Persian Gulf States: Post-War Issues for U.S. Policy, 2003 [Updated July 14, 2003] [open pdf - 839KB]
The U.S.-led war has ended Iraq's ability to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and virtually ended any Iraqi conventional military threat to the region. Some of the Persian Gulf states fear that Iraq might no longer serve as a strategic counterweight to Iran and they fear that pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim groups might obtain a major share of power in post-war Iraq. Concern remains about Iran's WMD programs, particularly rapid advances in its nuclear program. With Iraq no longer a major power and the United States likely to sharply reduce its Gulf presence once Iraq is stabilized, the Gulf states might try to fashion a new security architecture for the Gulf that is based more on regional states and less on the United States. Most Gulf states are feeling pressure from a portion of their publics who largely view the U.S. war on Iraq as an invasion and occupation. The Gulf governments are also being blamed by some in their population for failing to persuade the United States to end what is viewed in the region as a pronounced U.S. tilt toward Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Some Gulf states are opening up their political processes as a means of deflecting popular pressure. Many experts believe political and economic reform are the keys to long-term Gulf stability, as well as. The United States is also working with the Gulf states to identify suspected Al Qaeda cells and cut off channels of financial support to that and other terrorist groups.
CRS Report for Congress, RL31533