The following facts are very important to understand the Iraq War, as it is called, and the effects thereof. These facts are also important to understand the greater strategery of The United States with regard to the Middle East, Arab states, and various opponents and opposing entities.
As I do not want to give away sources and/or methods, all I will say is that the following facts have been more or less provided by a man who is currently a very powerful crown prince of an Arab statelet (not Saudi Arabia), set to soon succeed his aging and ill father. (Please remember that as seen through the eyes of Arabs and their governments, The United States unilaterally invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein and his regime.)
The invasion of Iraq and the successful overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his regime had two very important consequences for the Arab world: The United States effectively numbered the days of autocracy, and The United States greatly and significantly increased the Arab governments’ perception of The United States’ will, ability, autonomy, and perseverance.
The crown prince noted that with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his regime, for the first time an Arab state established a truly participatory democracy. Whether this experiment succeeds in Iraq (and, if it does, how) is completely irrelevant. What matters is that the Arab peoples now know that they have a choice. Arab states do not all have to be autocracies. And as such, the Arab peoples will eventually give in to their desires and instincts and will secure the dismantling of their autocracies and replacing them with truly participatory democracies. (We see increasing agitation by the peoples for more democracy – a trend that has only increased. And this even in Saudi Arabia.)
The second point is perhaps one of the most important. As seen through the eyes of Arabs and their governments, The Administration (that is, the presidency and government of George W. Bush of The United States) set out to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein and his regime. The Administration attempted to attain legitimacy for this adventure, and this by going through The United Nations. Not only did the members of The United Nations soundly reject the idea, they soundly opposed it. Not only that, but key allies of The United States, such as France and Germany, staunchly opposed The Administration’s plans. World powers, such as China and Russia, allied with the rest of the states opposed to The Administration’s plans. Indeed, the whole world seemed strongly opposed to any invasion of Iraq, and the world accused The Administration of lying so as to invade anyway, whether Iraq deserved invasion or not. But The Administration was adamant: The United States invaded Iraq. The Administration was able to enlist the assistance of its close ally, The United Kingdom, despite the opposition by the British people to this involvement. The United States succeeded in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his regime despite the fact that very many erstwhile friendly states refused to cooperate, and despite the fact that Saddam Hussein and his regime were being flooded with arms and materiel (by Russia and other rivals of The United States) until the very end. This resilience to do what one wants to do, especially in a time and environment where international politics and international relations and international diplomacy have almost sacred roles, made Arab governments sit up and take significant notice. Indeed, the banner was right: the mission (invading Iraq, overthrowing Saddam Hussein, overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime) was accomplished. And this against staggering odds and significant and staunch opposition.
Seen this way, The United States are nigh invincible.
Of course, the fact that The United States’ armed services remain in Iraq despite a marked increase in international and domestic opposition to their presence in Iraq, also enhances the perceived resilience and stubbornness of The United States.
And so all of these combine to form a formidable image of The United States. The United States’ actions (and their success) in Afghanistan were expected; The United States forging forward with their plans with regard to Iraq was unprecedented, unexpected, and alarming. With one act, The United States put the world’s governments on notice: once The United States make up their minds, there is no stopping them.
Now, the Arab peoples may not be aware of this. But then the Arab peoples are not the ones who have to deal with The United States and who have to make the decisions regarding the state’s relations therewith. The Arab governments are very, very aware of these facts.
Derive from this what significance or meaning you will.