Skip to comments.The Gulf Wars Revisited
Posted on 08/14/2020 7:34:00 AM PDT by SJackson
Who exactly benefitted from American removal of Saddams Sunnis in Iraq?
Exactly 30 years ago, Iraqs dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and created a set of consequences that are with us today, including sectarianism, terrorism, and Iranian militancy. The Bush presidencies made a number of historical mistakes in dealing with Iraq and Iran. Iran, as a result, reaped the rewards of Saddam Husseins cruelty and greed, and American errors. The George H. W. Bush administration, for its part, was given a mandate by the United Nations to undo Saddams aggression in Kuwait. It should have been used to eliminate Saddam Hussein alone. At the same time, the collapse of the Soviet Union gave the George H. W. Bush administration an opportunity to deal with the radical Iranian regime, following the bloody eight years of war with Saddams Iraq. It was one of the Ayatollahs regime weakest periods. The George W. Bush administrations March, 2003 Second Gulf War, which was meant to disarm Saddam of his weapons of mass destruction, eliminated the Sunni-led Iraqi army. It enabled the Shiites to take over Iraq politically, thus opening the door for the Islamic Republic of Iran to virtually control Iraq. With the Sunni-led Iraqi army disbanded, many of its officers became involved in sectarianism that led to the rise of ISIS, and a wave of terror still rocking Iraq. Shiite Iran was able to capitalize on America handing over Iraq to Shiite rule. The U.S. destroying the Sunni-led Iraqi army led to a fundamental destabilization of the regional balance of power, and it freed the Iranians to pursue their expansionist dreams.
There was never a question about the necessity to topple Saddam Hussein, who was responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi-Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds, as well as thousands of Kuwaitis. This maniacal dictator accused Kuwait on July 18, 1990 of stealing oil from Iraq and encroaching on Iraqi territory. He demanded $2.4 billion from Kuwait. Then, Tariq Aziz, Saddams foreign minister, accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi petroleum over a decade. On August 1, 1990, the Arab League and Saudi Arabia suspended their mediation, and the next day, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait with 100,000 soldiers and 300 tanks. On August 8, 1990, Iraq announced Kuwaits total and irreversible incorporation into Iraq. Earlier, on August 6, 1990, the UN Security Council imposed an embargo on Saddams Iraq. Later in August, 1990, Saddam formally annexed Kuwait as Iraqs 19th province. There were fears at this point that Saddam might order his forces into Saudi Arabia, and President George H. W. Bush then sent U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia.
When diplomatic efforts to oust Saddams army out of Kuwait failed, the U.S. launched Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. It was followed by intense aerial bombardment of Iraq. One hundred hours later, a ground assault by U.S. and coalition forces liberated Kuwait. In his attempt to draw the Arab world to his side, and break the Arab-Western coalition, Saddam fired 39 scud missiles into Israel, causing the death of 74 Israeli citizens. Two died from a direct hit, four from suffocation in gas masks, and the rest from heart attacks. The Israeli air force was ready to retaliate, but Prime Minister Shamir was persuaded by President Bush to stay put. The U.S. rushed Patriot Missiles to Israel and U.S. special forces knocked out the scud launching vehicles in western Iraq.
The George W. Bush administration did Throw the baby out with the bath water. This expression fits with the administrations actions in taking out Saddam Hussein and his entire Sunni-led military establishment. As evil and destructive as Saddam was, his regime nevertheless kept the Iran at bay. When Saddams regime was removed in 2003, Iran became the dominant regional force. Once Saddam and the Sunnis were out of the picture, Iran managed to assert its control over Iraq through loyal Shiite militias and politicians. Iran was ensuring that Iraq could never again pose a threat as it did under Saddam.
Another serious error by the Bush (George W.) administration and the Obama administration that followed it, was to insist on keeping Iraq as a unitary state rather than split it into three independent states. Clearly the Kurds in the north deserved an independent state. Being a distinct ethnic group (and non-Arab and Sunni-Muslim) Kurds have been abused by all the surrounding regimes, and Saddam butchered them in the thousands by gassing and cluster bombs. The Sunni-Arabs in western Iraq have more in common with their tribal cousins on the other (eastern) side of the Euphrates River in Syria than with the Shiites. They are unlikely to reconcile themselves to live under Shiite rule. The current situation simply invites more terror and instability. It is therefore logical to set them apart. The Shiite Arabs in southern Iraq would be far more secure in their own independent territory, which includes the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. The capital of Iraq, Baghdad, has been largely emptied out of its Sunni residents, and might have to be split between the Sunnis and Shiites. A similar condominium might have to occur in the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk in the north, between Kurds and Sunni-Arabs.
The value of having these three independent entities is first and foremost to undo the arbitrary and artificial creation of Iraq by the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement (Britain and France). More importantly, it will serve as a barrier against Iran, preventing it from materializing its vaunted Shiite Crescent, and imperial expansionism. A Kurdish and Sunni-Arab state would form just such a barrier. Iran is surrounded by largely secular Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Sunni majority states of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey. Across the Persian Gulf are the Arab-Sunni led states of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman (Ibadi Islam). Armenia, northwest of Iran, is Christian.
Saddam was not the only cruel Arab dictator in the region. Libya had Muammar Ghaddafi, Yemen had Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Syria endured the Assads, both the late Hafez, and his son Bashar, the current butcher of Damascus. All of them managed to generate chaos, civil wars, and have caused the death of millions. The Ayatollahs regime in Iran is similarly oppressive and cruel, and far more dangerous to the world than the abovementioned dictators. The Ayatollahs, unlike the secular dictators, add religious fanaticism to their quest for regional, if not world power. Moreover, while Saddam, Ghaddafi, and Assad Jr. sought but never quite acquired nuclear power, the Islamic Republic of Iran is cheating its way toward a nuclear bomb. It is also sowing instability and terror throughout the region and beyond, which makes it a global menace. Saddam, in the 1980s, was largely oriented toward the West and served as a bulwark against Iran, but his invasion of Kuwait made him an international pariah. Irans ayatollahs regime, however, was always a global menace. It was never punished for invading the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, and for keeping American diplomats as hostages for 444 days. The U.S. has an unfinished score to settle with Iran.
The clearest lessons from the Gulf Wars are that eliminating Saddam Hussein and his closest clique didnt necessitate destroying the established order in Iraq. Additionally, Iran, not Iraq, should have been targeted by the U.S. for regime change.
We weren’t there by ourselves. Carving Iraq into three states wouldn’t be supported by our European allies or the UN, and other than the Kurds, by Iraqis. Sunnis and shia both would like to control the whole shebang. I believe Joe Biden was declared, or nearly declared, personna non grata for suggesting carving up Iraq.
Yes, there was. Using the U.S. military as a mercenary force to protect Islamic royal families and take sides in civil wars in Middle East sh!t-holes was a f#%&ing disgrace.
“The clearest lessons from the Gulf Wars are that eliminating Saddam Hussein and his closest clique didnt necessitate destroying the established order in Iraq. Additionally, Iran, not Iraq, should have been targeted by the U.S. for regime change.”
The clearest lesson is that we should have withdrawn all US forces once Iraqi forces were eliminated. Just walked away.
Bush was only doing what his boss, David Rockefeller, told him to do.
What civil war? What Islamic royal family?
Drivel...... balderdasious protectionist isolationist drivel
Bush and the republicans caved to the democrat party and let the enemies of America retake Iraq. Just like the democrats support every enemy of America. Millions have died as a result.
2. Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families whose senior ranks have been real estate development partners of the Bush family for years. Funny how that works, isn't it?
That sounds like the kind of sh!t I'd expect from a U.S. president named Barack Hussein Obama. In my humble opinion, FreeRepublic has been absolutely diminished since 2003 by the fixation of a lot of people here on supporting this nonsense.
The election of Donald J. Trump in 2016 was an utter repudiation of this sh!t.
When was there a civil war in Iraq?
How did the 2003 Iraq war benefit Saudi and Kuwaiti royal families?
The Gulf War was about protecting the flow of oil. In the Gulf Region at the time we had only two stable allies, Israel and Kuwait. Kuwait was an ally in the region and purchased their military supplies from the US and UK. The Kuwaiti's were better educated and more moderate in their relationship with the West. The loss of the Kuwait oil fields, the threat to Saudi sweet oil fields in the north and seeing pretty much the entire Gulf region under control of enemies or nominal allies could not be allowed. When Iraq made claim to the sweet oil fields the US had to act. Either way we had to act to protect Kuwait our only solid ally in the Gulf. The war was fought with Gulf region allies and was fought with minimal casualties. Had Iraq seen the writing on the wall during Desert Shield they would have pulled out of Kuwait. If they had Saddam would probably still be alive. All in all a success.
The Southwest Asia War was horse of a different color. Yes, we did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but not in the quantities claimed and not ready for deployment. Operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch were too expensive to maintain while actively engaged in Afghanistan. So the neo-cons and Bush decided; hey lets just invade Iraq and use chemical weapons as a justification. History is replete with military geniuses who applied stupid $hit strategy like Bush and Obama and then lost whole armies in the Southwest Asia Region. From the Crusades to today, we can hold those areas for a time but eventually it will end badly. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have been nominal victories at best. As is always the case since the Korean War, our GRUNTS and POGS were successful, while our politicians and Generals failed them. That includes Saint Mattis and company. You want to lead in a failing effort, you get the blame. All in all, currently a stalemate. History will decide if it was worth the loss of so many men and women.
Frankly, had we tapped our oil reserves after the first oil embargo in the Seventies, the Gulf War of 91 may never have occurred. Saddam may not have seen it as profitable to invade and get control of Kuwaiti oil fields. That is the genius of Trump. He is making us self-sufficient again and getting us out of the endless nation building wars the neo-cons and Democrats have gotten us into. Trump's is trying to end out dated treaties that cost tax dollars and could bring us into a war we do not want. Trump knows the Gulf region is a distraction, the real enemy is China.
Many short term beneficiaries made a lot of money.
Long term and most prominent beneficiary is Iran.
I backed W 100% then, thinking he had a strategic vision to box in Iran and depose the Imams. I was dreadfully wrong. a lot of good American soldiers killed and maimed for his lack of vision and squishy stupidity.
Only bitterness would I feel, but for the pride I have in our military, then and now.
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