR. KEMP: Right. But as my colleague Fouad said, there are ways for the Iraqi government to pay for those troops. They have a lot of oil.
SEN. SARBANES: What period of time do you envisage?
MR. KEMP: I would think years. I mean --
SEN. SARBANES: Five years? Ten years?
MR. KEMP: Minimum of five years, I would think.
MR. TELHAMI: Senator, if I -- first of all, also let me thank you for looking after my interests too. I am one of your constituents in Maryland.
SEN. SARBANES: Well, you guys didn't thank us for anything.
MR. TELHAMI: Well, you've got a problem. You've got a disadvantage. So I'm one of your constituents.
SEN. SARBANES: But he pays attention to the chairman of the Banking Committee, you know. I mean --
MR. TELHAMI: No, banking is not my --
SEN. SARBANES: I'm joking. It's a bad joke, sir.
MR. TELHAMI: Maryland is in this case. I do worry about the consequences. I think it's a major issue to be concerned about. I don't think that any of us knows how the public is going to react. There's no question that the regime is despised, that we have no doubt about. But we should have no illusion that that is going to translate into love for America. We should have no illusion about that. In some instances it may, in others it may not.
We should also be very careful not to miscalculate in the early days, when people do face liberation from repression where they do celebrate their liberation. We may translate that as a welcoming mat for us and that could become a real problem. The Israelis made that mistake in South Lebanon when they thought early on that the fact that they undermine the PLO influence in South Lebanon and translated into a welcoming mat. And clearly that turned out some of the same people who were happy to see the PLO go were then among the fiercest enemies. So I don't think, first of all, we know exactly how the public is going to react and clearly we could find ourselves in a situation where we overstay our welcome.
Second, I think it is clear that every one in the region is going to have a stake in what happens in Iraq and those are people who live right next door and have resources and contacts far better than we do. Be it the Turks, as Mark pointed out, if we don't coordinate with them, they can make our lives miserable. And that is true about the Iranians and is certainly true about others in the region. And so it is clear that they have resources, they have the interest and obviously the abilities and therefore, depending on whether we coordinate, we cooperate, whether it works with the rest of the region, in terms of coincidence of interest, it matters a lot.
And finally, I want to say that I do think that no matter what happens even if we have a relatively successful outcome in Iraq, which we all pray for, and even if -- and I agree by the way with Fouad about Iraq's potential -- I mean, clearly Iraq has tremendous potential. It is a country with an infrastructure, industrial history, a secularized country, oil resources. Clearly -- actually in 1980, when it started the war with Iran, it stood on the verge of greatness in the region and unfortunately, it has been taken on a disastrous route that lost it for two decades and killed hundreds of thousands of its own people. So it has suffered a lot but it certainly has potential.
At the same time, even if the Iraqi people have a happy outcome, I believe that most people in the region will see this as American imperialism. Most people in the region will see it as American imperialism and whether we can live with that is a question. I mean it may be true that the sentiment is we're powerful, we can do it. They're going to have to do what we want regardless. I think most will undoubtedly. Think if you apply that same strategy and principle to your own lives and your social relations or domestic relations or relations with other people or business relations, how long that can serve you, if you take that attitude as a strategy of winning, where you don't take people's wishes in consideration and calculations into account, where you do things unilaterally because you're powerful enough to think that they're just going to have to see it your way and they will? And how much resentment builds up awaiting the right moment? And unfortunately, there will be a right moment.
I'm not so optimistic about the Musharraf model in Pakistan, as some people have suggested earlier. I think -- I applaud Mr. Musharraf for taking the position he took. It was tough to do, to stand out and tell people they have a choice. I agree with that, that was the right thing for him to do. I am not sure he will succeed. I am less confident he will prevail. And I am worried about what is going to happen five years down the road in Pakistan in relation to us and in relation to militancy pertaining to us, and I am worried about Afghanistan.
And so, looking at that, I say to myself, do I want more of that in the region? Or should I follow a different route that affects the motivation of people, that affects the interests of people, that makes sure that my policy coincides with the interests of others, not goes against them because they have to follow my lead? And that is -- they're a different approach, different philosophical approach. And I think it -- I am less certain about a unilateralist approach that relies on brute force as a way of getting through in the Middle East.
MR. PARRIS: My colleagues have made excellent points, and I'm not going to try to belabor them by repeating them, other than to underscore what Jeff said, which is that this is the part of the problem that deserves the most attention. He will be doing that in detail tomorrow. So much of it is scenario dependent. And I think you'll find there's an enormous difference of opinion as to what we can expect when and if we finally get in there. But I would like to make one point, and to play off something that Mort Halperin said.
SEN. BIDEN: Thank him for your pension.
MR. PARRIS: No, I'm a Virginia resident.
SEN. BIDEN: Okay, good.
MR. PARRIS: It's to play off something that Mort Halperin said in the previous panel, which is that to be sure that there will be a democratic regime in Iraq over the long term we'll have to stay there for 20 years. I think that -- and, you, senator, asked the panel whether there was anybody who disagreed with that statement. It's a profound question. And basically nobody was prepared to take it on.
I think it merits parsing. Because what Mort said was to ensure a democratic regime over the long term, and that suggests that, you know, there's one quality of democracy. If our objective is to create the Federal Republic of Germany in Iraq, we may very well have to stay there as long as we did in Germany. But there are shades of democracy around the world, many of which represent close friendships and allies of the United States, and would be remarkable improvements over the status quo in Iraq. And I think it would be presumptuous of us to sit here and suggest that, you know, unless they meet the standard that we do in this country we shouldn't -- the game is not worth the candle.
It seems to me that if you take a different approach, if you accept the proposition that there may be a different standard than ours, you may take less time, it may be less resource intensive, some of the downsides that have been discussed here might be less acute.
SEN. BIDEN: Senator Chafee.
SEN. CHAFEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, very much.
Mr. Kemp, you mentioned that there's a worst case and a best case scenario. And your worst case scenario, I wonder whether there's something even worse than what you might have suggested.
MR. KEMP: Probably.
SEN. CHAFEE: I think Dr. Telhami was kind of going down that road in talking about the power of the public. And if there's public resentment, then comes repression, and it's a spiral that leads to something that did happen in 1979 in Iran, the shah was topped so quickly that we didn't even get our embassy people out and they took over our embassy and kept them hostage. It can happen so fast.
Is it possible that this conflagration, this spontaneous combustion, can take place where these regimes are toppled in the neighboring countries, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan of course you've mentioned. And even those that aren't neighbors, I mean, Turkey is a neighbor. But even those that aren't neighbors, Egypt, and we've talked about Pakistan a little bit. Is that possible, just a spontaneous combustion of anti-Americanism, and a toppling of regimes, which ultimately, if you want to talk about a worst case scenario, is the entire oil, the majority of the oil production for the world.
MR. KEMP: Well, there are a lot of worst case scenarios that, even beyond that, obviously, even in the conduct of the war. I mean, if we're right, that -- if some of the panelists that you've heard before were right about the fact that there is uncertainty about the degree to which Iraq may even have nuclear weapons, and if we're all right about the ruthlessness of the leader if he knows he's going to go down the drain in an American attack, if he knows that this is going to be a war against him, it's certainly the case that he's going to use whatever is at his disposal. Because this is not going to be a deterrence issue any more. He knows he's going down, and he's going to use everything at his disposal.
I have no doubt that in a war, in a full war, where our aim is to bring down the government, and obviously that's going to be the aim of the war, that he will use everything at his disposal. I don't know what that is. But I have no doubt, and one can paint scenarios as to what these are, maybe he doesn't have much. But the issue is if we think that there is uncertainty, there is even a -- there are scenarios of this sort, the scenarios of pre-emption, of attacks even prior to the American attacks, if war is imminent, that could be done.
But the public uprising and the revolution, it's always possible. And I think we have to remind ourselves that at the time of the overthrow of the Shah many of our own government officials, as well as the academics, argued that the Shah is very stable. In fact, that same year a famous professor at the University of California at Berkeley, an Iran expert, wrote a book making the argument that Iran was one of the most stable countries in the world. And then we had happen what we witnessed.
I don't think that that is a highly likely scenario. In part, because I do think that revolutions are scarce in history. They just don't happen very often. States have learned a lot, unfortunately mostly through repressive mechanisms. But you can't rule it out. You can't rule it out. And I think neither -- none of these governments are ruling it out as a potential in their dealings with the contingencies that they have to deal with. And that is why I'm even more worried about the after, what happens within these countries, which is what is likely to be the case. Their worry about such a scenario is going to lead to a lot more repression than we have seen. And if our aim in part is to popularize democracy, we should have no illusions.
And today in the trade-offs in relation to Pakistan when we ask what do we want more, is it to see less repression of Pakistan or cooperation in the war on terrorism, because we have a priority of national security pertaining to Afghanistan, it is clear what our answer is. And it is likely to be the case when our priority will be to maintain stability in Iraq, to worry about what happens in Iraq, that we're going to put a lot of other priorities on the sideline to get the maximal cooperation to be able to succeed, at least in the intermediate period up to five years or whatever it takes, to do so. So we should go in with open eyes about what actually is likely to happen in the region in terms of dynamics, if we go that route.
MR. AJAMI: Senator Chafee, just one -- I mean, on the issue of -- an issue has arisen that has kind of great deference to the street. I'm reminded of the slogan of Kemalism. The Kemalist project in Turkey, the principle of it was 'for the people, despite the people'. So sometimes you just do things for the people, despite the people, you modernize them. You tell them the truth, you tell them about the world.
So now to the issue of whether these -- none of the governments in this neighborhood that we're talking about, none of them, I repeat, none, has a genuine modernizing project today. So they offer these the people, if you will, this kind of road rage of the anti- Americanism, the steady diet of the anti-Zionism, and they just get away with it.
Now, there's a good answer to the question that Senator Chafee asked about whether these regimes could survive, could there be a revolution. And I think the Muslims have a great, great answer to that. They always would say about something that's completely unfathomable, Allah e'halum (ph) "Only God knows." We don't know. We don't know. We do know the record.
Here is the record. Al Saud have been around now since the middle years of the 18th century.
You'll always get the Saudis to tell you about that. The Sabah in Kuwait have been around for approximately the same time. The Hashemites in Jordan in a very, very truncated volatile realm have been around since 1921. And even Gaddafi has been around since 1969. And the Egyptian revolution of Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak has been in the saddle for now half a century, and there is no evidence that anyone could overthrow these governments. They know. That's the one thing they know, is how to stay in power.
The combined GDP, we are now told, of the Arab world is $60 billion less than Spain. Less than Spain. Twenty-two Arab governments. So they don't know how to develop their populations. We know they don't like to give them modernity. But they know how to stay in power. We should trust that. We should -- you know, that's what the game is all about.
MR. KEMP: Just on this, Senator Chafee, I mean, how do we -- an even more worse case. Look, I think the one bit of good news is that in serious Middle East crises 1967, 1973, our worst case was a U.S.- Soviet confrontation. We were worried about a Soviet nuclear threat, in both the '67 war -- that's gone.
So, to me, the worst case would be a nuclear war in the Middle East, which is possible under certain circumstances. That I think would have a devastating impact on the oil markets. And then I think these regimes that up to now have been extraordinarily resilient would be facing a day of reckoning, because what we have not really discussed because it wasn't their mission. But there is a demographic bulge moving through this region of young people who cannot be employed because they do not have jobs. It's getting worse by the year.
The Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, are entering into this window of where they have to create more jobs a year than they possibly have the resources to. That's where I think you could get an explosion. I don't think it will be a single explosion.
It won't be like 1848 in Europe and all the rotten monarchies collapsed, but sooner or later some of these regimes have to crack. Whether it's Iran first or Egypt, I don't know, but they cannot keep going at this rate of depression.
SEN. BIDEN: Gentlemen, I just have -- I hate to do this to you, just a couple more quick questions. Do you have another question?
SEN. CHAFEE: No, thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank your panel.
SEN. BIDEN: The premise that the question -- the question is, if Saddam is taken down, how long will we have to stay? The way you answered was premised upon the notion that we had no cooperation from anywhere else in the world, we didn't have the Europeans in the game, no one else got in the deal here. Can you give me your best educated guess as quickly as you can as to whether or not, given that circumstances, that is Saddam has been removed, American forces are in the region in large numbers, where it may be part of the calculus of our European friends in the EU that they be part of the process?
And would it make a difference if they -- it obviously makes an economic difference to us, but would it make a difference if they were part of the process in terms of the reaction in Iran, the reaction in Turkey, the reaction in other parts of the world -- of that part of the world? As quickly as you can. It's an awful long -- I mean profound question, I'm sure.
MR. KEMP: It would make a very important difference if part of the occupation force also includes bringing in UNMOVIC, the U.N. inspectors that you discussed this morning. That will also give more legitimacy to it. The more this is seen as an international operation with cooperation from the U.N. and the Europeans, the less the chance that we will be pigeonholed as merely imperialists. But we've got a lot of work to do.
SEN. BIDEN: Anyone disagree with that?
MR. AJAMI: No, I agree with Geoff.
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