began under the aegis of Pax Americana and the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq on August 2, 1990 ensured direct US intervention in Persian Gulf conflicts. In this period and after victory of the coalition, Dual Containment was the most important approach that was held by U.S. in the Persian Gulf region.
On May 18, 1993, in a speech delivered to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Martin Indyk, outlined the basic tenets of the policy of Dual Containment. He stated that the United States would no longer play the game of balancing Iran against Iraq. The strength of the United States and its friends in the region would allow Washington to “counter both the Iraqi and Iranian regimes. We will not need to depend on one to counter the other” (The-Washington-Institute-for-Near-East-Policy, 1993). The Clinton administration had crafted a policy which sought to deal with these threats by isolating both countries regionally, cutting them off from the world economic and trading system, and encouraging a regime change in Iraq (Gause, 1994). The basic strategic principle involved was the containment of both of these nations in a way that facilitated the protection of critical American interests, the security of US allies and the free flow of oil at stable prices (Lake, 1994a).
Lake defines the core values as: (1) pursuit of democratic (2) expansion of free markets; (3) peaceful settlement of conflict, and (4) promotion of collective security. Lake had believed that “Dual Containment cannot be accomplished by the United States alone; however, it requires the assistance of regional allies, especially the GCC nations” (M. J. L. Mraz, 1997).
Anthony Lake brought five specific charges against Iran while calling it a backlash state: (a) Iran is actively engaged in clandestine efforts to acquire nuclear and other unconventional weapons and long-range missile-delivery systems; (b) it is the foremost sponsor of terrorism and assassination worldwide; (c) it is violently opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace process; (d) it seeks to subvert friendly Governments across the Middle East and in parts of Africa; and (e) it is attempting to acquire offensive conventional capabilities to threaten its neighbors (Dietl, 1995).
A number of unique circumstances that have allowed the Clinton administration to pursue this course of action were : 1) First, the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union eliminated a major barrier in any consideration of US policy in the Persian gulf; 2) Second, a regional balance of power that has been established between Iran and Iraq; 3) Third, as a result of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Gulf Cooperation Council states were somewhat less reluctant than they previously were to enter into security arrangements with the US; 4) Fourth, the Clinton administration felt that the broad strategic context in the Middle East was helping to reinforce the overarching policies that the US has pursued for years (Myers, 1997).
Among the critics of the Dual Containment policy was F. Gregory Gause III. He states that “the Dual Containment policy is shot through with logical flaws and practical inconsistencies and is based on faulty geopolitical premises; it is hard to see how either Iraq or Iran could be contained, in the administration’s sense, without the cooperation of its hostile counterpart” (Gause; 56/57).
Two approaches of U.S. for the region – Twin Pillar policy and Dual Containments – failed after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and after the aggression of Iraq toward Kuwait, so Dual Containment had been unable to deter either Iran or Iraq from expanding their military strength, and scholars recommended that U.S. should pursue a more active policy of engagement and enlargement for Iran and Iraq. When Iraq attacked Kuwait and Iran began its nuclear program it became obvious that the Dual Containment policy had not achieved its goals and the U.S. had failed in its policy, so they began to interfere in this region directly.
The critique of these scholars is that instead of relying on local states of the Persian Gulf for security arrangements, they believed that the United States must be a superior leader of security arrangements in this region while other main local countries of the region do not participated in the security process in the Persian Gulf area.
۲.۳.۱ The Bush administration and Persian Gulf region
The main US policy toward the Persian Gulf in George W, Bush was direct invasion to Iraq and toppling Saddam’s regime from the power in 2003. The US policy regarding the Persian Gulf region during the presidency of George W Bush are represented in Condoleezza Rice, the foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush and then Secretary of State during the eight years of President George W. Bush’s administration. Rice declared that the American foreign policy in the Republican administration should focus the United States on the national interest and priorities:
“…to ensure that Americas military can deter war, project power, and fight in defense of its interests if deterrence fails; to promote economic growth and political openness by extending free trade and a stable international monetary system to all committed to these principles, including in the western hemisphere, which has too often been neglected as a vital area of U.S. national interest; to renew strong and intimate relationships with allies who share American values and can thus share the burden of promoting peace, prosperity, and freedom; to focus U.S. energies on comprehensive relationships with the big powers, particularly Russia and China, that can and will mold the character of the international political system; and to deal decisively with the threat of rogue regimes and hostile powers, which is increasingly taking the forms of the potential for terrorism and the development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)… (Rice, 2000).
The last sentence of her quoted article refers to the “rogue regimes”, “terrorism” and “weapons of mass destruction” that was deeply rooted in the dual containment policy of Clinton’s administration and after September 11, formally was declared by President Bush as the national security policy of the US. Rice emphasizes on military readiness and new weapons: “Military will have to take center stage… New weapons will have to be procured…” (Rice, p. 51). Such as ideas shows that George W. Bush’s policy was using force rather than diplomacy in the international relations and especially in the Persian Gulf as she express: “the American military must be able to meet decisively the emergence of any hostile military power in the Asia Pacific region, the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and Europe (areas in which not only our interests but also those of our key allies are at stake) (Rice, p. 52).
Condoleezza Rice (2000) at the last part of her article express on coping with rogue regimes that are Iraq, North Korea and Iran. She believes Saddam is developing WMD and should be removed: “… He (Saddam) is therefore determined to develop WMD. Nothing will change until Saddam is gone, so the United States must mobilize whatever resources it can, including support from his opposition, to remove him”.
Finally Rice determines that although Iran’s motivation is not to disrupt simply the development of an international system but “have posed real problems for U.S. security”:
“…Fortunately, the Iranians do not have the kind of reach and power that the Soviet Union enjoyed in trying to promote its socialist alternative. But Iran’s tactics have posed real problems for U.S. security. It has tried to destabilize moderate Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, though its relations with the Saudis have improved recently. Iran has also supported terrorism against America and Western interests and attempted to develop and transfer sensitive military technologies” (Rice, p. 61).
As Rice (2000) explains, the main goal of the US in the Middle East was protecting the Israeli regime from any hostile aggregation and Israeli regime was the core values of the US in the region:
“…Iran presents special difficulties in the Middle East, a region of core interest to the United States and to our key ally Israel. Iranian weaponry increasingly threatens Israel directly. As important as Israel’s efforts to reach peace with its Arab neighbors are to the future of the Middle East, they are not the whole story of stability in the region. Israel has a real security problem, so defense cooperation with the United States is critical. That in turn will help Israel protect itself both through agreements and through enhanced military power”.
The attack of September 11th, 2001on US territory was another main milestone for the Bush administration policies toward Iran and Persian Gulf region. “Beginning” was the word George W. Bush