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The Threat of Iran

The column by Naveen Sunkavally '01 ["The Iraq Policy Crisis," Nov. 17] demonstrates his extreme ignorance of the geopolitical interests of the United States. The fact of the matter is, the United States needs the presence of a Sunni state to balance the potentially hostile, and Shi'ite, Persian Iran.

What Sunkavally and most columnists have been forgetting is that Iraq is a predominantly Shi'ite country governed by a Sunni minority. As Sunkavally himself has pointed out, there is no credible domestic opposition against President Saddam Hussein. Should Hussein ever fall out of power, the Iraqi state will fall into disarray, with no political leaders strong enough to hold it together.

Such a power vacuum will invite the other regional power, namely Iran, to move in and carve up Iraq. Such an event will place a historically hostile, and Shi'ite, Iran in the heart of the Middle East. Iran will then be in a position to threaten the physical security of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and all of the other Gulf states, all of whom are traditional allies of the United States.

America cannot allow this to happen. Until the day comes when Saudi Arabia can defend its own borders, which will never happen, the United States needs a united and strong Sunni Iraq.

Chienta J. Wu '01