In the second part of his study Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed offers a behind-the-scenes account of the 1991 Gulf War revealing that, contrary to conventional opinion, there exists considerable evidence to indicate that the Gulf War had not only been anticipated by the United States, but fell well within its political, strategic and economic interests. A variety of factors support the conclusion that Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait was deliberately engineered by the U.S. to contrive a new enemy as a pretext for war, serving to establish a permanent military presence in the Middle East and achieving vast geopolitical power into the next century through the control of its oil resources.
- George H.W. Bush riding in an armored jeep with General ’Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf in Saudi Arabia, 22 November 1990
IV. Protecting Order in the Gulf
IV.I The Domestic Scene in the U.S.
Prior to the Gulf War, the United States was facing massive cutbacks in military expenditure. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. had lost its old Cold War foe, leaving its military institutions such as NATO with nothing left to do – or at least no credible pretext on which to do it. Consequently, a political conflict had begun within the U.S. over the issue of the necessity of defence spending. With the Cold War over, many outside the U.S. military establishment naturally called for the reduction of military expenditure.
In February 1990, the Washington Post reported that “the administration and Congress are expecting the most acrimonious, hard-fought defense budget battle in recent history”.  By June, the Post reported that “tensions have escalated” between the Congress and the Pentagon, “as Congress prepares to draft one of the most pivotal defense budgets in the past two decades” . By July, due to the vote of a Senate Armed Services subcommittee calling for cuts in military manpower almost three times that of Bush’s recommendations, it appeared that the Pentagon was losing the battle for military spending. The Los Angeles Times reported: “The size and direction of the [military] cuts indicate that President Bush is losing his battle on how to manage reductions in military spending.” 
Being Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, former CIA Director, and a former investor in Texas oil, Bush was instrumental in fighting against such reductions. Yet while he was drastically failing to secure high U.S. military spending, his domestic popularity was also drastically decreasing. Although in January 1990 he had an approval rating of 80 per cent having emerged victorious from the U.S. war in Panama, towards the end of July his ratings had steadily dropped to 60, and were set to drop further.  Thus, President Bush and the corporate-military interests he was supporting were searching for a way to boost military spending and generate renewed public popularity.
The background for Bush’s campaign to maintain high levels of military spending was rooted in the prospects for a U.S. military presence in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf region. When the Iran-Iraq War ended in 1988, U.S. contingency plans for war in the Gulf region posed Iraq as the enemy.  In January 1990, CIA Director William Webster acknowledged the West’s increasing dependency on Middle East oil in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.  One month later, General Schwarzkopf advised the Committee to increase the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, describing new plans to intervene in a regional conflict.
The principal vehicle of this operation would be the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), formerly the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force, which had been covertly expanding a network of U.S. military-intelligence bases in Saudi Arabia.  Notably, CENTCOM’s War Plan 1002, which was designed during the inception of the Reagan administration to implement the Carter Doctrine of confronting any challenge to U.S. access to Middle East oil by military force, was revised in 1989 and renamed War Plan 1002-90; the last two digits, of course, standing for 1990. In the updated plan, Iraq replaced the Soviet Union as the principal enemy. 
It is in this crucial context that CENTCOM, under the direction of General Schwartzkopf, began devising war simulations directed at Iraq. At least four such simulations directed at Iraq were conducted in 1990, some of which hypothesised an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, long before the actual invasion occurred. One of the first of these, dubbed ‘Internal Look’, occurred in January. In May 1990, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank affiliated to Georgetown University, completed a two-year study predicting the outcome of a U.S. war with Iraq. The study explored the future of conventional warfare, and concluded that the war most likely to occur requiring U.S. military intervention was between Iraq and Kuwait or Saudi Arabia. The study was widely circulated among Pentagon officials, members of Congress, and military contractors.  By July, the Pentagon’s computerised command post exercise (CPX), initiated in late 1989 to explore possible responses to “the Iraqi threat” was in full swing, focusing on simulations of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait or Saudi Arabia or both.  The Naval War College in Newport, R.I., ran programmes in which participants were asked to determine effective U.S. responses to a hypothetical invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. 
Indeed, according to Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Francis Boyle – who is on the Board of Directors of Amnesty International USA, and who worked with the International Commission of Inquiry into United States war crimes committed during the Persian Gulf War - the U.S. had been planning an assault on Iraq for some time. Reviewing the year-by-year process of intensification of war plans, Professor Boyle records that:
“Sometime after the termination of the Iraq-Iran War in the Summer of 1988, the Pentagon proceeded to revise its outstanding war plans for U.S. military intervention into the Persian Gulf region in order to destroy Iraq. Schwarzkopf was put in charge of this revision. For example, in early 1990, Schwarzkopf informed the Senate Armed Services Committee of this new military strategy in the Gulf allegedly designed to protect U.S. access to and control over Gulf oil in the event of regional conflicts. In October 1990, [General] Powell referred to the new military plan developed in 1989. After the war, Schwarzkopf referred to eighteen months of planning for the campaign.”
Boyle reports that in late 1989 or early 1990, these war plans for “destroying Iraq and stealing Persian Gulf oil fields were put into motion.” Accordingly, General Schwarzkopf “was named the Commander of the so-called U.S. Central Command - which was the renamed version of the Rapid Deployment Force - for the purpose of carrying out the war plan that he had personally developed and supervised. During January of 1990, massive quantities of United States weapons, equipment, and supplies were sent to Saudi Arabia in order to prepare for the war against Iraq.”  The U.S., it thus seems had begun conducting intense planning for a possible war with Iraq as early as 1988 through to 1990.
IV.II The International Scene
Meanwhile in the Middle East, conflict was brewing between Iraq and Kuwait. The historical context of Iraq-Kuwait conflict lies in the fact that Kuwait was once a district of Iraq during Ottoman rule, before the British carved it off to form an independent state. This had never been accepted by Iraq as a legitimate division, and thus established a context of political tension between the two entities. Yet the main cause of Iraq-Kuwait tension just prior to the Gulf War was far more contemporary, originating in the policies of Kuwait. Iraq was incensed at Kuwait for around three reasons: during the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait was apparently stealing $2.4 billion worth of oil from the Rumaila oil-field beneath the Iraq-Kuwait border; Kuwait had built various structures, including military structures, on Iraqi territory; after the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait had been colluding with the United Arab Emirates to exceed the production quotas fixed by the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), resulting in the reduction of oil prices.
Kuwait decided to drastically increase oil production on 8 August 1988, only one day after Iran agreed to a ceasefire with Iraq.  Stable oil prices were essential to finance postwar reconstruction at this critical time. Yet Kuwait’s violation of OPEC agreements sent crude oil prices plummeting from $21 to $11 a barrel. Consequently Iraq was losing $14 billion a year.  This was only the beginning. In March 1989, Kuwait demanded a 50 percent increase in the OPEC quotas it was already flagrantly violating. Although OPEC rejected the demand in a June 1989 conference, Kuwait’s oil minister declared that Kuwait would not be bound by any quota at all. Kuwait then went on to double production to over a million barrels per day. 
On top of this, as Pierre Salinger recorded, Kuwait “intended to extract more from the oil fields at Rumaila”, which lie on the disputed Iraq-Kuwait border.  During the Iran-Iraq War, Kuwait had illegally extended its border northward, thus grabbing hold of 900 square miles of the Rumaila oil field. U.S.-supplied slant drilling technology allowed Kuwait to steal oil from the part of Rumaila that was indisputably within Iraq’s borders. Additionally, Kuwait’s rulers had lent Iraq $30 billion during its war with Iran, and was now demanding that Iraq recompense them. Yet Kuwait’s own behaviour towards Iraq had made this impossible.
The Iran-Iraq War had already cost Iraq over $80 billion. With oil prices plummeting thanks to Kuwaiti intransigence, it became impossible for Iraq to generate the necessary funds to recompense Kuwait. Iraq’s response between 1988 and 1990 was to endeavour to resolve these problems through diplomatic means. Yet all attempts at negotiation were rebuffed.  One senior U.S. official in Bush’s administration remarked: “Kuwait was overproducing, and when the Iraqis came and said, ‘Can’t you do something about it?’ the Kuwaitis said, ‘Sit on it.’ And they didn’t even say it nicely. They were nasty about it. They were stupid. They were arrogant. They were terrible.” 
Director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Henry M. Schuler described these policies as “economic warfare” against Iraq.  Iraq complained that Kuwait’s policies were “tantamount to military aggression”.  By now Iraq was losing a billion dollars a year for each reduction of one dollar in the oil price. By 1990, these policies had decimated Iraq’s economy to such an extent that it was in worse condition than during its war with Iran, with inflation at 40 per cent and its currency plummeting.  Considering that Iraq had always espoused a historical claim to Kuwait, Saddam’s reaction to Kuwait’s policies is notable. Rather than immediately utilising the crisis as a pretext for acquiring Kuwaiti territory by force, Iraq appeared to be anxious to resolve the situation swiftly and peacefully. The late King Hussein of Jordan, a friend of the Western powers particularly admired by the United States and Israel, found Kuwait’s response perplexing. He testified to the San Francisco Chronicle:
“He [Saddam Hussein] told me how anxious he was to ensure that the situation be resolved as soon as possible. So he initiated contact with the Kuwaitis... this didn’t work from the beginning. There were meetings but nothing happened... this was really puzzling. It was in the Kuwaitis’ interest to solve the problem. I know how there wasn’t a definite border, how there was a feeling that Kuwait was part of Iraq.” 
Indeed, after having fought for eight devastating years with Iran, war was the last thing on Saddam’s mind. A study by the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, issued in early 1990, found that:
“Baghdad should not be expected to deliberately provoke military confrontations with anyone. Its interests are best served now and in the immediate future by peace ... Revenues from oil sales could put it in the front ranks of nations economically. A stable Middle East is conducive to selling oil; disruption has a long-range adverse effect on the oil market which would hurt Iraq ... Force is only likely if the Iraqis feel seriously threatened. It is our belief that Iraq is basically committed to a nonaggressive strategy, and that it will, over the course of the next few years, considerably reduce the size of its military. Economic conditions practically mandate such action ... There seems no doubt that Iraq would like to demobilize now that the war has ended.” 
Yet Kuwait’s provocative – and for Iraq devastating – behaviour, continued to generate increasing tension between the two countries. The international community ignored the growing tension. By July 1990, Kuwait had continued to ignore Iraq’s territorial and economic demands - including its OPEC-assigned quota. Subsequently, Iraq prepared for a military venture, amassing large numbers of troops along the border. A significant indication of the U.S. role in this can be discerned from a crucial discovery that occurred after the invasion, when the Iraqis found a confidential memorandum in a Kuwaiti intelligence file. The document (dated 22 November 1989) was a top secret report to the Kuwaiti Minister of the Interior by his Director General of State Security, informing him of a meeting with the Director of the CIA in Washington, William Webster. The document stated:
“We agreed with the American side that it was important to take advantage of the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq in order to put pressure on that country’s government to delineate our common border. The Central Intelligence Agency gave us its view of appropriate means of pressure, saying that broad cooperation should be initiated between us on condition that such activities be coordinated at a high level.” 
In response, the CIA accused Iraq of forging the memo. Yet the Los Angeles Times disagrees with the CIA allegation, pointing out that: “The memo is not an obvious forgery, particularly since if Iraqi officials had written it themselves, they almost certainly would have made it far more damaging to US and Kuwaiti credibility.”  There is further evidence demonstrating the memo’s authenticity. When the Iraqi foreign minister confronted his Kuwaiti counterpart with the document at an Arab summit meeting in mid-August, his Kuwaiti colleague found it so sufficiently authentic – and indeed damaging – that he fainted.  And as noted by Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney-General under the Lyndon B. Johnson administration, “many experts affirm that it is genuine. It is telling evidence, documenting the economic warfare waged against Iraq by Kuwait and the United States”. 
There are further reasons to believe that the U.S. encouraged Kuwait not to come to a peaceful compromise with Iraq. Indeed, this is what has been asserted by the head of the Palestine Authority, Yasser Arafat, in relation to the events at an Arab summit in May. Arafat stated that the U.S. pressured Kuwait to refuse any deal when Saddam offered to negotiate a mutually acceptable border with Kuwait at the summit to resolve the issue. “The U.S. was encouraging Kuwait not to offer any compromise which meant that there could be no negotiated solution to avoid the Persian Gulf crisis.” 
Astute observers have noted that Kuwait’s behaviour was plainly irrational and could not have been conducted without external encouragement from a more powerful ally. Dr. Mussama al-Mubarak, a Professor in Political Science at Kuwait University, for instance, commented: “I don’t know what the [Kuwaiti] government was thinking, but it adopted an extremely hard line, which makes me think that the decisions were not Kuwait’s alone. It is my assumption that, as a matter of course, Kuwait would have consulted on such matters with Saudi Arabia and Britain, as well as the United States.” 
The testimony of King Hussein of Jordan, who had been an intermediary in negotiations between Iraq, Kuwait and other Arab states at that time, confirms the U.S. role. American investigative journalist Dr. Michael Emery, using King Hussein as his pre-eminent source, found that:
“Parties to the Arab negotiations say the Kuwaitis... had enthusiastically participated in a behind-the-scenes economic campaign inspired by Western intelligence agencies against Iraqi interests. The Kuwaities even went so far as to dump oil for less than the agreed upon OPEC price ... which undercut the oil revenues essential to cash hungry Baghdad. The evidence shows that President George Bush, British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and other Arab leaders secretly cooperated on a number of occasions, beginning August 1988, to deny Saddam Hussein the economic help he demanded for the reconstruction of his nation.... However, Washington and London encouraged the Kuwaitis in their intransigent insistence.” 
As a consequence, Kuwait adopted a hard-line policy of no-compromise with Iraq, refusing to negotiate and intransigent in the face of Iraq’s threat of using military means to put a stop to Kuwait’s policies. According to senior Kuwaiti officials, this was because the U.S. had already promised to intervene in case of an Iraqi attack. The Kuwaiti foreign minister, who is also brother of the ruling Emir, declared just before the Iraqi invasion: “We are not going to respond to [Iraq]... if they don’t like it, let them occupy our territory... we are going to bring in the Americans.” According to King Hussein, the Kuwaiti Emir commanded his senior military officers to hold-off the Iraqis for 24 hours in the event of an invasion, by which time “American and foreign forces would land in Kuwait and expel them.”  Middle East expert Milton Viorst interviewed both U.S. and Kuwaiti officials for a report in the New Yorker. He was informed by Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Salem al-Sabah that General Schwarzkopf was a regular visitor to Kuwait after the Iran-Iraq War: “Schwarzkopf came here a few times and met with the Crown Prince and Minister of Defense. These became routine visits to discuss military cooperation, and by the time the crisis with Iraq began last year, we knew we could rely on the Americans.” 
Schwarzkopf’s role has been corroborated by other sources, particularly the testimony of a U.S. official in Kuwait who stated: “Schwarzkopf was here on visits before the war, maybe a few times a year. He was a political general, and that was unusual in itself. He kept a personally high profile and was on a first-name basis with all the ministers in Kuwait.”  The American-Kuwaiti plot was also confirmed after the Gulf War. The Kuwaiti Minister of Oil and Finance stated: “But we knew that the United States would not let us be overrun. I spent too much time in Washington to make that mistake, and received a constant stream of visitors here. The American policy was clear. Only Saddam didn’t understand it.”  As Francis Boyle thus notes, reviewing this sequence of events, the United Stated encouraged Kuwait in “violating OPEC oil production agreements to undercut the price of oil to debilitate Iraq’s economy”; “extracting excessive and illegal amounts of oil from pools it shared with Iraq”; “demanding immediate repayment of loans Kuwait had made to Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War”; and “breaking off negotiations with Iraq over these disputes.” In doing so, the U.S. “intended to provoke Iraq into aggressive military actions against Kuwait that they knew could be used to justify U.S. military intervention into the Persian Gulf for the purpose of destroying Iraq and taking over Arab oil fields.” 
When Iraq began preparing for a military incursion into Kuwait, the U.S. did not publicise its official position of willingness to intervene on behalf of Kuwait. Instead the United States presented a green light to Saddam Hussein by consistently asserting a position of neutrality on the issue, contrary to its actual policy. On 25 July, while Saddam’s troops were amassed on Kuwait’s border in preparation to attack, after hearing the Iraqi dictator inform her that Kuwait’s borders were drawn in the colonial era April Glaspie, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, told Saddam:
“We studied history at school. They taught us to say freedom or death. I think you know well that we ... have our experience with the colonialists. We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait... [Secretary of State] James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction.”
On 24 July, Glaspie received a cable from the U.S. State Department directing her to reiterate to Iraqi officials that the U.S. had “no position” on “Arab-Arab” conflicts.  Leading authority on U.S. foreign policy John Stockwell - the highest-ranking CIA official to go public - has conducted an important review of Glaspie’s role and its context in a wider array of U.S. policies.  With regards to the Gulf War, he observes that “the United States and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia lured Saddam Hussein and Iraq” into attacking Kuwait. Saddam Hussein had been “protesting ... formally to every public body” against Kuwait’s U.S.-sponsored policies of ‘economic warfare’ against Iraq. There was no response from the international community.
- Saddam Hussein receiving an encouraging handshake from US Ambassador April Glaspie two weeks before the invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990.
In the summer of 1990 Saddam “called in the U.S. Ambassador, April Glaspie, and asked her what the U.S. position was... on the defense of Kuwait. She did not know she was being tape-recorded, and she told him ten times in the conversation that [the U.S.] had no defense agreement with Kuwait”, adding that “the Secretary of State [James Baker] had ordered her to emphasize this instruction”, and moreover that “she had conferred with the President about it.” Stockwell also points out the crucial fact that then U.S. Congressman Lee Hamilton - member of the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, and now Director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars – concluded that the United States had indeed intentionally goaded Iraq into invading Kuwait: “Congressman Lee Hamilton concluded, from hearings on this, that [America] had deliberately given Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait.” In his own words, Hamilton stated: “We gave him, Saddam Hussein, the green light to invade Kuwait.” 
On 31 July, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, told Congress: “We have no defense treaty relationship with any Gulf country. That is clear... We have historically avoided taking a position on border disputes or on internal OPEC deliberations.” Representative Lee Harrison then asked that if Iraq “charged across the border into Kuwait”, would it be true to say that the United States did “not have a treaty commitment which would obligate us to engage U.S. forces” in the region. “That is correct”, replied Kelly.  Numerous official statements of similar intent were issued by U.S. officials, while indications to the contrary were almost immediately withdrawn and corrected. Indeed, not long before the Gulf War - just after Saddam’s hanging of London-based Observer journalist Farzad Bazoft in 1990 - a group of American senators visited Saddam in Baghdad and assured him that “democracy is a very confusing issue – I believe that your problems lie with the Western media and not with the U.S. government” (U.S. Senator Alan Simpson). Senator Howard Metzenbaum told Saddam: “I have been sitting here and listening to you for about an hour, and I am now aware that you are a strong and intelligent man and that you want peace.”  All these statements of neutrality – and indeed appeasement of Saddam’s Baathist regime - were clearly a misrepresentation of the official U.S. position. While giving Saddam a green light to invade by carefully not showing him a red light, the U.S. covertly assured its Kuwaiti ally that in the event of an invasion, U.S. forces would intervene and expel the Iraqi army from Kuwaiti territory.
Even the mainstream press has been forced to acknowledge how U.S. statements of neutrality were so frequent and non-interventionist in character that they led Saddam to believe he had a green light to invade Kuwait. The Washington Post reported:
“Since the invasion, highly classified U.S. intelligence assessments have determined that Saddam took U.S. statements of neutrality... as a green light from the Bush administration for an invasion. One senior Iraqi military official... has told the [CIA] agency that Saddam seemed to be sincerely surprised by the subsequent bellicose reaction.” 
“State Department officials... led Saddam Hussein to think he could get away with grabbing Kuwait”, concluded the New York Daily News. “Bush and Co. gave him no reason to think otherwise.”  This was clearly the desired outcome. The former French Foreign Minister Claude Cheysson has observed that: “The Americans were determined to go to war from the start,” and Saddam Hussein “walked into a trap”.  A major piece of evidence showing that the U.S. set up the war with Iraq is contained in an impeachment resolution and brief in support by U.S. Representative Henry Gonzalez presented to U.S. Congress and printed in full in the Congressional Record:
“As early as October 1989 the CIA representatives in Kuwait had agreed to take advantage of Iraq’s deteriorating economic position to put pressure on Iraq to accede to Kuwait’s demands with regard to the border dispute.
“… Encouraging Kuwait to refuse to negotiate its differences with Iraq as required by the United Nations Charter, including Kuwait’s failure to abide by OPEC quotas, its pumping of Iraqi oil from the Rumaila oil field and its refusal to negotiate these and other matters with Iraq.
“Months prior to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the United States administration prepared a plan and practiced elaborate computer war games pitting United States forces against Iraqi armored divisions.
“In testimony before Congress prior to the invasion, Assistant Secretary Kelly misleadingly assured Congress that the United States had no commitment to come to Kuwait’s assistance in the event of war.
“April Glaspie’s reassurance to Iraq that the dispute was an ‘Arab’ matter and the U.S. would not interfere.” 
As leading scholar of international affairs and authority on international law, former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsey Clark - who led the Commission of Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal on the Gulf War - thus concludes: “The evidence that this assault was planned for years before Iraq invaded Kuwait cannot be doubted. That a decision to provoke Iraq into an act that would justify the execution of those plans is clear beyond a reasonable doubt …
“It was not Iraq but powerful forces in the United States that wanted a new war in the Middle East: the Pentagon, to maintain its tremendous budget; the military-industrial complex, with its dependence on Middle East arms sales and domestic military contracts; the oil companies, which wanted more control over the price of crude oil and greater profits; and the Bush administration, which saw in the Soviet Union’s disintegration its chance to establish a permanent military presence in the Middle East, securing the region and achieving vast geopolitical power into the next century through control of its oil resources.” 
- Iraqi Surrender at Safwan Airfield in Iraq, 3 March 1991: Visible in the image are Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the commander in chief of US Central Command, along with Saudi Lt. Gen. Khalid Bin Sultan, commander of the Joint ArabIslamic Force, sitting next to him. Accross the table, facing them, are officers from the Iraqi delegation.
This of course brings up the question as to why the U.S. would wish to remove Saddam Hussein from power. The answer to this question may lie in Saddam Hussein’s domestic policies combined with his emerging tendencies towards independence. Although his regime was a dictatorship whose policies were exceedingly brutal against any form of opposition to the Baathist establishment, “in his prewar period”, Saddam Hussein “did more than most rulers in that part of the world to meet the basic material needs of his people in terms of housing, health care, and education”, reports Middle East expert Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco.
“In fact, Iraq’s impressive infrastructure and strongly nationalistic ideology led many Arabs to conclude that the overkill exhibited by American forces and the postwar sanctions was a deliberate effort to emphasize that any development strategy in that part of the world must be pursued solely on terms favorable to Western interests. Saddam Hussein was also able to articulate the frustrations of the Arab masses concerning the Palestinian question, sovereignty regarding natural resources, and resistance to foreign domination. He was certainly opportunistic and manipulative in doing so, but it worked.” 
As similarly pointed out by Head of the Middle East Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, Phyllis Bennis, “the majority of Iraqi civilians enjoyed an almost First World-level standard of living, with education and health care systems that remained free, accessible to every Iraqi and among the highest quality in the developing world.”  This domestic development strategy was combined with a strongly nationalistic ideology that appeared to be intensifying with time.
In February 1990, Saddam made a speech before an Arab summit that certainly seemed to show that his days of subservience to the West could be ending. Condemning the ongoing U.S. military presence in the Gulf, Saddam warned: “If the Gulf people and the rest of the Arabs along with them fail to take heed, the Arab Gulf region will be ruled by American will”, and that the United States would dictate the production, distribution and price of oil, “all on the basis of a special outlook which has to do solely with U.S. interests and in which no consideration is given to the interests of others.” 
Saddam’s demonstration of a developing propensity for independence was almost certainly a crucial factor in the U.S. decision to eventually attempt to eliminate him, or at least cut him down to size. Having developed weapons of mass destruction under U.S. tutelage and being strategically located in the Persian Gulf, any significant moves toward independence from the West by Iraq would signify a threat to U.S./Western domination of Gulf oil, and thereby a wider threat to general U.S. hegemony in the region. When Saddam began manifesting this very propensity it was thus necessary to block that movement before it gained momentum. “With the launch of the allied attacks, the primary showdown pitted one of the most articulate spokesmen for Arab nationalism against the West”, notes Professor Zunes. “Thus, there was real concern, both in the Middle East and beyond, that the United States was using Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait as an excuse to exert a long-desired military, political, and economic hegemony in the region.” 
This has, indeed, been confirmed by the Pentagon itself. A leaked Pentagon draft document stated:
“In the Middle East and Southwest Asia, our overall objective is to remain the predominant outside power in the region and preserve U.S. and Western access to the region’s oil ... As demonstrated by Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, it remains fundamentally important to prevent a hegemon or alignment of powers from dominating the region.” 
IV.III U.S. War-Mongering
According to conventional opinion, Saddam Hussein had not demonstrated any desire to seek a peaceful solution. The truth is quite the contrary. In fact, the Western powers had refused to acknowledge the grievances that had led Iraq to implement its offensive in the first place. President Bush declared that the Iraqi invasion was “without provocation” – an assertion that ignored Kuwait’s U.S.-inspired policies of “economic warfare”.  Despite this, Saddam had made several crucial offers of peace that were rejected outright by the international community, without even a feeble attempt at negotiation. According to the New York Times, the U.S. wanted to “block the diplomatic track because it might defuse the crisis at the cost of a few token gains for Iraq.”  As Stephen Zunes notes: “Unilateral demands are not negotiations. American specialists on the negotiation process felt that the United States wanted a war, given that Washington gave the Iraqis no opportunity to save face.” 
In early August 1990, and once again in October, Saddam made explicitly clear that he was willing to pull Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and allow foreigners to leave the country, in return for the following: control of the Rumaila oil field; access to the Persian Gulf; the lifting of sanctions that had been subsequently imposed; and a resolution of the oil price problem with Kuwait.  There was nothing particularly unreasonable about these conditions.
One Bush administration official who specialised in the Middle East acknowledged that “the terms of the proposal are serious”, describing the package as “negotiable”. Newsday reported that in response to the offer, “some [U.S.] government officials now say that they see some hope of a negotiated settlement.”  The offers were rejected. The 23 August offer, for instance, was simply dismissed by the U.S. administration and virtually blacked out by the mass media. Indeed, at first the State Department “categorically” denied that the offer had even been made; only later was the existence of the offer confirmed by the White House. 
On 2 January 1991, Iraq proposed another peace package, offering to withdraw from Kuwait on condition that the U.S. did not attack Iraqi soldiers as they pulled out; foreign troops left the region; there would be agreement on the Palestine issue and on the banning of weapons of mass destruction in the region. The proposal was described as “a serious prenegotiation position” by a State Department Middle East expert. Other U.S. officials observed that the prospects of the offer were “interesting”.  The proposal illustrated a clear willingness to compromise – Saddam had now dropped the previous Iraqi claims to two Kuwaiti islands and control of the Rumaila oil field. Yet this was barely reported in the mass media.  Western leaders continued to categorically dismiss the possibility of negotiations, instead pushing eagerly for a full-scale offensive. 
U.S. political analyst William Blum, a former State Department official, summed up the U.S. dismissal of all possible peaceful solutions: “The U.S. military and President Bush would have their massive show of power, their super-hi-tech real war games, and no signals from Iraq or any peacenik would be allowed to spoil it.”  As a consequence, the United States, with support from its Western allies, attacked Iraq and imposed a massive military presence in the Gulf region.
- Officially known as Highway 80, the Highway of Death runs from Kuwait City to Basra in Iraq. During the Gulf War (1991), it became the scene of one of the most haunting images of the war.
The whole process allowed Bush to maintain both U.S. military spending and his domestic popularity. The Senate was led to acknowledge that the Iraqi attack “demonstrates the continuing risk of war and the need for advanced weapons”. Concerning the need for continued high military spending demonstrated by Iraqi aggression, Senator Dole remarked: “If we needed Saddam Hussein to give us a wake-up call at least we can thank him for that.”  The Washington Post recorded the legitimacy the war gave to the expansion of the U.S. military-industrial complex:
“Less than a year after political changes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union sent the defense industry reeling under the threat of dramatic cutbacks, executives and analysts say the crisis in the Persian Gulf has provided military companies with a tiny glimmer of hope... The possible beneficiaries of the crisis cover the spectrum of companies in the defense industry.” 
By early October 1990 this “tiny glimmer of hope” was transformed into a massive boost:
“The political backdrop of the U.S. military deployment in Saudi Arabia [in response to Iraq’s invasion] played a significant role in limiting defense cuts in Sunday’s budget agreement, halting the military spending ‘free fall’ that some analysts had predicted two months ago, budget aides said. Capitol Hill strategists said that Operation Desert Shield forged a major change in the political climate of the negotiations, forcing lawmakers who had been advocating deep cuts on the defensive. The defense budget compromise ... would leave not only funding for Operation Desert Shield intact but would spare much of the funding that has been spent each year to prepare for a major Soviet onslaught on Western Europe.” 
Meanwhile, Bush’s approval rating had been boosted to a successful 73 per cent in October 1990. When Bush continued to contradict himself about the actual purpose of the Gulf War, this soon dropped to a meagre 56 per cent.  But once the actual military onslaught against Iraq had begun, by January Bush’s popularity was again soaring at 82 per cent - the highest ever during his presidency.  Yet in spite of his success in duping the American public, beneath Bush’s popularity there was an uneasy awareness that the war was merely an excuse to legitimise U.S. military expansion. James Webb, former Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy, observed that:
“The President should be aware that, while most Americans are laboring very hard to support him, a mood of cynicism is just beneath the veneer of respect. Many are claiming that the build up is little more than a ‘Pentagon budget drill’, designed to preclude cutbacks of an Army searching for a mission as bases in NATO begin to disappear.” 
IV.IV. U.S./Western War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
The U.S.-led attack on Iraq enthusiastically employed a policy of wholesale destruction, which intentionally targeted not only Iraq’s military, but also the entire civilian population. A report by the U.S. General Accounting Office, for instance, explicitly affirms that the Desert Storm air campaign of 1991 was aimed at: “Five basic categories of targets - command and control, industrial production, infrastructure, population will, and fielded forces.” The bombing of civilian infrastructure - including electricity, water, sanitation and other life-sustaining essentials - was intended, according to the report, to “degrade the will of the civilian population.” 
These facts, contrary to the mainstream myth of Western ‘smart’ bombs hitting solely military targets, have been exhaustively documented by Middle East Watch (MEW), affiliated to the international U.S.-based rights monitor Human Rights Watch (HRW). MEW has documented numerous cases of the intentional mass destruction of civilian buildings and areas, such as the bombing of residential areas; crowded markets; bridges while they were brimming with pedestrians and their vehicles; a busy central bus station, all of which occurred largely in broad daylight with no governmental or military structures in the vicinity. 
According to its principal report on the Persian Gulf War, MEW records that “allied attacks appear to have been indiscriminate, in that they failed to distinguish between military and civilian objects…
“[N]umerous witnesses described incidents in which civilian structures, most typically houses in residential areas they lived in or knew well, were destroyed or damaged in areas where they believed there were no conceivable military installations or facilities nearby, including anti-aircraft artillery… [These] accounts suggest that some civilian casualties during the war were not the product of inaccurate bombing - mere misses - but of attacks that, pending convincing justification from the allies, appear to have been indiscriminate.”
A typical example of these policies is the targeting of Basra, “which was largely off-limits to foreign reporters during the air wars, [and] appears to have suffered considerably more damage to civilian structures than Baghdad, where a small international press force was present.” MEW also dissects the pretexts for the targeting of Iraqi civilian infrastructure. Referring to the destruction of Iraq’s nationwide electrical system, MEW reports:
“The apparent justification for attacking almost the entire electrical system in Iraq was that the system functioned as an integrated grid, meaning that power could be shifted countrywide, including to military functions such as command-and-control centers and weapons-manufacturing facilities. But these key military targets were attacked in the opening days of the war. The direct attacks by the allies on these military targets should have obviated the need simultaneously to destroy the fixed power sources thought to have formerly supplied them. If these and other purely military targets could be attacked at will, then arguably the principle of humanity would make the wholesale destruction of Iraq’s electrical-generating capability superfluous to the accomplishment of legitimate military objectives.” 
Indeed, the Allies embarked on purposeful destruction of almost the entirety of Iraq’s civilian infrastructure. Eric Hoskins, a Canadian doctor and Coordinator of a Harvard study team on Iraq, observed that the bombing “effectively terminated everything vital to human survival in Iraq - electricity, water, sewage systems, agriculture, industry, health care. Food, warehouses, hospitals and markets were bombed. Power stations were repeatedly attacked until electricity supplies were at only 4 per cent of prewar levels.”  Hoskin’s team further recorded that:
“The children strive to understand what they saw: planes bombing, houses collapsing, soldiers fighting, blood, mutilated and crushed bodies. The children fight to forget what they heard: people screaming, desperate voices, planes, explosions, crying people. They are haunted by the smell of gunfire, fires and burned flesh.” 
Many Iraqi civilians tried to escape the bombing by fleeing to Jordan, only to be bombarded by air attacks on the highway between Baghdad and Jordan’s border. This included assaults on buses, taxis and private cars with Western cluster bombs, rockets and machine guns. The violence occurred in broad daylight, with no military structures or vehicles in sight, and with targets clearly being civilians. Busloads of passengers were literally incinerated, while civilians evacuating their vehicles fled for their lives; they too were subsequently fired at by tailing Allied planes. 
The 13th February 1991 was probably when the Allies first escalated their bombing strategy to terrorise the Iraqi people. Two missiles launched from a U.S. stealth bomber hit a civilian establishment - an air raid shelter - killing 1,500 civilians, many of them women and children. In response to international concern and outrage, the U.S. claimed that the shelter was a cover for a military outpost. Yet neighbourhood residents insistently pointed out the existence of constant Western aerial surveillance overhead which clearly would have observed the daily flow of women and children into the shelter,  and Western reporters at the site admitted that absolutely no signs of military use could be discovered.  People living in the vicinity informed researchers that it was simply “unbelievable” that the U.S. was unaware of how the shelter was used primarily by women and children coming and going twice a day. Abu Kulud, who lost his wife and two daughters in the bombing, testified: “It was impossible for them not to know there were only civilians in the shelter. Their air [communications] were everywhere.” Similar testimony came from a woman who lost her mother and two sisters: “How could they not know? They had to know. They had the satellite over our heads twenty-four hours a day, as well as photographs the planes took before they bombed.” 
U.S. officials also failed to answer a reporter’s key question at a military briefing, and prevented any form of independent inquiry from taking place:
“Why did they not show the video that showed military personnel going in and out of the bomb shelter? The U.S. military refused to produce the pictures or allow an independent investigation of the incident. Within the space of twenty-four hours the Pentagon announced that its own internal investigation, conducted in secret, of course, was over and the case closed.” 
However, the later testimony of a Pentagon official revealed the duplicity of a U.S. cover-up: The U.S. had known the site was a civilian shelter, but had targeted it to intentionally terrorise the Iraqi people. Brian Becker, Co-director of the Washington-based International Action Center (IAC) - the anti-war organisation founded and headed by former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsey Clark - calls attention to the official’s crucial testimony:
“The U.S. has deliberately targeted Iraqi civilians in the past. During the Persian Gulf war, for instance, the U.S. used two precision or ‘smart’ bombs to destroy the Al-Amariyah bomb shelter in downtown Baghdad... The Pentagon spokesman went on TV in February 1991 to announce that the attack on Al-Amariyah was not an accident. The U.S. was trying to terrorize the population.” 
Francis Boyle provides an accurate summary of the bombing campaign:
“Systematic aerial and missile bombardment of Iraq was ordered to begin at 6:30 p.m. E.S.T. January 16, 1991, in order to be reported on prime time TV. The bombing continued for 42 days. It met no resistance from Iraqi aircraft and no effective anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire. Iraq was basically defenceless. Most of the targets were civilian facilities. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed centres for civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices. In aerial attacks, including strafing, over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, United States aircraft bombed and strafed indiscriminately. The purpose of these attacks was to destroy life and property, and generally to terrorise the civilian population of Iraq. The net effect was the summary execution and corporal punishment indiscriminately of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, of all nationalities and religions. As a direct result of this bombing campaign against civilian life, at least 25,000 men, women and children were killed. The Red Crescent Society of Jordan estimated 113,000 civilian dead, 60% of them children, the week before the end of the war. According to the Nuremberg Charter, this ‘wanton destruction of cities, towns, or villages’ is a Nuremberg War Crime.” 
The Commission for Inquiry for the International War Crimes Tribunal initiated by former U.S. Attorney-General Ramsey Clark elaborates on these horrendous war crimes and crimes against humanity:
“The destruction of civilian facilities left the entire civilian population without heat, cooking fuel, refrigeration, potable water, telephones, power for radio or TV reception, public transportation and fuel for private automobiles. It also limited food supplies, closed schools, created massive unemployment, severely limited economic activity and caused hospitals and medical services to shut down. In addition, residential areas of every major city and most towns and villages were targeted and destroyed. Isolated Bedouin camps were attacked by U.S. aircraft. In addition to deaths and injuries, the aerial assault destroyed 10 - 20,000 homes, apartments and other dwellings. Commercial centers with shops, retail stores, offices, hotels, restaurants and other public accommodations were targeted and thousands were destroyed. Scores of schools, hospitals, mosques and churches were damaged or destroyed. Thousands of civilian vehicles on highways, roads and parked on streets and in garages were targeted and destroyed. These included public buses, private vans and mini-buses, trucks, tractor trailers, lorries, taxi cabs and private cars. The purpose of this bombing was to terrorize the entire country, kill people, destroy property, prevent movement, demoralize the people and force the overthrow of the government.” 
According to a United Nations inspection team in the aftermath of the war, the Western offensive had “a near apocalyptic impact” on Iraq. The country, which “had been until January a rather highly urbanized and mechanized society”, had been bombed into a “pre-industrial age nation”.  It is reasonable to believe that one of the motivations for ruthlessly targeting the civilian population was to encourage desperate citizens to overthrow Saddam Hussein, and institute a new subservient regime. A U.S. Air Force planner declared: “Big picture, we wanted to let people know, ‘Get rid of this guy and we’ll be more than happy to assist in rebuilding. We’re not going to tolerate Saddam Hussein or his regime.’ Fix that and we’ll fix your electricity.” 
This did not mean that the U.S. preferred a popular democratic government to take power. On the contrary, when a popular Shi’ite and Kurdish uprising erupted in Iraq during the Gulf War after President Bush had urged Iraqis to rebel against Saddam’s regime, the revolt was put down by Saddam’s forces with U.S. complicity, as was revealed by a report by Peter Galbraith of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in light of a March 1991 fact-finding mission. Galbraith reported that the U.S. Administration withheld support of the uprising against Saddam Hussein. Noam Chomsky describes the revealing account provided by Galbraith and other sources on the matter:
“Galbraith reported that the Administration did not even respond to Saudi proposals to assist Shi’ite and Kurdish rebels, and that the Iraqi military did not attack until it had ‘clear indication that the United States did not want the popular rebellion to succeed.’ A BBC investigation found that ‘several Iraqi generals made contact with the United States to sound out the likely response if they moved against Saddam,’ but received no support, concluding that ‘Washington had no interest in supporting revolution; that it would prefer Saddam Hussein to continue his office...’ An Iraqi general who escaped to Saudi Arabia told the BBC that ‘he and his men had repeatedly asked the American forces for weapons, ammunition and food to help carry on the fight against Saddam’s forces,’ only to be refused each time. As his men fell back towards US-UK positions, the Americans blew up an Iraqi arms dump to prevent them from obtaining arms, and then ‘disarmed the rebels’.
Reporting from northern Iraq, ABC correspondent Charles Glass described how ‘Republican Guards [Saddam’s army], supported by regular army brigades, mercilessly shelled Kurdish-held areas with Katyusha multiple rocket launchers, helicopter gunships and heavy artillery,’ while journalists observing the slaughter listened to General Schwarzkopf boasting to his radio audience that ‘we have destroyed the Republican Guard as a militarily effective force’ and eliminated the military use of helicopters. Such truths are not quite the stuff of which heroes are fashioned, so the story was finessed at home, though it could not be totally ignored, particularly the attack on the Kurds, with their Aryan features and origins; the Shi’ites who appear to have suffered even worse atrocities right under the gaze of Stormin’ Norman, raised fewer problems, being mere Arabs.” 
Western aversion to the removal of Saddam in this case appears to have been associated with the problem of how to ensure that the Kurdish/Shi’ite rebellion would result in the installation of an appropriately subservient government. There was no guarantee in this regard - the U.S. certainly did not want the Shi’ite Muslims to take power, as had happened in Iran. Hence, the revolt went unsupported.
Western indifference to the plight of the Kurds, rooted in strategic and economic interests, has a long record. The contradiction between the West’s professed concern for the rights of Kurd in Iraq, and Western policy toward Turkey, is one contemporary example of this. Human Rights Watch (HRW), for instance, reports that it “is particularly troubled that throughout Turkey’s scorched-earth campaign, U.S. troops, aircraft and intelligence personnel have remained at their posts throughout Turkey, mingling with Turkish counterinsurgency troops and aircrews in southeastern bases such as Incirlik and Diyarbakir…
“Some U.S. troops are in Turkey on NATO-related duties, while others operate within the framework of Operation Provide Comfort, a no-fly zone in northern Iraq designed to defend Iraqi Kurds from Saddam Hussein’s Air Force... U.S. military and diplomatic personnel have studiously ignored the abusive actions of their Turkish allies. It appears that in return for Turkey’s support for Operation Provide Comfort, the U.S. has agreed not to publicly criticize what Turkey does with its own Kurdish citizens, located directly across the Iraqi border from the zone protected by U.S. warplanes... [E]lements within the U.S. government possess detailed knowledge of the full scope of Turkish abuses as well as the key role played by U.S. weapons.” 
This combination of hypocrisy and complicity can be located in “Turkey’s status as an important NATO ally and as a major base for U.S. troops, including U.S. intelligence units, as well as U.S. nuclear weapons”. In other words, strategic interests far outweigh alleged humanitarian concerns. 
All this is nothing novel and remains consistent with traditional policies. For example, in the early 1970s there was a Kurdish revolt supported by Iran - then ruled by the Shah. The purpose of the revolt as far as Iran and its American masters were concerned was simply to cause trouble for Iraq in accordance with strategic considerations - Iraq was not a U.S. ally at this time. In order to further its strategic interests the U.S. decided to help. The Pike Committee report has made clear that both the U.S. and its Iranian stooge of the time did not want the Kurds to win, and that the uprising was given limited support only to pressurise Iraq to settle a border issue concerning access to the Persian Gulf. Consequently, as soon as Iraq accepted Iranian demands, both Iran and the United States cancelled their support of the Kurdish uprising. A classified report by the House Select Committee on Intelligence that was leaked to the press clarified this matter, stating that U.S. officials:
“… hoped that our clients [the Kurds] would not prevail. They preferred instead that the insurgents simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap [Iraqi] resources... This policy was not imparted to our clients, who were encouraged to continue fighting. Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise.” 
It was in 1975 that aid to the Kurds was suddenly cut off, allowing Saddam to begin slaughtering them immediately. One thousand pesh merga fighters who had surrendered were shot down “in cold blood”, while another five thousand Kurdish women, children and elderly men were slaughtered as they attempted to flee the country. 
Western indifference to the slaughter of Kurds and people of other ethnicities in the non-Western world, is therefore a long-standing reality that continues to this day, because policy is driven not by benevolence, but by elite interests in the maximisation of profits. The massive military presence in the Gulf today, legitimised by the no-fly-zones over Iraq purportedly established to monitor Saddam’s treatment of his people and ensure their protection, in fact plays the role of continuing the war against the Iraqi people. Nearly half of the targets of the ongoing Anglo-American bombing campaign against Iraq, largely blacked out by an unconscionably indifferent mass media, are civilian, not military. Award-winning British journalist John Pilger notes that according to an internal UN Security Sector report, in a single five month period,
“41 per cent of victims of the bombing were civilians in civilian targets: villages, fishing jetties, farmland and vast, treeless valleys where sheep graze. A shepherd, his father, his four children and his sheep were killed by a British or American aircraft, which made two passes at them.” 
Indeed, as IAC Coordinator Brian Becker pointedly remarks:
“The U.S. says it is ‘concerned’ about the Kurds in northern Iraq and the Shiite population in the south. That’s hogwash. Those are the people who are being killed and maimed by U.S. bombs and missiles. The real reason is that the U.S. wants control over these two regions because that is where Iraq’s oil reserves are located. This oil constitutes 10% of the worlds known reserves.” 
It is clear then that a fundamental purpose of attacking the civilian society of Iraq during the Gulf War was politically motivated, and performed with the view to induce a population that could be appropriately subdued into recognising Western superiority, to support the removal of the overly-independent Saddam and bring Iraq back under U.S. sphere of influence.  Western objectives in Iraq were candidly outlined by Thomas Friedman, then Chief Diplomatic Correspondent of the New York Times. Friedman reported that the West’s hope was for Iraqi generals to topple Saddam Hussein, “and then Washington would have the best of all worlds: an iron-fisted Iraqi junta without Saddam Hussein.” In this way, the United States - civilised leader of the “free world” - hoped to recreate the days when Saddam’s pro-West “iron-fist... held Iraq together, much to the satisfaction of the American allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia”, as well as their Western masters. 
This record of Western policy in the Middle East illustrates not only that the concept of Western humanitarian intervention is redundant, but also that the conventional assumptions of mainstream political discourse - in which Western benevolence, concern for human rights, and promotion of democracy are integral aspects of Western foreign policy – are without genuine empirical foundation. Indeed, these assumptions are entirely at odds with the systematically brutal and anti-democratic nature of Western foreign policy under U.S. leadership, as demonstrated in the example of the Middle East. This has broad implications for the terms and foundations of our understanding of international relations. In particular, it brings into question the relevance of the concept of a global “civil society” in understanding the structure of the current world order, which is clearly dominated by the drive for power and profit, and where freedom, democracy and human rights are merely ideological tools manipulated by an elite to veil and justify policies of repression, subjugation and mass terrorisation.