What policies can the United States implement in the mid-1990s to neutralize Iraq as a threat to the stability of the Middle East region? Some people have advocated the assassination of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Still others have suggested that the best approach is for the United States to strengthen its alliances with other countries in the Middle East region in an effort to isolate Iraq. A few brave hands have been raised to suggest that the best way to neutralize Iraq would be for the United States to negotiate a treaty of understanding and conduct with Iraq. A fourth solution would be for the United States to invade, conquer, and militarily occupy Iraq.
The suggestion that the United States should strengthen its alliances in the Middle East region as a means of isolating and neutralizing Iraq is a description of current Bush Administration policy toward Iraq. If that approach was working, this research would not be conducted.
The countries of the former Soviet Union has significant advantages over the western allies in the context of domestic energy reserves based on petroleum and natural gas sources. The western allies have significant advantages with respect to coal and nuclear sources (Goody, 1985, pp. 17-18). In running an economy and a military effort under wartime conditions, the petroleum and natural gas sources would be critical.
With respect to petroleum and natural gas reserves, the strategic non-aligned regions continue to be the Middle East, Africa, and Central America. Therefore, with respect to both production/consumption surpluses and reserves, the strategic importance attaches to the same regions.
Nevertheless, Iraqi actions and statements signaled that, if Kuwait did not reverse its position on crude oil production, Iraq would act against Kuwait. American policy statements warned Iraq against such action. American actions toward Iraq, however, appeared to indicate that no hostile American intervention would occur.