Opposing views on the impending war in Iraq were continued at last night’s debate addressing the justification of war and its after effects in the Middle East, including Adeed Dawisha, Karen Dawisha, Khalil Shikaki and Mark Tessler as panelists.
Political science Prof. Adeed Dawisha from Miami University of Ohio said, “In the midst of the very intense sentiments against the war, I am going to stand here in front of you and tell you that I am for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and if it has to be by force, so be it, it would have to be by force.”
Dawisha said although the implications of war are grave, sometimes war is a necessary evil in certain cases, as in the case with Iraq. “It’s not that I take war lightly,” Dawisha said. “And indeed I would go as far as saying that war is an evil. But sometimes, unfortunately, war is a necessary evil. And in this particular case, I think it is. That’s why I am actually a supporter of forcing Saddam Hussein out of power.”
With the current diplomatic disagreements within the United Nations Security Council, the U.S. has been prevented from pursuing its plans for war in Iraq.
Dawisha argued that the core justification of the U.N. is the notion of sovereignty. He said according to statistics, the U.N. is a body of sovereign states. One of the arguments offered by the U.N. against intervention is that all of the countries in the organization are sovereign, therefore, no other country has the right to intervene in the politics of any other states, he added. Yet, he presented a different argument by emphasizing justice rather than sovereignty. “If the United Nations says yes, then we will be given the political right, the right to intervene. My argument is different. I actually place more emphasis on another principle, which I think is of a higher value than sovereignty, and this principle is one of justice.”
“War against Iraq in my opinion is not only permissible, in fact when I say this I shock a lot of people … to me it’s a moral obligation,” he added. “Every person with an ounce of civility in him should recognize this fact.”
But Bir Zeit University Political science Prof. Khalil Shikaki discredited the current arguments for war proposed by Washington, arguing that the prevailing conceptions in the Middle East about a possible war in Iraq lie in the United States’ desire to make the region safe for Israel and control oil in the region.
Shikaki said Washington is arguing that a successful regime change in Iraq would greatly weaken all the forces of radicalism in the Middle East.
Yet, Shikaki said he was skeptical of the arguments being advanced by Washington. He said that preoccupation with Iraq will not diminish after the war, and instead will intensify, causing regimes in the region to distant themselves from the United States and its policies, making it difficult for the United States to implement its policies.
The war will not only perpetuate U.S. and Israel interests in the Middle East, but it will also make it more difficult for Palestinians and Israelis to negotiate peace after the war and also intensify radicalism, Shikaki said.