Gwynne Dyer

By Marti Webster

“There’s going to be a war. It’s going to start in two or three weeks and it’s going to be quite bad.”

This is what Gwynne Dyer pessimistically views– and he’s only been wrong twice–is an inevitable American-led war on Iraq. He said the war is likely to occur in weeks, not months.

On Wed., Mar. 5 at the University of Calgary, the Internationally syndicated journalist gave a lecture on the American motivation behind the war and how it could change the political landscape of the Middle East.

Dyer explained why this war would be different from wars North Americans have become used to, where American and Canadian causalities have been minimal.

“[Bush] wants disarmament and Saddam’s head on a stick,” he said. “He has to go in and get Saddam and replace him with someone more compatible to the U.S.”

Because Hussein will likely be hiding in a bunker in the middle of Baghdad–a city six times as big as Calgary–intense street fighting may occur.

“Armies hate street fighting,” said Dyer. “Every window is a potential sniper. If you start to lose large numbers of people, the tactic is to level the buildings.”

To Dyer, this type of street fighting will mean many casualties on both sides, including hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians.

The war is also likely to cause a conflict between Iraq and Isreal, said Dyer. Hussein may provoke Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s retaliation by firing SCUD missiles at Israel.

“The point is to get Israel to fire at him because you change international opinion in the Mid East… cause an Arab uprising,” said Dyer.

He speculates that pro-American governments like those of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan may be threatened by internal militants if war breaks out.

After describing the historical context leading up to the current conflicts, Dyer reassured the audience with comparatively positive remarks.

“If I have sufficiently depressed you, let me conclude by giving you a few slivers of hope. This is not going to lead to World War III. World War III has been cancelled,” he said.

“No matter how bad it gets, it’s not going to break out and drag in the great super powers. We’re the country that breaks out weapons of mass destruction like sausages.”

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