International Politics in the Middle East

Consequences of the 2003 Iraq Invasion

One of the most important outcomes of the 2003 US Invasion of Iraq was the usage of Iraq as a site for proxy wars both between the US and Iran; and more recently between Iran and Saudi Arabia. From Bush’s perspective, according to Gause, the only way to eliminate the WMD threat in Iraq would be through a complete regime change removing Sadam Hussein. This sudden regime change coupled with economic weakness as a result of long-term sanctions left Iraq weak making it a perfect battle-ground for proxy wars.

The Sunni Arab Iraqis serve as a proxy for Saudi Arabia while Shiite Arab Iraqs serve as a proxy for Iran. The intensifying rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran through a proxy battle in a weakened Iraq has more widespread regional implications. As this ideological divide between Sunni and Shiite exists across the Middle East, this rivalry intensifies this divide and unrest a long it across the region. Further, this helps appeal to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda according to Gause.

Another important consequence of the invasion of Iraq was the push for democracy in the Middle East. In order to cover for the intelligence failure of WMDs in the Iraq invasion, the US pushed for an agenda of spreading democracy in the Middle East. While they attempted to force this on their enemies such as Iraq they also enforced this on their allies such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This push for democracy is what ultimately led to the election of the Muslim Brotherhood in seats of parliament in Egypt in 2005 and Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian election of 2006. This invasion had long-term impacts on the region in terms of the presence of terrorist organizations and their regional power.


Gause, III, F. Gregory. 2009. The International Relations of the Persian Gulf

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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