Building toward Crisis: Saddam Husayn's Strategy for Survival by Amatzia Baram

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Saddam Husayn and Iraq have undergone a remarkable transformation since 1995, when Saddam was fighting for his very survival. Today, Saddam seems firmly in control in Iraq. He has pacified his family and bought time with the tribes, restored some of the Republican Guard's shattered pride, and apparently convinced his power base that his leadership is effective and is progressing toward the goal of ending the sanctions and inspections regimes without having to give up Iraq's WMD arsenal. As long as it is not committed explicitly and decisively to the ouster of the Iraqi president, the international community should not be surprised to see itself further manipulated to suit Saddam Husayn's purposes.

In this Policy Paper, Amatzia Baram, Institute Soref fellow, explains how Saddam has regained, to a large extent, his hold over his power base. Professor Baram analyzes the fissures within Saddam’s base—from the extended family, through the tribe coalitions, to the ruling Ba‘th party, and the army—and evaluates them in terms of regime survival.  Finally, he discusses Saddam’s relations with Iraq closest neighbors—Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Year: 1998

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