SUPPORT FOR IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUPS WILL FAIL
BACKING IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUPS IS A FAILED ALTERNATIVE
Anthony H. Cordesman; a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, February 17, 2001, The New York Times SECTION: Section A; Page 17; HEADLINE: No Choice But To Strike //VT2002acsln
America can talk about backing Iraqi opposition groups outside the country, but most such groups are hopelessly weak and divided and have little support in Iraq. Nor do they have Saudi, Kuwaiti or Turkish support. The groups that do conduct some military operations inside Iraq are Iranian-backed Shiite groups whose goals scarcely coincide with American interests. Covert operations to help create or support an internal Iraqi opposition may be an option, but is one that will take years to put in place.
IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUPS CANNOT WORK TOGETHER EFFECTIVELY
Los Angeles Times February 28, 2001, SECTION: Metro; Part B; Page 8; HEADLINE: FIXING A BROKEN IRAQ POLICY //VT2002acsln
Some in Washington favor arming Iraqi opposition groups that would conduct guerrilla warfare against the regime. But the opposition groups have proven notoriously unable to work together, and in any case Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would not permit them to operate from their territories.
EMPOWERING IRAQI OPPOSITION GROUPS IS NOT THE ANSWER -- THEY ARE POOR REPLACEMENTS
RICHARD FOSTER Milwaukee Journal Sentinel February 25, 2001 SECTION: CROSSROADS; Pg. 01J HEADLINE: Past time for a new policy to handle Iraq //VT2002acsln
The Iraqi opposition groups distrust each other almost as much as they hate Hussein, which helps explain why the movement itself is weak and divided. Worse, these groups' commitment to democracy is strictly a marriage of convenience.
If, by some quirk of fate, they should get their act together and demonstrate sufficient discipline and strength to overthrow Husseins army, there is no guarantee or even likelihood that a more enlightened regime would emerge in Baghdad. In fact, a successor regime could be as despotic as Husseins and unlike his espouse and seek to export revolutionary Islamic fundamentalism.
EXPANDED PLANS TO FUND THE IRAQI OPPOSITION WILL FAIL
ROBIN WRIGHT, TIMES STAFF WRITER January 17, 2001, Los Angeles Times SECTION: Part A; Part 1; Page 1; HEADLINE: BUSH MAY FIND HIS FATHER'S FOE A FORMIDABLE ADVERSARY//VT2002acsln
A more complex issue is aid to the Iraqi opposition. In 1996, Hussein's troops ousted the Iraqi National Congress, or INC, along with the CIA station, from Kurdistan in northern Iraq. In 1998, a Republican-led Congress passed the Iraq Liberation Act, which pledged up to $ 97 million in arms and military training to the opposition.
So far, only $ 2 million has been spent on nonlethal training and $ 4 million for administration and propaganda. In one of its last acts, the Clinton administration has approved $ 12 million for the INC to covertly distribute humanitarian supplies in northern Iraq.
Over the years, foreign policy experts who are now part of the incoming Bush administration have voiced varying degrees of support for providing more military assistance to the INC. But a more ambitious operation would face many obstacles, experts warn.
The INC no longer has a base inside Iraq from which to launch major operations, and none of Iraq's neighbors--Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria or Iran--has offered an alternative. Covert operations have never seriously weakened Hussein's grip, while INC forces are no match for Baghdad's military machine. The INC is also deeply divided, with factional disputes producing open clashes between rival Iraqi Kurdish groups.