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Iraq After the War

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• Part 2: Geography and the Rest

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The Common People of Iraq
The Persian Gulf War
Saddam Hussein

Part 1: Politics and Economics

The news out of Iraq these days is that the war is pretty much over. Military forces of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other nations are in control of all major cities and many minor ones. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is nowhere to be found and might even be dead. The Iraqi military is not putting up much of a fight anymore.

What now?

Officials of the United Nations and its member nations face several significant challenges in remaking Iraq:

1. Political. Saddam Hussein was a dictator. He called himself a president, and his people got to vote for him; but he was the only one on the ballot. He was commander in chief in the extreme of the army. His generals and lesser commanders gave no orders unless he approved them. Now, the U.N. wants to install a democratic government in Iraq. The Iraqi people will still get to vote for their leaders, but they will have a choice of who to vote for. The leader of the country will also have a lot less power than Saddam Hussein did. If the new Iraqi government is anything like the kind of representative government found in the U.S., in Europe, and in many other countries, the new leaders will share power.

2. Economic. Iraq's economy is in ruins, not just because of the war. The country had been prohibited from buying or selling a large number of things because of U.N. sanctions. Because Iraq's government pursued policies that were harmful to other countries and to the Iraqi people themselves, the U.N. imposed those sanctions. As a result, many people had very little food or medicine. Many factories and industries have likely been damaged as a result of the recent war and will need to be rebuilt. Much of Iraq's precious oil fields are intact, meaning that the country can sell that oil to other countries. Also, the new government that the United Nations and other countries agree on for the new Iraq will likely have some sort of restriction on how many troops Iraq can have and how many weapons the country can produce. That will free up a good amount of money to spend on other things, like food and medicine.

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