When US-led forces invaded Iraq in March 2003, the principle reasons put forward by the US administration at the time centred around Saddam's likely arsenal of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's suspected link to al-Qaeda.

Both reasons turned out to be a fallacy.

Other reasons were soon introduced: the war was undertaken to topple tyranny and initiate democracy and freedom in Iraq specifically, and the region as a whole.

More recently, senior American officials have stated the US continues to remain in Iraq in order to prevent full-blown civil war.

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Sceptics – and there are many – have raised other possible reasons to explain why the US rushed headlong into a war with Iraq.

One lingering suspicion has been the desire of the Bush administration to secure Iraq's massive oil reserves, the world's second largest.

A second theory suggests that the US invaded Iraq in order to take out one of the few remaining regimes in the region that was openly hostile to Israel, thereby serving Israeli security interests.

Inside Iraq this week discusses some of the 'official' and 'unofficial' reasons which have been raised as the true driving factors for the invasion and continued occupation of Iraq.

Our guests this week:

Dr Norman Finkelstein, an American political scientist specializing in Jewish related issues and Professor John Mearshemier, a well-known international relations theorist from the University of Chicago.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Iraq on YouTube

This episode of Inside Iraq aired on Friday, April 4, 2008

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Source: Al Jazeera