The Persian Gulf Conflict is not just about oil or money, according to Middle-East expert Adam Garfinkle it's about what the world order will be in the next century. "The United States didn't suffer and sacrifice for 40 years facing the Soviet Union in the Cold War to make world safe for people like Saddam Hussein," Garfinkle told more than 100 people at a forum on Israel and the Gulf Crisis held at Hillel Tuesday night. Garfinkle, who lectures in the Political Science department and is a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency, said that the U.S. now has four options for action: withdraw the 100,000 U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia; negotiate a diplomatic solution; launch a massive air strike against key Iraqi targets; or attack Iraqi forces in a land war. Garfinkle concluded that it would be foolish to pursue either of the first two options. If the United States and the rest of the world appear to back down or allow Hussein to gain from his August 2 invasion of Kuwait, "the lives of millions of people in the Middle East will be at stake," Garfinkle said. "As soon as U.S. forces left the region it would only be a matter of time before Israel and Iraq were at war with each other possibly a nuclear war," Garfinkle warned. Although he said he favored the air strike option, Garfinkle said neither of the military options are particularly attractive to politicians in Washington. A massive air strike would cripple Iraq's ability to win a protracted land war, strengthen the Arab coalition against Iraq and possibly topple Hussein's government, but it could prompt Iraq to lash out against Saudi Arabia or invade Jordan to bring Israel into the conflict, he said. The air strike could also result in the death of some of the thousands of Western hostages in Iraq. "As far as we know, they're horsemeat any way," Garfinkle said of the hostages. "The attitude of the State Department is, That is regrettable, but there is nothing we can do.' " A land war with Iraq would certainly result in thousands of American casualties, maybe as many as 48,000, Garfinkle said. It would also present a problem of what to do with Iraq if we captured it. Occupation of Iraq by American forces would be the ultimate insult to the Arab world, Garfinkle said. Whatever the outcome of the current conflict, Garfinkle said the Middle East will be changed forever. The Palestinian Liberation Organization has been discredited for supporting Iraq while King Hussein of Jordan will probably fall within five years, Garfinkle said. Garfinkle also predicted that the alliance between the U.S. and Syria could result in Syrian-Israeli peace talks. speechComments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.