Les leçons de la première guerre du Golfe

NEW YORK – Il y a vingt ans ce mois-ci, Saddam Hussein, alors leader incontesté de l’Irak, envahissait le Koweït, donnant lieu à la première grande crise internationale d’après la Guerre froide. Mais en en moins d’un an, le Koweït était libéré et son gouvernement restauré, à un coût humain et économique minimal pour la coalition multinationale assemblée par le président américain George H. W. Bush.

Depuis lors, les Etats-Unis ont à plusieurs reprises eu recours à la force armée, pour différentes raisons. Aujourd’hui, ils cherchent à s’extraire d’un second conflit en Irak, à définir dans quelle direction aller en Afghanistan et à savoir si des frappes militaires contre l’Iran s’imposent. La question va donc de soi : quelles leçons pouvons-nous tirer de la première guerre du Golfe qui, de manière générale, est considérée comme un succès militaire et diplomatique ?

Une leçon importante est liée à la raison pour laquelle un pays entre en guerre. Autant il est possible de modifier le comportement d’un État au-delà de ses frontières, autant influer sur les événements se déroulant au sein d’un autre pays est difficile. La guerre du Golfe de 1990-1991 avait pour objectif de s’opposer à l’invasion du Koweït par Saddam Hussein, une agression qui contrevenait au respect de la souveraineté nationale, l’une des règles de base qui gouverne les rapports entre les États dans le monde actuel. Une fois que les forces armées irakiennes eurent été expulsées du Koweït, l’armée américaine ne s’est pas dirigée vers Bagdad pour remplacer le gouvernement irakien, et n’est pas non plus restée au Koweït pour imposer la démocratie dans ce pays.

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