31.01.2017 Author: Viktor Mikhin

Mere Provocations Should Not Spearhead US Foreign Policy

456435342342The farther away the Great History recedes into the distance, the more the documents shedding light on true world events sprout up, as the grey areas give way to clearer analyses and a clarification of what actually happened, and the clearer become the real relations among several powers, which in those days were able in some way to hide their true greedy plans for the weaker countries in various regions of the world.

All this is strikingly depicted in the earlier behind-the-scenes developments in the Middle East, more precisely, the actual hidden agenda underlying the policy of the United Kingdom and the United States on Iraq and Kuwait, especially as there is a reason to consider all this more closely and in detail. January 17 marked 26 years since armed forces from the US and countries forming the United Nations International Coalition launched a military frenzy that they dubbed the so-called ‘Operation Desert Storm’, which was primarily aimed at destroying Iraqi forces and “liberating” Kuwait. In contrast to most other US military interventions, this time everything was allegedly done under international law, as the decision was supposedly adopted by the Security Council. This decision undoubtedly became a death sentence for Iraq, and, as subsequent events clearly showed, started the crisis and chaos in US interests in the Middle East region that ensued thereafter.

Operation Desert Storm’ became part of the Persian Gulf War between 1990 and 1991. The offensive began with the dispatch of Iraqi forces into Kuwait, which Baghdad had always laid claims on, right from the moment Kuwait attained its independence. Prior to this, the then Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, had rightly accused the Government of Kuwait of theft of Iraqi oil (the Kuwaitis supposedly used deviated well drilling technology). As compensation, the Iraqis demanded the write off of a huge amount of debt (more than $ 14 billion), which Baghdad had accumulated during the Iran-Iraq war, and a further payment of compensation amounting to $ 2.5 billion, and as minimum, to hand over on lease the strategically important islands of Warbah and Bubiyan controlling the mouth of the Iraqi Shatt al-Arab. On top of that, Kuwait had not adhered to the OPEC quota on oil production, which led to a sharp drop in the world oil prices down to as low as $ 11 per barrel. This doubtlessly inflicted self-harm not only to the already-impoverished post-war Iraq (by the way, during this war Iraq had fought for the freedom and independence of Kuwait), but also to the Soviet Union. In addition, Baghdad all the time insisted that historically Kuwait territory rightfully belonged to Iraq.

Saddam Hussein dispatched troops to Kuwait only after the US, the usual provocateur in such matters, unofficially gave their permission for the war. Suffice it to recall that on July 25, 1990, the then Iraqi President met with US Ambassador, April Glaspie, to discuss “the Kuwait Issue.” “I have direct instructions from the (US) President to seek to improve relations with Iraq. We are not concerned with inter-Arab conflicts, like your border dispute with Kuwait … This issue does not concern the United States,” said E. Glaspie then.

The author of these lines, who at the time met several times in Baghdad at diplomatic receptions with the American ambassador, often heard her expressing such opinions. The question is: Why did Washington push Baghdad to a dispute with its neighbor? The situation would become clear at the end of the war hostilities, when it turned out that 100 oil wells had been blown up in the Rumaila oil field, which was then being developed by the British company BP. The property owned by the Americans in the emirates had not been tampered with, and for the sake of “decency”, or maybe then, by mistake, only one tower owned by the rival of the British—the Standard Oil Company—was destabilized. In other words, at the request of the Americans, the Iraqis had eliminated Britain’s competitor from Kuwait, which has since gone completely under American control.

However, the Americans demonstrated the first US provocation in this matter in the now distant 1957 of last century. It is common knowledge that in 1955, a military unit called CENTO or the Baghdad Pact was established at the initiative of the United Kingdom and the United States in the Middle East, spearheaded against the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. The then Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri Said, presented Washington with a rather stringent requirement to provide a non-refundable loan of 15 million dollars to re-equip the backward Iraqi army. Washington provocateurs had no better choice than to “advise” Baghdad to invade Kuwait, which at that time had its foreign policy and defense dictated by London, according to a secret agreement dating as far back as 1899. The US diplomats advised that in doing so, the Kuwaitis would finally be able to oversee their own financial affairs, rearm their army and strengthen their strategic position in the region. However, the main aim of the council was to incite Iraq to provoke the UK and thereby undermine the strong position held by the British in this small but very rich Arab emirate. It is interesting that at the international level, particularly within the UN, the Americans secretly promised their support for Iraqi claims on Kuwait.

Nuri Said, a very experienced diplomat who began his career amidst the Great Arab Revolt in Hejaz against the Ottoman Empire, together with the so-called Lawrence of Arabia, for some reason did not notice the trick and the US underwater mines. He prepared a detailed document outlining Iraq’s rights of claim on Kuwait and sent it to London, which at that time determined all the positions in the emirate. The Iraqi Prime Minister cited in that document the historical facts, and gave a guarantee that British companies would continue pumping free oil from the depths of Kuwait. The result of this US provocation is well known: Iraq “quickly” underwent a revolution, and Nuri Said himself was publicly torn to pieces by the crowd in Baghdad. By the way, prior to this, many Baghdadis had noticed intensive communications between the US and UK ambassadors. Nevertheless, here, the American “professionals” once again failed dismally: after coming to power, the new nationalist leaders immediately took positions against imperialism, including against the United States. Then began the inevitable rapprochement between Iraq and the Soviet Union.

But perhaps the apotheosis of American provocations in this matter were the events on Capitol Hill in 2003 just before the unprovoked attack on Iraq. During this time, the “hawks” of the American political establishment were making a huge effort falsifying and manufacturing “evidence” to prove that Saddam Hussein allegedly posed an imminent threat to the international community. Iraq was accused of renewing its development of weapons of mass destruction, and of being in cohorts with international terrorist organizations, especially al-Qaeda. Even though US intelligence data showed exactly the opposite, the Washington administration deliberately ignored it. Accusations of links with Al-Qaeda are quite clearly questionable in light of the fact that the terrorist group’s soldiers fought in the anti-Iraq coalition in the 1991 war and therefore could not cooperate with the Saddam Hussein regime. In addition, even in the 80s, Saddam Hussein waged war with radical Islamist groups on Iraqi and Iranian territory.

These events culminated on February 5, 2003, when the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, spoke at a special UN Security Council meeting, and in doing so transformed this influential international forum into a circus, while he himself took the role of an ordinary clown and provocateur, supposedly providing abundant “proof” that Iraq was allegedly concealing its weapons of mass destruction from international inspectors. Even today however, when the world remembers how this “policy” supposedly demonstrated the evidence for the alleged tubes containing anthrax and other biological weapons, loud laughter can be heard from New York through Tokyo, Beijing, Delhi, Istanbul and Cairo, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Today, this has become a clear demonstration of the use of the title of US Secretary of State to claim obvious falsehoods that even a first grader can understand.

The fallacious US invasion and the disasters that the US brought to the Iraqi people sparked so sharp a condemnation around the world that even the Washington administration, in the person of former President Barack Obama, acknowledged this indisputable fact. Meanwhile, in Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has called on to investigate the US invasion of the country in 2003, in light of the position held by the recently sworn-in US President Donald Trump, who considers it a catastrophic mistake. The Iraqis noted that the invasion eventually “made it possible for terrorists from around the world to infiltrate Iraq.”

Today, the world is again hoping that once coming to power, President Donald Trump will be more competent in international affairs, and will not again repeat some of his predecessors’ dangerous approaches to solving global problems, which led to the disintegration of a number of Middle Eastern sovereign states, while hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians were killed, and still many ordinary citizens lost their basic means of subsistence. In his inaugural address, in which he gave a sober and somewhat low assessment of the previous US administration, Donald Trump reflected these sentiments at least in part. It is abundantly clear that the US superiority that Mr. Trump talked of restoring cannot be based merely on provocation, military force, or the shedding of the blood of innocent civilians.

Victor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine ”New Eastern Outlook”.

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