WASHINGTON -- Determined to ensure broad support for an attack on Baghdad, the United States has been offering incentives around the world, from increased arms sales to Iraq's neighbors to a diplomatic nod for Russia's crackdown on Chechen separatists -- moves that some analysts here and in the Middle East contend could damage long-term US interests.
During the Gulf War in 1991, the United States gave similar payoffs to countries that backed the US-led coalition taking part in Operation Desert Storm. But this time, according to specialists close to the negotiations, foreign leaders have increased their asking price significantly because they must show their citizens, who are overwhelmingly opposed to a war in Iraq, that there are benefits to supporting the United States against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The Americans have offered to supply countries from Jordan to Bahrain with a range of equipment, including Patriot antimissile batteries, AWACS airborne control planes, sophisticated missiles, and attack helicopters. The weaponry is not being given to the countries, but in most cases is being sold on favorable terms, especially to those countries whose economies are weaker than they were during the Gulf War.
''We started arming the Gulf states in the late 1990s because the United States thought Saddam would attack first, and the Gulf said they needed to protect themselves. But now, we are giving them arms because they don't believe the rationale for war and they are worried about opposition to war within their own populations,'' said Charles Smith, professor of Middle East history at the University of Arizona, who has served as an adviser to the US Central Command in Tampa, Fla.
Across the Arab word, anti-American sentiment has increased dramatically, according to recent opinion polls, even in countries such as Egypt and Jordan that have been traditional US allies and have long received economic aid. In some countries, there have been boycotts on American goods and attacks on McDonald's. Many Arab leaders say they believe Saddam Hussein should be contained through continued UN weapons inspections, not a war, which they believe will destabilize the region for many years to come.
But the United States' strong resolve to disarm Hussein and oust him from power has left Iraq's neighbors with little realistic alternative but to work with the Bush administration. In return for this military access, they are securing deals with the Americans with substantial results: Last month, Jordan received six F-16 ''Fighting Falcon'' jets, with 10 more on the way. And Turkey has won a package estimated at $14 billion, mostly in the form of loan guarantees.
Just as important as the goodies being handed out is what the United States has not done. Some critics accuse the Bush administration of trying to curry favor with Russia by turning a blind eye to its development of Iran's nuclear industry at Bushehr, in the south of the country, which could yield fuel for nuclear weapons.
Iran, branded by President Bush as part of an ''axis of evil'' that also includes Iraq and North Korea, says the $800 million project is needed to meet the nation's growing demand for electrical power, and it denies any bomb-making aspirations.
Russia has also benefited from Washington's new willingness to tolerate its fierce military drive against Muslim separatists in the breakaway region of Chechnya, a campaign that has been sharply criticized by human rights groups. In his latest address to the United Nations, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell highlighted a Chechen connection to worldwide terrorism.
Some Mideast and security analysts say there are great risks in strengthening, either directly or indirectly, states that do not generally share the United States' long-term foreign policy goals or its democratic values.
Arming the Persian Gulf monarchies, for example, could give opposition movements, including Islamic extremists, more evidence that the United States is supporting governments they consider their enemies. Among Osama bin Laden's stated grievances against the United States is Washington's economic and military support for the rulers of countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which the Al Qaeda network considers to be infidels.
''The real danger is that, after the war, we will incite more terrorism,'' said Michael O'Hanlon, a specialist in global security at the Brookings Institution. ''We will be inspiring recruits for Osama bin Laden.''
Perhaps nowhere is this intersection of cash, diplomatic favors, and war aims more striking than in Turkey, a longtime US ally and the only Muslim nation in NATO. Turkey's shared border with Iraq makes it ideal for opening a northern front against Hussein's forces, but public opinion is bitterly opposed to a US-led attack, providing Turkish officials with significant leverage in their negotiations with Washington.
Heavily reliant on trade with oil-rich Iraq, Turkey estimates its loss from the first Gulf War and the subsequent trade sanctions against Baghdad at as much as $100 billion over the last decade. It sees potential losses from a second war to be near $28 billion and fears another flood of largely Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq, who have the potential to reignite separatist fervor among Turkey's Kurdish minority.
The final outlines of a deal are still emerging, but already the figures under discussion are large. One White House estimate puts the total figure at $14 billion, mostly in the form of loan guarantees, although specialists say it could go considerably higher. Estimates of the arms package Turkey will receive range from $1 billion to $2 billion.
There are also likely to be other concessions, including the stationing of Turkish troops well inside northern Iraq, where their presence is likely to inflame tensions with the local Kurdish militias who fear Turkish claims on their territory.
''Turkey is looking for a much, much bigger payoff in order to participate in what the Turks see as a stupid adventure,'' said Ahmad Hashim, a specialist on Turkey and Iran at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. ''There was a lot of hesitation. But in the end, Turkey had no choice but to submit -- but wanted to get as much out of it as possible because of the aftermath and for political reasons.''
Late last year, Poland sealed an arms deal, accepting a favorable $3.8 billion US loan with which to buy 48 F-16s to replace its aging fleet of Soviet-era MiGs. In addition to providing a launching pad for further arms sales in eastern Europe, the Polish deal is seen as cementing military ties that could lead to US basing rights there, perhaps at the expense of Germany or other states less comfortable with Washington's new reliance on the use of military force. ''Our arms always come back to haunt us,'' said William Hartung, an analyst at the World Policy Institute in New York. ''Look at what happened when we supported the mujahideen in Afghanistan. And even in Somalia, our weapons ended up in the hands of warlords.''
But some analysts said they do not believe that the United States will harm its long-term interests by selling weapons to states in the region.
Edward Walker, director of the Middle East Institute in Washington, says that he doesn't believe a war would erupt among the oil-rich gulf emirates in the near future and does not believe the additional arms pose a threat to regional stability.
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