View Full Version : Iraq and the Arab States on Its Borders

12-05-2006, 02:31 PM
Here are a couple of recent papers:

USIP, Jordan and Iraq: Between Cooperation and Crisis (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr178.pdf)

• Jordan wants a strong, stable, moderate, and unified Iraq. Having wrestled with the dilemmas of an assertive Iraq for many years, Jordan—like Iraq’s other neighbors—now faces a myriad of challenges presented by a weak Iraq. The kingdom, for years a linchpin in the U.S. strategy to promote peace and stability in the region, is now less secure in the wake of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Jordanian leaders worry that Iraq is becoming a haven for terrorist groups, a fear dramatically heightened by the November 2005 suicide bombings in Amman. Jordan also has an interest in the development of an Iraq that does not inspire radical Islamist politics in Jordan. Moreover, the kingdom is anxious about growing Iranian involvement in Iraqi politics, and—more broadly—increasing Iranian and Shiite influence in the region.

• Despite periodic crises of confidence and lingering Iraqi resentment over Jordan’s close ties with Saddam Hussein, the two countries have managed to forge deep ties; in fact, Jordan has taken the lead among Arab states. In the face of repeated attacks and threats, Jordan has maintained a strong diplomatic presence in Baghdad. The kingdom has also played a positive, if modest, role in stabilization and reconstruction efforts.

• The economic impact of the Iraq crisis in Jordan has been mixed. Jordan has benefited greatly from serving as a “gateway” to Iraq for governments, aid workers, contractors, and businesspeople; its real estate and banking sectors are booming, and it stands to reap more benefits from increased trade and transport should the situation in Iraq improve. However, with the fall of Saddam Hussein, Jordan lost the sizable oil subsidies and customary shipments it received from Iraq. One of Jordan’s principal economic interests in the new Iraq is securing future energy assistance.

• Unlike many of Iraq’s other neighbors, Jordan can claim only modest influence over developments in Iraq. The kingdom does have notable intelligence capabilities vis-à-vis Iraq, and it reportedly helped the United States track down and kill Al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Although some Jordanians highlight cross-border tribal and family connections with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, they pale in comparison to those of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Jordan’s most significant means of influence is its hosting of a large and ever-changing Iraqi expatriate community, composed mostly, but not solely, of Sunni Arabs.

• Jordan’s relationship with the United States remains strong. Viewing Jordan as a reliable and friendly government is nothing new in Washington, but what is new is the determination of King Abdullah to make a strategic relationship with the United States a centerpiece of Jordan’s foreign policy. Although the kingdom’s behind-the-scenes support for the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq widened the credibility gap with the public, King Abdullah is willing to pay the cost for his close alliance with the United States in order to pursue what he sees as Jordan’s larger interests.

• For Jordan, “the Palestinian Question” looms larger than Iraq. Given their support for U.S. policy in Iraq and their contributions to the global campaign against terrorism, along with the country’s central role in Arab-Israeli peacemaking, Jordan’s leaders have been disappointed with what they see as U.S. inaction on the Middle East peace process. Moreover, given the turmoil in both Iraq and the Palestinian territories, Jordan must contend with the twin prospects of “state” failure to its east and west.

07-11-2007, 06:09 PM
From WINEP, a collection of essays on Iraq's Neighbors:

With Neighbors Like These: Iraq and the Arab States on Its Borders (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/download.php?file=PolicyFocus70FinalWeb.pdf)

Table of Contents


Syria and Iraq: The Inconvenient Truth
Barry Rubin

Kuwait: Between Iraq and Iran
David Pollock

Jordan: Keeping All Quiet on the Western Front
David Schenker

Saudi Arabia: The Nightmare of Iraq
Simon Henderson

Conclusion: Are Iraq’s Arab Neighbors the Answer?

07-29-2007, 12:48 PM
USIP, Aug 07 (but released on-line 28 Jul 07):

Iraq and the Gulf States: The Balance of Fear (http://www.usip.org/pubs/specialreports/sr189.pdf)


• Iraq’s Persian Gulf neighbors supported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in order to preserve the status quo—a weak and self-absorbed Iraq—rather than to impose a new one. However, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and its aftermath have not brought stability to the Gulf States as much as they have shifted the most serious challenges from external threats (of a hostile Baghdad) to internal threats (the threat of conflict spillover from Iraq).

• Kuwait fears the growth of Iranian influence in Iraq and the possibility that Iraqi Shia unrest will spill across its own borders. Although many Kuwaitis question the wisdom and capacity of the United States in managing Iraq’s internal problems, Kuwait has provided significant support to U.S. military action in Iraq and the country’s reconstruction efforts.

• Qatar has supported U.S. military actions in Iraq by hosting the U.S. Central Command but still maintains the perception of nonalignment. For example, Doha hosts prominent former Iraqi Baathists, not to mention Saddam’s own family members.

• The interest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Iraq is secondary to its concern over Iran, with which it has a long-standing dispute over ownership of three islands in the Gulf. The unresolved dispute with Tehran over the islands heightens the UAE’s concerns about the rising Iranian influence in Iraq.

• To bolster its relationship with the United States, the UAE offered training to hundreds of Iraqi troops and police recruits in 2004–2005, hosted the first Preparatory Group Meeting for the International Compact with Iraq in September 2006, and funded reconstruction efforts in Iraq through the United Nations and the World Bank.

• On post-Saddam regional security issues, member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) seem to be more “market takers” than “market makers,” showing little inclination to shape the nature of a larger and potentially more powerful neighbor. Instead, they are focused on immediate choices for calibrating a proper relationship with Washington in a way that accommodates many other important relationships.
Full 16 page report at the link.

01-10-2009, 02:18 AM
SSI, 6 Jan 09: Regional Spillover Effects of the Iraq War (http://www.strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB901.pdf)

The author examines some of the most significant ongoing transnational or “spillover” problems associated with the continuing conflict in Iraq, with particular attention being paid to those problems that could disrupt or even undermine the stability of regional states beyond Iraq. Spillover issues addressed include: (1) refugees and displaced persons fleeing Iraq in large numbers for neighboring countries, (2) crossborder terrorism, (3) intensification of separatism and sectarian discord among Iraq’s neighbors fueled by conflict in Iraq, and (4) transnational crime. This work assumes that spillover influencing neighboring states will continue to occur even in best case scenarios where the Iraqi government rapidly assumes full sovereignty over the entire country in ways that allow it to provide security and stability to most of the population. In the perhaps more likely event that Iraq continues to wrestle with serious internal conflict, cross-border spillover problems could be significantly more intense. This monograph is designed to serve as an overview of the present dangers for Iraq’s neighbors and may intensify as a result of the ongoing conflict within Iraq. It assumes that no amount of U.S. effort and resources can compensate for Iraqis who are not willing or able to address the serious problems that still exist in organizing their society in ways that promote stability and minimize internal division......

02-18-2009, 07:51 PM
USIP, 9 Feb 09: Iraq, its Neighbors and the Obama Administration: Syrian and Saudi Perspectives (http://www.usip.org/pubs/working_papers/wp8_syria_saudiarabia.pdf)

Executive Summary

• The top concern for both Riyadh and Damascus remains blowback from Iraq: the ascendance of ethnic and sectarian identity and the spread of Islamist militancy. The need to contain this threat is the dominant force that shapes their relations with Iraq.

• Both Syria and Saudi Arabia have a vital interest in ensuring that Iraq’s emerging political order is inclusive of Sunni Arab Iraqis, who have not yet been fully incorporated into Iraqi institutions.

• Syria and Saudi Arabia do not look at Iraq in isolation, nor do they assign it top priority among their foreign policy concerns. For them, Iraq is merely one element in a comprehensive view encompassing other regional players (including the U.S. and Iran) and other regional crises, particularly the Arab-Israeli conflict.

• Lingering resentment and bitterness toward Washington is now mixed with intense curiosity and modest optimism about President Barack Obama. Saudis still bristle when recalling how the Bush Administration sidelined Riyadh on Iraqi matters; as do Syrians, who believe the previous administration was intent on isolating and undermining Damascus.

• Iraq remains very much isolated in its neighborhood. Recent progress on regional cooperation notwithstanding, these two neighbors are still focused more on containment than engagement.
Complete 21-page paper at the link.