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U.S. clout hurt by Iraq War, scholar says

March 14, 2013 at 11:48 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, March 14 (UPI) -- The aftermath of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq has left Washington with diminished clout in the region, a Middle East scholar write.

Wednesday marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Following the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States, the U.S. government said Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons program was too great of a threat to ignore.

Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East scholar at the London School of Economics, writes in the Chatham House journal International Affairs that geopolitical developments since al-Qaida's attacks on the United States have curtailed U.S. influence.

"A global redistribution of power has curtailed America's freedom of maneuver and exposed its relative decline," he writes. "The Iraq debacle has undermined not only America's moral standing and credibility but also its deterrence strategy."

Iraq has had a series of democratic elections and its oil sector is rebounding since U.S. forces helped remove Saddam Hussein from power. Various political disputes and threats of terrorism, however, are undermining post-war development.

Gerges adds that the democratic reforms in the Middle East, dubbed the Arab Spring, have left the United States without the key regional allies it relied on in the past.

Last week, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen issued his final report to Congress. He said that despite a 10-year engagement that cost the United States $60 billion, Iraqi leaders said they were uncertain if the effort was worth the expense.

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