IslamOnline.net & News Agencies – 2004-06-09 10:06:49
STOCKHOLM (June 9, 2004) — The invasion of Iraq could incite some countries to acquire weapons of mass destructions to avoid any future invasion by the United States, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Wednesday, June 9.
The impact of the invasion – justified by the United States and its allies by the alleged existence of weapons of mass destructions (WMDs) — on weapons proliferation and terrorism was difficult to assess but there was a risk it would increase demand for powerful weaponry, SIPRI said in its annual report.
“Potential proliferators may draw the conclusion the costs and risks of acquiring WMD have increased significantly but they may also conclude that the only way to prevent themselves from becoming the victims of regime change is to develop a credible deterrent,” said the report, carried by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
More than one year after the invasion of Iraq , no WMDs have been found since, raising fears that the offensive on the oil-rich country was based on false pretexts.
The US-led forces’ experience since its “successful, low-cost occupation” of Iraq in 2003, has shown the limits of military power when faced with non-traditional tactics, so-called “asymmetric” responses.
“The performance of new military equipment and tactics in Iraq will encourage imitators in some parts of the world,” wrote SIPRI head Alyson Bailes.
Bailes noted that the main justification for the Iraq invasion undermining the credibility in general of efforts to ensure the non-proliferation of such weapons.
Only real evidence of WMD problems in Iran, Libya and North Korea had allowed the momentum against the spread of such weapons to be maintained, she said. “Many states were motivated to work for less violent solutions,” she said. Libya has recently promised to abandon any bids to develop WMD.
Bailes said the most immediate loss from the Iraq war was that “any intervention, even non-military, is a gamble for high stakes”.
In addition to the military challenge of Iraq , Washington now also has to fight on diplomatic fronts, attempting to repair damage done to its standing in the Arab world and to relations with its traditional allies in Europe , read the report.
The post-invasion problems showed “that the challenges of post-war stabilization may be greater than those of war itself” and that the United States was “likely to need wider international support to achieve its objectives”, SIPRI said.
The report also dismissed Washington ’s claims that the invasion of Iraq will help the so-called war on terrorism. The war may also have exacerbated the problem of international terrorism by “creating a new frontline in Iraq and by fuelling Arab and Islamic resentment.”
European unity had suffered from transatlantic tensions concerning Iraq , the report said. There were conflicting positions within the European Union and the western military alliance NATO, which was being used by the United States “as a military toolbox for building ‘coalitions of the willing’ in time of need”, SIPRI said.
Division over Iraq showed that the “northern hemisphere’s family of democratic states does not seem to have found the formula for becoming at once more inclusive and more united”, SIPRI said.