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Old December 12th, 2015, 07:02 AM   #1

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Middle Eastern Refugee Crisis With a Surviving Saddam Hussein


If Saddam Hussein would not have been overthrown by the U.S. in 2003, then would the current Middle Eastern refugee crisis be more or less severe than it is in real life?

Any thoughts on this?
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Old December 12th, 2015, 01:19 PM   #2
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Even if he isn't overthrown in '03, the key question is whether his regime survives the decade, and beyond that, the Arab spring.

Saddam, despite being hailed by revisionists as a stern secularist was beginning to shed that old skin in the final decades of his rule, with the Faith campaign being his last chip to cash in on his divided countries ebbing loyalty, It proved to be a double edged sword, since in the public eye the new relaxations granted favours to Sunnis but not Shiites, turning communities against eachother as identity politics tend to do. Shi-ite clerics tended to be anti-regime and thus faced harsh progroms, while Sunni figures tended to ne more pro-regime, and where thus absorbed into the Baathist fold to maintain legitimacy among the ever-religious populace,


This opened up a festering sewer of religious hatred, leading to the infiltration of the muslim brotherhood, and other conservative Wahhabi and Salafist elements into mainstream Iraqi society, essentially laying the groundwork for the mass defection to Al Qaeda in Iraq (now ISIS) by Baathists almost immediately after the regimes downfall. By the time the Americans huffed and puffed and blew the house down, the groundwork for the 2005/06 civil war and eventual rise of the Islamic state was just a matter of time.

In conclusion then, my point is that I think war in Iraq, and thus refugees would be a given, maybe not in the numbers they are in now, but I just cant see Saddam residing in power much passed 2011/2012


Apologies for what might come off as a rambling post, its getting quite late in my time zone
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Old December 12th, 2015, 01:24 PM   #3

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Does the Arab Spring occur in a scenario where Saddam is still in power?
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Old December 12th, 2015, 05:11 PM   #4

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Originally Posted by Menshevik View Post
Does the Arab Spring occur in a scenario where Saddam is still in power?
Yes, since the factors that caused the Arab Spring were unrelated to Saddam Hussein.
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Old December 13th, 2015, 05:09 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mad Mummer View Post
Even if he isn't overthrown in '03, the key question is whether his regime survives the decade, and beyond that, the Arab spring.
I would think that his regime would survive at least the first few years of the Arab Spring.

Quote:
Saddam, despite being hailed by revisionists as a stern secularist was beginning to shed that old skin in the final decades of his rule, with the Faith campaign being his last chip to cash in on his divided countries ebbing loyalty, It proved to be a double edged sword, since in the public eye the new relaxations granted favours to Sunnis but not Shiites, turning communities against eachother as identity politics tend to do. Shi-ite clerics tended to be anti-regime and thus faced harsh progroms, while Sunni figures tended to ne more pro-regime, and where thus absorbed into the Baathist fold to maintain legitimacy among the ever-religious populace,


This opened up a festering sewer of religious hatred, leading to the infiltration of the muslim brotherhood, and other conservative Wahhabi and Salafist elements into mainstream Iraqi society, essentially laying the groundwork for the mass defection to Al Qaeda in Iraq (now ISIS) by Baathists almost immediately after the regimes downfall. By the time the Americans huffed and puffed and blew the house down, the groundwork for the 2005/06 civil war and eventual rise of the Islamic state was just a matter of time.

In conclusion then, my point is that I think war in Iraq, and thus refugees would be a given, maybe not in the numbers they are in now, but I just cant see Saddam residing in power much passed 2011/2012
Why exactly don't you think that Saddam Hussein would have remained in power in Iraq after 2011-2012? Also, though, wouldn't much more Iraqi Shiites have fled Iraq during the Arab Spring (in comparison to real life, that is) if Saddam Hussein would have still been in power in Iraq during this time?

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Apologies for what might come off as a rambling post, its getting quite late in my time zone
Don't worry about it!
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Old December 13th, 2015, 01:07 PM   #6
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Right, now lets remember that any regime is only accepted so long as its perceived usefulness exceeds its drawbacks- the sanctions in the 1990's, and increased government repression had made civilian life something awful for the Iraqis by the time the invasion struck, and discontent had began erupting into violence, stemmed only by a unmotivated, corrupt uncohesive army where ethnic loyalties where stronger than national ones.

Would this kind of security force have kept the lid on things with growing resistance from Shia clerics, Kurdish nationalists, and Salafi insurgents? All through economic meltdown and international isolation? Few regimes pull through such challenges indefinitely, especially if they've become liabilities to their former backers and are totally regionally isolated, which Saddam was, with neutral or hostile governments on all sides- now that's just Saddams obstacle course in the millennium, it doesn't even include the extra pressure an Arab spring situation would entail in 2011. So in essense, that's what im getting at


I should also mention that while I don't agree with the notion that he should have stayed in power, im the last person to support the manner in which the Americans tried to put humpty dumpty together again after the regime fell, they seriously misread the situation, and that region will suffer the effects for a long, long time
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Old December 13th, 2015, 04:29 PM   #7

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ISIS is largely made up of ex-baathists. Meanwhile the growth of hardline Sunnism grew under the waning years of the Saddam regime.

Saddam would have crushed any rebellion mercilessly just as he did following the Gulf War. Assad meanwhile would have wavered as he did historically, allowing the instability in his country to grow over time.

I could see Saddam funding Sunni Rebels in the east of an increasingly unstable Syria (since Syria is a proxy of Iran, his country's prime enemy) and probably sending agent into the country. We'd see something similar to what we're witnessing now.


Without all of the Iraqi refugees due to a lack of a Second Gulf War, countries which took in a great many historically may be more willing to take Syrians instead.

Jordan, Iran, and Turkey all have 500k,
The UK has 450k,
Egypt, Germany, and the UAE around 150k each,
The US has 140k,
Sweden 120k,
Kuwait, Lebanon, and Yemen 100k each.

The pressure on Europe would be much less, meanwhile Iraq would likely take in a sizable number as well.


Saddam and Turkey would probably combine their efforts towards crushing the Kurds.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 04:02 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Mad Mummer View Post
Right, now lets remember that any regime is only accepted so long as its perceived usefulness exceeds its drawbacks- the sanctions in the 1990's, and increased government repression had made civilian life something awful for the Iraqis by the time the invasion struck, and discontent had began erupting into violence, stemmed only by a unmotivated, corrupt uncohesive army where ethnic loyalties where stronger than national ones.

Would this kind of security force have kept the lid on things with growing resistance from Shia clerics, Kurdish nationalists, and Salafi insurgents? All through economic meltdown and international isolation? Few regimes pull through such challenges indefinitely, especially if they've become liabilities to their former backers and are totally regionally isolated, which Saddam was, with neutral or hostile governments on all sides- now that's just Saddams obstacle course in the millennium, it doesn't even include the extra pressure an Arab spring situation would entail in 2011. So in essense, that's what im getting at
Frankly, I would think that an extremely repressive regime such as Saddam Hussein's might have been able to survive all of this. After all, wasn't Saddam Hussein almost as brutal as, say, the Bolsheviks were before 1953?

Quote:
I should also mention that while I don't agree with the notion that he should have stayed in power, im the last person to support the manner in which the Americans tried to put humpty dumpty together again after the regime fell, they seriously misread the situation, and that region will suffer the effects for a long, long time
That I completely agree with! Indeed, we should have planned for the aftermath of the Iraq War much more before we would have actually invaded Iraq. After all, while I myself certainly consider Saddam Hussein to be extremely vile scum, invasions and dealing with the aftermath of invasions aren't necessarily easy things.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 04:04 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeisSaul View Post
ISIS is largely made up of ex-baathists. Meanwhile the growth of hardline Sunnism grew under the waning years of the Saddam regime.
Yes; correct!

Quote:
Saddam would have crushed any rebellion mercilessly just as he did following the Gulf War. Assad meanwhile would have wavered as he did historically, allowing the instability in his country to grow over time.
Couldn't this have resulted in many Iraqi Shiites fleeing Iraq and emigrating to other countries during the Arab Spring, though?

Quote:
I could see Saddam funding Sunni Rebels in the east of an increasingly unstable Syria (since Syria is a proxy of Iran, his country's prime enemy) and probably sending agent into the country. We'd see something similar to what we're witnessing now.


Without all of the Iraqi refugees due to a lack of a Second Gulf War, countries which took in a great many historically may be more willing to take Syrians instead.

Jordan, Iran, and Turkey all have 500k,
The UK has 450k,
Egypt, Germany, and the UAE around 150k each,
The US has 140k,
Sweden 120k,
Kuwait, Lebanon, and Yemen 100k each.

The pressure on Europe would be much less, meanwhile Iraq would likely take in a sizable number as well.


Saddam and Turkey would probably combine their efforts towards crushing the Kurds.
I completely agree with you that Saddam Hussein would have funded the Sunni Arab rebels in Syria during the Arab Spring as well as cooperated with Turkey in anti-Kurdish military actions (which, for the record, I don't think would have been that successful due to the continued Western no-fly zones in northern Iraq in this scenario; do you agree with me in regards to this, WeisSaul?).

Also, though, I've got a question--do you think that Saddam Hussein would have actually tried annexing some Sunni Arab-majority parts of eastern Syria in this scenario (just like Saddam Hussein temporarily did with Kuwait in 1990-1991 in real life)?

Any thoughts on this?

Last edited by Futurist; December 14th, 2015 at 04:08 AM.
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Old December 14th, 2015, 10:07 AM   #10

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Indeed, while ISIS is certainly extremely vile scum, one of the extremely few things that ISIS did which I actually like is the fact that ISIS essentially got rid of the old border between Iraq and Syria. Indeed, would Saddam Hussein likewise try altering/modifying the border between Iraq and Syria?

Any thoughts on this?

Also, though, while I certainly agree that Saddam would have responded to any potential rebellions and uprisings more harshly than Assad did, what exactly makes you say that Assad initially dithered in regards to using force to try crushing the Syrian rebellion, WeisSaul?
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