National Intelligence Daily (Cable)
IRAQi osition weakened
//Hilitaryiia fail in the uar vith IranSaddam Kueeoiv. underpressure toMb toaonfUot. Popular opposition to tha uar issdoubts amono senior Iraqi offieers aboutsrlous ehallanas. She President uill have todefensive tilting strategy SOOH and either launohor, more likely, declare Hviotaril" and uithdrov
//The defeats suffered by the Iraqis at Abadan in September and sore recently at Bostanurning point in the war. Tor the firstince the war begantonths sgo, Tehran has been able to score sii^ able victories over Baghdad's forces^
//The erosion of Iraq's position under Iranian pressure appears to be accelerating. Iraq'surgent proolei* is poor troop morale, caused in part by Saddam'e defene-lvet strategy.// I
Nevertheless, Iraqi forces are unlikely to collapse. Iran remains unable to follow up Its successes wltn new attacks to exploit them quickly,1
against Sudd*- cninxinp about Moving
cesses, have strengthened Tehran's resolve.
Iraq's chancesmoving the battle to thetable aro slim. Earlier international mediation efforts remain moribund. Saddam's efforts toease-fire or initiate peace talks directly with Iran or through Algeria have been interpreted as signs of weak-
Saddam still appears to command the loyalty of his powerful aecurity aervlce, which he does not hesitate to use. Beltanee on increased repression at home is attopgap measure, however, as the war becomescostly in Ban, material, and lost economic and foreign policy opportunities for Iraq.
The President is aware of the mounting discontent at home. He also realizes that oontlnued fighting will leave Iraq dependent on the good will of moderate Arab neighbora for vital financial, logistic, and political support, all of which is harder to accept in view of Iraq's ambitions to become leader of the Arab world.
Saddam also would like to end the fighting well before next September, when the nonallgned movement is scheduled toummit in Baghdad. Heeading role in the movement aa the keystone of his foreign policy.
The Iraqi leader so far has not shown the flexibility to exploit the widespread desire for peace In his country, for example, by seising on heightened Arab-iaraeli tension to break off the war. The longer he waits to move, however, the weaker his position is likely to become.