WASHINGTON (AP) -- Forcing out Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has become a tricky proposition for the United States because of the war on the West Bank.
Just weeks ago, the Bush administration was talking as though Saddam was a new target in the war on terrorism, and military action was an imminent possibility.
But the violence between Israelis and Palestinians has thrown the region into turmoil and further polarized the Arabs, which makes an American military move against Iraq politically more unlikely, many analysts say.
Nevertheless, President Bush said in an interview Friday with a British television network that he is confident he can build a coalition to "deal with Saddam Hussein." He and British Prime Minister Tony Blair will discuss all options during Blair's weekend visit to Bush's Texas ranch, the president said.
"I made up my mind that Saddam needs to go," Bush said on the first day of talks with the British leader.
Blair was expected to press for diplomatic rather than military action.
"It is absolutely not viable in the near future," for America to launch an attack on Iraq, said retired Rear Adm. Eugene Carroll, now an independent analyst in Washington. "The small region simply cannot contain two conflicts at the same time."
Even if the warfare between Israel and the Palestinians is contained, Carroll said, "keeping the peace will remain a top priority. An attack against Iraq could throw another match on the kindling."
Some administration officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, have made clear in recent days they still view Iraq as a priority threat.
Rumsfeld has slammed the Iraqi president for his link to the Palestinians' campaign of suicide bombing attacks that have killed dozens of Israelis. Saddam's government has said he pays each dead bomber's family $25,000.
The Bush administration accuses Iraq of developing weapons of mass destruction and sponsoring terror. Bush repeatedly has demanded that Iraq readmit U.N. weapons inspectors unable to work there for almost 3 1/2 years. Officials say the administration is weighing options ranging from diplomatic pressure to possible eventual military strikes.
Now, however, any move against Iraq undoubtedly would be complicated on many levels.
Vice President Dick Cheney's recent trip to the Middle East confirmed that political support among Arab nations for military action is scarce.
At their recent summit, Arab countries issued a statement saying that any attack on Iraq would be considered a threat to the security of every Arab country.
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