The Challenge of Iraq

Tasneem Jamal

Briefing 02-4

Author
Ernie Regehr

In his energetic campaign for a war on Iraq, U.S. President George W. Bush has been right about one thing. The most dangerous and irresponsible response by the international community to flagrant and egregious violations of global norms and standards would be to sit back and do nothing. Iraq’s record on human rights and the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction most certainly does not permit a business-as-usual approach, but to conclude that action on Iraq is necessary and urgent is the easy part. Determining the best course of action is more difficult.

A number of governments and non-government organizaitons reject Washington’s call to war, pointed out that war is unlikely to leave a stable, compliant regime in its wake. The challenge of Iraq requires a comprehensive program of change that includes (1) a reinvigorated diplomacy aimed at concluding credible inspections; (2) a commitment to balanced disarmament in the Middle East region; (3) a meticulous commitment to lawful action; and (4) aggressive support for Iraqi civil society, the one credible agent of change.

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