Monday, January 17, 2005

A bit of Iraqi History

Most backers of GWII and indeed many antiwar types are unaware of the history of Iraq and the Middle East. Past GWI it is pretty much a haze. I found this article by former Attorney General Ramsey Clark who to be fair has some sketchy views especially on the defense of Milosevic but in this case he is just listing American involvement in Iraq since 1958.

In 1980, the U.S. provided Iraq with intelligence reports that Iran would quickly collapse in the face of an Iraqi advance. At the urging of U.S.-backed Arab rulers in Kuwait, Egypt and elsewhere, Saddam Hussein unleashed a war with Iran in which hundreds of thousands died.8

The attack served U.S. interests by weakening Iran, where U.S. embassy personnel were still kept hostage. The U.S. did not want either side to win. "We wanted to avoid victory by both sides," a Reagan official told the New York Times.9 Kissinger was more blunt: "I hope they kill each other" and "too bad they both can't

Iraq could not have sustained the eight year war without massive assistance, direct and indirect, from the U.S.S.R., Eastern bloc countries, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, the U.S., U.K., France, and West Germany. The Pentagon and CIA provided Iraq with satellite and AWACS intelligence on Iranian forces.11 The U.S. sent CIA and Special Forces to train Iraqi commandos and the U.S. helped funnel billions of dollars worth of arms to Iraq.12

Egypt, a major recipient of U.S.military aid, sent troops, tanks and heavy artillery to Iraq.13 In 1980, the military dictatorship in Turkey - a major recipient of U.S. military aid -sent troops to fight rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan, freeing Iraq's army toconcentrate on fighting Iran.

The U.S.-supported regimes in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia also supported Iraq's war
effort. Kuwait's contributed over $30 billion. The U.S. sold over $20 billion worth of arms to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states during this period and allowed Saudi Arabia to transfer large quantities of U.S. arms to Iraq during the war.

In 1984, the U.S. became Iraq's principal trading partner by increasing its purchases of Iraqi oil while encouraging Europe and Japan to do likewise.14 The Reagan administration increased intelligence-sharing with Iraq. Vice President Bush, the State Department and the CIA lobbied for large-scale financing of U.S.
exports to Iraq.15 In 1986, the U.S. sent a CIA team to advise the Iraqi military.16

But the U.S. was supporting both sides. In 1983, U.S. and Turkish generals were preparing to re-implement the 1958 "Cannonbone" plan.17 Until 1986, the U.S. funnelled arms to Iran through Oliver North, Israel and Pakistan.18 In 1985, Oliver North told Iranian officials that the U.S. would try to engineer the overthrow of

In 1987, the U.S. became directly involved in the war on Iraq's side by protecting the passage of Kuwaiti tankers with a major military presence in the Persian Gulf. Some U.S.-escorted, Kuwait tankers carried Iraqi oil while Iraqi planes attacked Iranian tankers. The U.S. sank Iranian patrol ships and destroyed their oil platforms.

In 1987, Army General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. became commander of the U.S. Central Command. He had a unique background for the assignment.20 In the 1953, his father assisted in the CIA's coup in Iran.

When the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988, U.S. war contingency plans made Iraq the enemy.21 In January 1990, CIA Director William Webster testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee on growing Western dependency on Middle East oil.22 In February,
Schwarzkopf told the committee that the U.S. should increase its military presence in the region and described new intervention plans.23 In 1990, the U.S. conducted at least four war games directed at Iraq, some premised on an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The U.S. wanted a new war in the Middle East: the Pentagon, to maintain its tremendous budget; arms industries, to feed their Middle East and U.S. military contracts; oil companies, for increased profits; and the Bush administration, which saw the USSR's disintegration as a chance to establish a permanent military presence in the Middle East to control of its oil resources.

The challenge was to force Iraq, a country more interested in rebuilding than expansion, to take action that would justify U.S. military intervention. To create this crisis, the U.S. invoked its special relationship with the Kuwait. In his book Hidden Agenda Behind the Gulf War, Pierre Salinger observed that Kuwait drastically increase oil production one day after the Iran-Iraq ceasefire.

During the Iran-Iraq war, Kuwait seized 900 square miles of Iraq's Rumaila oil field. Using U.S. drilling technology, Kuwait was also stealing oil that was
indisputably inside Iraq. When Iraqi troops amassed on the border, Hussein summoned U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie to his office to clarify the U.S. position. Glaspie assured him: "We have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. [Secretary of State] James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction."24
That was the 1980-1990 part of the article there are 24 footnotes that are documented on the website. Certainly puts the current action on Iraq in perspectives. Because business and strategic considerations will always be put before the human rights that right wingers cling to now as their justification for Iraq. Most likely because of no WMDs or links to Al Qaida. I did like Coulter's brilliant point saying there obviously were terrorists in Iraq because we invaded and people attacked us. That’s like saying everyone in Iowa is a commie so we gots to invade and solve this problem. Then for some reason Iowan farm boys shoot you up- must be commies good thing we invaded. Here’s a closer quote about why the Americans didn't finish up the job in GWI. You'll find it is from a fairly well placed source.
Tying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream,
engaging in "mission creep", and would have incurred incalculable human and
political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, there was no viable ˜exit strategy" we could see, violating another of our principles. Furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-Cold War world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the United Nations' mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression that we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the United States could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different—and perhaps barren--outcome."
From the Book "A World Transformed", Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. George H. W. Bush , the current President’s father, was Director of the CIA from 1976-1977 and the 41st president from 1989-1993. Brent Scowcroft was the National Security advisor to the first President Bush.
Seems like a decent source for me. Although Junior didn't have to worry about the Arabs dropping out of the coalition as there weren't any to begin with.


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