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Attack on Iraq? S.F. State Experts Available On Possible U.S.-Iraq Conflict



SFSU Office of Public Affairs

(415) 338-1665


Press Release published by the Office of Public Affairs


SAN FRANCISCO, September 26, 2002 -- Members of the San Francisco State University faculty members are available to provide expert analysis of various aspects of President's Bush plan to attack Iraq and remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. SFSU's experts, who keep close watch on the unfolding events, can talk about American foreign policy and its history, terrorism, the role of the United Nations, diplomacy, Iraqi reaction, and strategies of war. For additional assistance, call the SFSU Public Affairs Office at (415) 338-1665 or (415) 338-7110.

David Fischer. SFSU's Diplomat-in-Residence, is an expert on diplomacy, international politics and American foreign policy. He also teaches a new course on terrorism and international politics that was created as a direct result of Sept. 11. Fischer believes that there is little that can be done to stop an attack on Iraq by the United States.
"This is a classic case of coercive diplomacy, where a country tells another country `If you don't do this, you will get that.' I don't believe that Iraq will take steps that would avert war. Saddam Hussein is not someone who has responded well to coercion in the past," said Fischer. He can be reached at either (415) 405-0325 (work) or (415) 661-8543 (home), or

Maziar Behrooz, associate professor of history, is a leading authority on the history of the Islamic world. He created SFSU's two-part course on the history of the Islamic world from 500-1500 and from 1500 to the present.
"It is difficult to know what the Iraqi people think. Northern Iraq (the Kurdish region) has been effectively independent since 1991. The Kurds have little affection for Saddam but fear the chaos and foreign intervention that may follow the toppling of the regime. But I think they are the most probable partners in the venture since the Kurds are Sunni Muslims but not Arabs and comprise 15% of the population. The Shi'as in the south (of Arab ethnic background but a different branch of Islam and 55% of the population) are giving contradictory signals. Prominent Shi'a leaders inside Iraq have voiced their opinion against the invasion, however the major Shi'a organization in exile Iran has voiced its conditional support," said Behrooz. He can be reached at (415) 338-1776 (work) or (510) 549-0291 (home) or

Jerry Combs, professor of history, is an authority on the history of American foreign policy and America's military history. Combs can also discuss the similarities and differences between America's past wars. "I think there is an 80% chance we will be attacking Iraq in December or January. If Iraq actually cooperates on the inspections, Bush may not be willing to confront all of the opposition from our friends and allies in the world," said Combs, who noted that America has traditionally had many allies before launching military attacks. He can be reached at either (415) 338-1246 (work) or (925) 935-2404 (home) or at;

Andrew Hanami, associate professor of international relations, teaches courses on war and strategy, international security and U.S. foreign policy. "I think the forthcoming attack is likely but will not be as successful as we might like. According to military theory, there are three basic plans. One would be a delta force-type commando raid to take Saddam and his elite generals out, but finding him would be difficult. Second is a medium size armored invasion involving a few thousand troops, but that would merely drive him underground And third is a Persian Gulf style attack; shooting against anything that moves. That won't be as bad as people say but it will be plenty bloody on both sides," Hanami said.
Hanami can be reached at (415) 338-6438 (work) or (510) 848-8241 (home) or at;

Sophie Clavier, a lecturer in international relations, is an expert on world affairs, international organizations and world order. She has also written extensively about the workings of the United Nations. Clavier said she believed that the planned Iraq attack may have been conceived before the presidential elections but definitely before Sept. 11, making it hard to reverse the course of action. "Iraq's behavior is totally irrelevant. Saddam Hussein is as much of a threat as he was a year ago. What Saddam does will not matter since the real issue isn't disarmament but the control of oil. Most insiders at the U.N. acknowledge that continued international economic sanctions (sanctions have already been modified to allow importation of food and medicine) will be short lived, so outside control of the Iraqi economy will disappear unless indeed there is a change of regime," said Clavier.
Clavier can be reached at 338-7498 (work) or (415) 664-2272 or at

Dwight Simpson, professor of international relations, is a widely quoted expert on the Middle East, international relations and world politics.
"Things seem unclear in terms of U.S. policy and potential future action. Was Bush's speech to the United Nations the definitive U.S. policy statement? You could find contradictions in policy both before and after that speech. There is no clarity and little coherence in the White House position. Presuming a U.S. military victory, what next in Iraq? For how long would we be there? And what are the costs? These questions are either ignored by the Bush people or they occasionally offer empty platitudes on the subjects," Simpson said.
Simpson can be reached at either (415) 338-2239 (work) or (510) 527-5306 (home) or at

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Last modified September 10, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs