The Iraq Effect

The Iraq Effect: The Middle East After the Iraq War

Frederic Wehrey
Dalia Dassa Kaye
Jessica Watkins
Jeffrey Martini
Robert A. Guffey
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    The Iraq Effect
    Book Description:

    Regardless of its outcome, the Iraq War has had a transformative effect on the Middle East. To equip U.S. policymakers to better manage the war's long-term consequences, the authors analyzed its effects on the regional balance of power, local perceptions of U.S. credibility, the domestic stability of neighboring states, and trends in terrorism after conducting extensive interviews in the region and drawing from an array of local media sources.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4806-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  4. Figures and Table
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Summary
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxv-xxvi)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and its aftermath have arguably been the most pivotal events in the Middle East region since the end of the Cold War.¹ For regional commentators, the war has elicited a range of comparisons to other historic and cataclysmic events resulting in foreign occupation, Arab defeat, and regional disarray: the creation of post–World War I colonial protectorates through the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the end of the pan-Arab project, and the 1979 Iranian revolution. Like such events, the ongoing conflict has had widespread effects on the regional security landscape. While...

  9. CHAPTER TWO An Altered Strategic Landscape: The Shifting Regional Balance of Power
    (pp. 17-48)

    This chapter considers how the Iraq conflict has affected regional diplomatic and military alignments, particularly local perceptions of rising Iranian power. How has the overall regional balance of power shifted, and to what extent has the Iraq War altered Iran’s regional influence? How are regional states responding to the new strategic environment? Is there a viable regional “balancer” to Iranian power? Can balance-of-power paradigms adequately account for the complex nature of regional alignments and postures in this region?

    Indeed, in the Middle East, internal state challenges and identity politics can weigh as heavily as external military threats in regional partnership...

  10. CHAPTER THREE New Challenges to American Influence: Chinese and Russian Roles in the Middle East
    (pp. 49-74)

    The decline in U.S. standing in the Middle East following the Iraq War created opportunities for other extraregional actors to expand their influence in regional affairs, notably China and Russia. Although the source of this decline cannot be reduced to a single event, the Iraq conflict contributed to doubts that the United States is no longer the guarantor of regional security it once was, to say nothing of its effect on perceptions of U.S. moral authority. This effect can be observed in Arab public opinion, in which U.S. favorability ratings sharply declined in the years following 2003. Although views of...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Domestic Reverberations of the War: Internal Challenges to Regime Stability
    (pp. 75-104)

    Aside from affecting the regional balance of power, the Iraq War has had significant reverberationsinsidea number of key states. These ripple effects can be roughly grouped into two categories: those that weaken the cohesion of the state and threaten regime stability and those that encourage increased acquiescence to or support for regimes.

    In the wake of escalating strife in Iraq since 2006, most analyses have focused on the former, predicting the spillover of the war into neighboring societies marked by long-standing sectarian tensions or the presence of marginalized ethnic groups. The underlying argument is that violence in Iraq...

  12. CHAPTER FIVE The Iraq War and the Future of Terrorism: Lessons Learned and New Strategic Trends
    (pp. 105-142)

    The effect on terrorism trends among Iraq’s neighbors and beyond is one of the most widely discussed, yet least understood, ripple effects of the conflict. In line with the recommendations of the NIE and theIraq Study Group Report(Baker et al., 2006),¹ prevailing views focus on Iraq’s role in directly causing an upsurge in global terrorism, amplifying terrorist successes without fully assessing their causes or highlighting vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Our findings suggest a more-mixed picture, the true colors of which are unlikely to clarify themselves for a number of years. This chapter examines some of the data substantiating claims...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion: Managing the Aftershocks of Iraq and Seizing Opportunities
    (pp. 143-158)

    This monograph has surveyed the implications of the Iraq conflict for the Middle East strategic landscape, showing how the full effects of the conflict are more expansive yet also more nuanced than is commonly assumed. Previous analyses of the “Iraq effect” have used a conventional balance-of-power lens that divides the new regional map too neatly between an ascendant Iran and an opposing bloc of Sunni Arab states. Others have overstated the potential for a contagion of sectarian conflict and increased terrorist incidents resulting from the conflict. We found that, while elements of these trends are certainly present, they do not...

  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 159-188)