The Gulf War:

Overreaction & Excessiveness

By Hassan A El-Najjar

Amazone Press, 2001

The Root of Subsequent US Invasion of the Middle East

How America was dragged into conflict

 with the Arab and Muslim worlds






     The 1990 crisis that led to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the 1991 Gulf War that followed was not purely regional. Western interests contributed to that crisis through competition for the region's resources, particularly oil and its revenues. The West also supported Kurdish separatism, which contributed to the Iran-Iraq war. Finally, after its war with Iran, the West had perceived Iraq as a regional threat that should be eliminated. This chapter starts with explaining how that Western hegemony developed, particularly British and American oil interests in the area. This is followed by an investigation of how the Kurdish rebellion contributed to the Iran-Iraq war. An important part of the chapter is about the relationship between militarism and war. In particular, there is an examination of the influence of the world military industry on the development of war in the Middle East. 

The Western Hegemony 

     Britain played a major role in shaping inter-Arab and international relations in the Middle East in late 19th century and early 20th century (Chapter I). In conducting their policies in the region, the British represented an industrial core power dealing with its peripheral clientele entities. More commonly known as "protectorates," these entities were created to assist their protectors in their endeavors. When Western European powers succeeded in weakening the Ottoman Empire before World War I and dismembering it after the war, new Western-supported entities emerged. Kuwait became one of these in 1899, as a result of the protection agreement between Britain and the ruler, Mubarak Al-Sabah.[1]

     According to the world-system theory, the world is divided into three main groups. The first represents the "core" developed industrial societies, mainly Western Europe, North America, and Japan. The Second represents the "peripheral" underdeveloped societies in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The third group represents the "semi-peripheral" societies, which try to get rid of their peripheral status, such as Russia, Eastern Europe, and East Asian societies.[2]

     The core industrial societies have maintained their control over the underdeveloped periphery. The objective is to guarantee the procurement of raw materials at the cheapest possible prices, use them in manufacturing finished products, then sell these products back for the highest possible profits. The end outcome has been that as the core continues to develop the periphery remains underdeveloped.[3] The core has been successful, so far, in its endeavor to keep the periphery underdeveloped. This has been facilitated by the creation and protection of local capitalist classes that have collaborated with the core business interests.[4] This explains the dependency of these peripheral clientele classes on their core capitalist protectors. It also helps explain the close relationships Britain has kept with the ruling families of Arabia since the beginning of the 20th century.[5]

     Consequently, it may be argued that there was much at stake for the West to intervene and force Iraq out of Kuwait. It was not just safeguarding the flow of the world supply of oil or liberating a country from the occupation of its neighbor.[6] If that were the case, the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories would have been addressed first. Israel has been occupying the Arab territories since 1967. The U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 have called for the Israeli withdrawal. Resolution 425 called for the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon, which was occupied in 1982. However, the Western powers have never contemplated the notion of forcing Israel out of the Arab territories. Actually, Western interests in Arab oil and its revenues represented one of the major factors that led to the war against Iraq. The oil-exporting Arab states have become more a source of wealth for the ruling classes in the Western core societies than mere a source of oil for Western societies, as usually claimed. The surplus of Arab oil revenues has been systematically transferred to the West in the form of investments, for decades. By 1980, half of the Arab financial surpluses were invested in the U.S.A. and the U.K. In the U.S. alone, Arab investments reached about $100 billion from Saudi Arabia, $55 billion from Kuwait, and $40 billion from the United Arab Emirates.[7] By 1990, the Kuwaiti investments in the West reached about $100 billion.

     The ruling elites in these Arab states are conscious of their dependency on the West. Therefore, they are more than willing to invest their surplus wealth there rather than in their own neighborhood. During the 1990 crisis, the Kuwaiti investments in the West, for example, enabled the exiled Al-Sabah ruling family to pay for the expenses of the government, Kuwaiti refugees, and a large proportion of the war costs. However, much of Al-Sabah's survival was due to their teamwork and their active leadership of the Kuwaiti ruling elite. The same applies to the Saudi royal family, which is unrivaled among the area's ruling elites, in both numbers and organization.[8]

     Prince Khaled Bin-Sultan provides a gripping testimony about the strength of the Saudi royal network during the Gulf crisis of 1990-91. He describes how closely related, integrated, and coordinated were the efforts and activities of members of the Saudi royal family. His description is a tantamount to describing a perfectly organized clandestine political party. He said that:

     "Few countries, and none in the Arab Middle East, can boast of a ruling elite to match that of the Kingdom ... Although the King gave (him) the job of managing the coalition, (he) was a member of a Saudi royal family team, and by no means its most senior member. In the crisis, the royal family acted in unison, displaying a considerable variety of talents under the overall direction of the King. Prominent members of the family -- such as Crown Prince Abdallah, the Ministers of Defense and Interior and their deputies, the Governor of Riyadh, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and those members of the family serving as provincial governors, heads of Royal Commissions, ambassadors, members of national security committees, officers in the armed services and so on -- all had important roles to play in the crisis. The royal network proved flexible and effective and, with the support of many non-members of the royal family in government, the professions and business, the Kingdom looked more solid -- internationally, regionally and domestically -- than any of its neighbors."[9]

     With reference to Iraq, relations between the monarchy and Britain were similar to those linking other Arabian monarchies to their British protectors. After the 1958 revolution, Iraq adopted an independent policy similar to the Arab nationalist policies of Egypt and Syria at that time. However, the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war brought the country back to dependency on the West in general, and on France in particular. The huge quantities of military-industrial equipment that Iraq bought from the core industrial societies set the country back into a long-term client-patron relationship. Bin-Sultan did not miss the opportunity to state that in its trading relationship with France, Iraq was similar to the Gulf states in their trading relationship with Britain, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its trading relationship with the United States.[10] 

British Mail and Trade Interests 

     The British became interested in Kuwait and the Arabian (Persian) Gulf as a result of their need to secure mail and trade routes to India. They inherited these interests from the Portuguese and the Dutch who preceded them in the Gulf area. Initially, Basrah was the main residence of European merchants on the west coast of the Gulf. However, several historical events forced the British to consider Kuwait as a substitute. The first event was in April 1776 when the Persians occupied Basrah following a dispute between Karim Khan, the Shah of Iran, and the Pasha of Baghdad. The Shah accused the Pasha of maltreating Persian merchants and pilgrims. As a result, the British East India Company made Kuwait the southeastern destination of its land mail route instead of Basrah between 1776 and 1779. The company again moved its offices from Basrah to Kuwait between 1792 and 1794, during the Basrah disturbances.[11]

     In December 1821, the British Resident in Basra moved his offices to the Kuwaiti island of Failakah, following disputes with the Ottoman authorities there. Although Kuwait functioned as a substitute to Basrah during these times, the British became more involved in the politics of Arabia as a result of the Egyptian presence there. After the Egyptian ruler, Muhammed Ali, had destroyed the Wahabi Saudis, he kept his troops in Arabia. He also appointed a representative in Kuwait and signed a treaty with Bahrain. The British were unhappy about these Egyptian activities. Therefore, they forced Muhammed Ali to sign the 1841 London agreement according to which Egypt had to withdraw from the Arabian Peninsula, the Gulf, and Syria. The British also became more active in establishing themselves in the Gulf area as a result of the European rivalry on exploiting resources of the Ottoman Empire. In 1872, the Germans proposed their imperialist project of Berlin-Baghdad railroad. In response, a committee in the British House of Commons suggested building a railroad linking Kuwait with Iskenderon, on the Eastern Mediterranean coast. However, the opening of the Suez Canal and the British military occupation of Egypt, in 1882, made the railroad proposals less vital. Finally, as a result of the protection agreement of 1899 and the Iraqi attempts to restore Kuwait at the turn of the century, Britain felt it necessary to confirm its special relations with Kuwait. Thus, in 1903, the Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, visited Kuwait and the other Arab shaikhdoms in the Gulf. The visit resulted in appointing S.G. Knox as the first British Political Resident in Kuwait. Shaikh Mubarak was granted a monthly salary of 100,000 rupees and 500 bags of rice. In return, he agreed in 1904 to limit the mail services to the British authorities. In 1912, he further agreed to allow the British to build a station for telegraph services.[12] 

American and British Oil Interests 

     In 1913, Shaikh Mubarak agreed to show the representative of the British government, admiral Slade, sites of oil in the Burqan area. He also agreed not to give oil concessions to any persons or countries of whom Britain did not approve (Appendix V.A). But, it was his grandson, Shaikh Ahmed Al-Jaber (1921-1950), who signed the final agreement on the actual drilling for oil, in 1934. Four years later, in 1938, oil was discovered but the wells were capped during World War II. In 1946, Kuwait exported about 5.9 million barrels of oil that were sold for $0.76 million.[13] Oil exports and oil revenues have been increasing ever since with a climax between mid-1970s and mid 1980s (Chapter IV).

       The story of oil in Kuwait is an example of the competition and the relentless efforts of the core developed societies to procure cheap raw materials from peripheral underdeveloped societies. The British government became seriously interested in oil explorations in the Middle East in 1913. The British Navy Secretary, Winston Churchill, announced that the Royal Navy intended to own or control oil production in the area in order to guarantee continuous supplies of oil to the British ships. In 1914, the British government bought fifty-one percent of the shares owned by the Anglo-Iranian oil company.

         The American interest in the area started as early as the beginning of the 20th century. The Arab Mission of the American Reform Church reached Kuwait in 1910. The Mission completed building a general hospital in 1914. Then, it built a hospital for women, and two schools. The objective was to have a presence in this potentially oil rich area.[14] By 1920, the American oil companies became interested in the Middle Eastern oil. This interest developed as a result of three main factors. First, the American oil reserves were diminishing. Second, costs of American oil production were high. Third, the American oil companies began to fear that the Anglo-German monopoly over the old world oil production might limit their opportunities in the future. So, in 1922, the largest seven American oil companies started negotiations with the Turkish Oil Company in order to buy some of its concessions. In 1928, the American oil companies became full partners with the Anglo-French oil company, which had a monopolistic oil concession in Iran. The American oil companies then created the Near Eastern Development Company (NEDC) to represent their own interests. At the beginning, the British resisted allowing them to enter the Middle East oil market but after reminding them of America's support during World War I, they conceded. In 1929, British resistance to the U.S. oil interests appeared again on the Bahraini concession but the British backed down for the second time. In 1930, the American Standard Oil Company of California was given an oil concession in Bahrain, which facilitated obtaining other oil concessions in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, later.

     According to the 1899 Anglo-Kuwaiti protection agreement, Kuwait could not give any oil concessions to any company without British approval. In 1930, the British Anglo-Iranian oil company entered negotiations with Shaikh Ahmed Al-Jaber in order to obtain an oil concession in Kuwait. The company was supported and recommended by the British government. At the same time, an American company, known as the Eastern Gulf Oil Company (EGOC), entered negotiations with the Shaikh for the same purposes. However, EGOC could not proceed without obtaining support from the American government to counterbalance the official British support for its British rivals.

     When the United States government intervened, in 1933, the British government allowed the Shaikh to give an oil concession to EGOC. The two rivals then established an Anglo-American company to exploit the Kuwaiti oil. The new company became known as the Kuwait Oil Company (KOC), which was equally owned by the two companies. The 75-year KOC concession covered the whole territory of Kuwait together with its nearby islands. In return, the KOC agreed to pay the Shaikh an initial payment of $142,000, an annual rent of $28,000, and an annual sales tax (royalty) of three rupees ($1) per ton of crude oil. All in all, the agreement was an example of the core monopolistic exploitation of weak peripheral societies. The company had the right to stop or slow down production without reference to the market needs. This explains why large quantities of oil were not exported until 1951, though production started in 1946.[15]

     In 1951, the agreement was changed to give the Shaikh 50 percent of the KOC profits. This was in response to the influence of the revolutionary Musadaq government in Iran. In 1976, the Kuwaiti government gained complete control over the remaining shares of the American and British companies in the KOC. This was made possible by the financial and political strength that OPEC members had from the huge oil revenues that they reaped following the oil embargo of 1973/74. This action, however, did not end the relationship between Kuwait and its Western patrons, the U.S. and Britain. The need for a regular flow of oil continued to be a strategic Western goal. Therefore, in 1987, the United States sent its naval escorts to protect the Kuwaiti tankers from the Iranian attacks. In 1988, the U.S. also agreed to sell Kuwait 40 F18 advanced fighter aircraft, missiles, and other weapons at $1.9 billion. After all, the U.S. government knows that while the U.S. had only about 3.8 percent of world oil reserves, the Gulf area contained about 62 percent of these reserves with an estimated lifespan of more than 100 years.[16] Thus, the Western oil interests enhanced the status of shaiks (rulers) of the Gulf states, including Kuwait. 

Status of Shaikhs 

     Pearl-fishing industry in Kuwait and other Arab Gulf states collapsed in mid 1930s due to the depression in the Western industrialized countries and the development of cultured pearl industry in Japan. As a result, pearl fishing was supplemented by smuggling gold to India, a practice that was conducted by merchants along the whole Arab Gulf coast. During this period, merchants and boat owners enjoyed a higher social status than shaikhs. The relationship between sailors and divers, on the one hand, and merchants and boat owners, on the other, was more like a partnership than a profit-making capitalist enterprise. Fishermen, sailors, and divers were more bonded to merchants and boat owners than to shaikhs, who, nevertheless, benefited from these economic activities through the collection of taxes and tariffs. Only after oil had been exported in the late 1940s, shaikhs became more important than merchants and boat owners. Because of their exclusive access to oil revenues, they became better off and more capable of patronizing people.

       Thus, it was the British colonial policy of giving them protection and exclusive access to oil revenues that elevated shaikhs to the patriarchal status they started to occupy. Shaikhs used to receive people in daily public audience meetings, called majlis. But when they became super rich, they became less accessible to people.[17] This led to the public demand for popular representation in the Kuwaiti government. So, after the political independence in 1961, a constitution was written in 1962 and a National Assembly (parliament) was elected in 1963. However, it was suspended twice, in 1976 an 1986, when some representatives dared to criticize members of the ruling family.[18] But despite the strong relationship between the major Western powers and the ruling elites in the Gulf states, the West did not go to war just to evict Iraq out of Kuwait. Rather, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was an opportunity for the military establishments in the West to enhance their positions in their societies. 


     The 1991 Gulf War was mainly a Western campaign to destroy the military machine that Iraq had bought and built during the preceding fifteen years. The military and industrial equipment that Iraq used in developing its conventional and strategic weapon systems was legally purchased from more than 445 Western companies.[19] Indeed, during the Iran-Iraq war, 1980-1988, Western governments promoted the carnage by encouraging business arms deals. When the war was over in 1988, however, the Western policy makers were a bit uncomfortable with all these weapon systems in Iraq. They were perceived as a potential threat to the security of Israel and to the Western interests in the Middle East.

     The Gulf War has represented a striking example of the historical hegemonic pattern of action that the "core" Western societies have been conducting towards Third World "peripheral" societies. Moreover, the world military industry has been exceedingly aggressive in promoting its products in the region. Western governments have become the official protectors of the region's autocratic and dictatorial regimes. These are easily persuaded to buy weapons to protect themselves from their internal and external opponents. Stockpiling of weapons and expanding military budgets have led to more influence for the military in society (militarism) in the West and the Middle East alike. A major negative consequence of militarism is that the process of militarization deprives underdeveloped societies of the financial resources that are badly needed for development. Even in such developed societies as the United States, the federal government sinks in debt while the military-industrial complex is allotted huge amounts of money as a result of military spending.

     In his Farewell Address in 1961, President Eisenhower warned that the combination of a large permanent military establishment and an immense military-industrial complex may threaten democratic government and the pursuit of world peace. The military-industrial complex may become an independent power in setting priorities in domestic and foreign relations. Funds may be diverted from social programs in order to support the arms build up. With billions of dollars in profits and thousands of jobs at stake, the complex would have a vested interest in world conflict rather than peace. Eisenhower's fears became reality.[20]

       Even in 1992, when the Cold War was over, about 44 percent of the federal tax revenues were spent on the military establishment. This amounted to about $419 billion out of the $944 billion of taxes collected by the federal government.[21] Although direct military spending has started to decrease, it is still claiming the highest percentage of the federal budget. In 1996, out of a total U.S. budget of 1.5 trillion dollars, over 17 percent, or 261 billion dollars, was earmarked for military spending. In comparison, roughly 1.5 percent is allotted for Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and another 14 percent is paid as interest on the national debt.[22]

     The previously bought weapons are destroyed or become outdated when new weapons are developed and manufactured. This opens the door for buying new generations of weapon systems. The purchasing policies of the Pentagon inspired Chuck Spinney to write a Department of Defense brochure titled, "Welcome to the Pentagon." Chuck revealed that the amount of mismatch between President Reagan's spending plans and funding from Congress was about $500 billion. The proposed Reagan defense buildup was going to cost about $500 billion more than Congress and the public had been told. One explanation of these huge extra costs was that:

"Weapon developers, when given a choice, always go for the complex, elaborate solution at the expense of the simple one. Complexity leads to higher costs--purchase costs, operations costs, and maintenance costs."[23]  

       Higher military costs ultimately lead to more national debt. Before President Reagan had taken office, the U.S. national debt was about $900 billion. During his two terms, he increased it to more than $3 trillion. That is why Reagan is adorned by the military-industrial complex.[24] Adopting the same borrow-and-spend policies, President Bush added about $1.2 trillion more to the debt.[25] The U.S. direct military spending during the Reagan and Bush administrations (1981-1993) amounted to about $3.95 trillion, which demonstrates the close relationship between military spending and the national debt. The U.S. military spending to win the Cold War (1945-1991) cost the American people about $12.8 trillion (Table V.1). It represented about 46.2 percent of the personal income of the American taxpayers during these years.[26] While the Cold War and its national debt offspring have been a bonanza for the wealthy and the powerful in the military-industrial complex, they represented a huge burden on taxpayers and meant less spending on the poor. 

     Between 1977 and 1992, the top 1 percent of Americans received 91 percent more income. The top one-fifth of the population increased their income by 28 percent. However, the bottom 40 percent of Americans suffered a decrease of their income. There was actually a 17 percent decrease in the income of the poorest 20 percent of American families. The next poorest fifth of families experienced a 7 percent decrease in their income, during the same period.[27] President Eisenhower summarized it all, on April 18, 1953, when he said:

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, and the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities."[28]

     During the ten-year period extending between 1984 and 1993, the U.S. spent about $3.1 trillion on the military. At the same time, the U.S. other two major Western allies spent about $825 billion for the same purpose (the U.K. about $408 billion and France about $417 billion). Thus, the U.S. spent about 3.7 times more on the military than did Britain and France together.[29] This huge military spending has affected the Third World, particularly oil-exporting countries. Instead of spending their oil wealth on social and economic development, the wealthy states in the Middle East found themselves in competition for the acquisition of weapons. This resulted in the delay of economic development and the accumulation of foreign debts.

     Between 1986 and 1995, the Middle East imported $78.5 billion worth of conventional weapons out of the total $321.1 billion of the world trade. This represented about 24.5 percent of the total world imports of these weapons (Table V.2). Europe and North America exported about $186.2 billion worth of conventional weapons during the same decade. This represented about 58 percent of the world trade in conventional weapons (Table V.3). Russia (previously USSR) exported about $91.5 billion of conventional weapons. During the same period, the world's major four weapon-producing countries (the U.S., Russia, Britain, and France) exported $243.4 billion worth of weapons. This represented about 76 percent of the world arms market.[30]

     The Middle Eastern states have also competed in their military spending. In particular, there were three major factors that influenced armament in the region. The first was the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Arab territories. To maintain its military occupation of these territories, Israel spent about $72.4 billion during the period extending from 1984 and 1994 thus outspending its neighbors altogether. Egypt spent $25.59 billion, Jordan spent $3.66 billion, and Syria spent $31 billion on their military establishments (Table V.4). The Iranian policies represented the second major factor that contributed to tensions in the region, consequently to armament. The Shah's government bought huge quantities of weapons that were used in threatening its neighboring Arab states and occupying Arab islands in the Gulf. Iran's support for Kurdish separatists had left Iraq with little choice but to arm itself to fight the rebels and preserve the unity of the country. Both countries continued to buy weapons to combat each other throughout the long 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War. Between 1984 and 1994, the Iranian military spending reached about $139 billion and the Iraqi military spending reached more than $85 billion. The Iran-Iraq war and its consequences represented the third factor that led to a new cycle of military spending in the region. Fearing the outcome of the war, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states spent about $257.4 billion on their military during the same period, 1984-1995. Saudi Arabia took the lead, spending about $187 billion, followed by Kuwait $31.2 billion, Oman $17.5 billion, the United Arab Emirates 17, and Bahrain $2.3 billion.[31] If military spending is added in all the Middle Eastern countries (including Israel), it amounts to about $622.8 billion (Table V.4).

     The military spending in the Middle East represented about 21 percent of government budget and 17 percent of the general domestic products (GDP). National debt in the region, as a result of military spending, represented 35 percent of exports, in 1981. However, it increased to 113 percent in 1991.[32] All these amounts of money are wasted in efforts and hardware that is of no use for anything except destruction of achievements of the previous generations. Because of this huge military spending, the Middle Eastern region has been deprived of a golden opportunity to catch up in development with the other regions of the world. Moreover, majority of these countries are sinking in debt just like the United States, despite the huge Arab oil wealth. 

The Oil Wealth 

     Islamic countries generally, and Arab states in particular, have been blessed with a huge oil wealth most of which is still stored underground. The total proven Arab oil reserves amount to about 592 billion barrels (bb). According to EIA,[33] Saudi Arabia has the largest reserves (259 bb), followed by Iraq (100 bb), UAE (96.5 bb), Kuwait (94 bb), Libya (29.5), Algeria (9.2 bb), and Qatar (3.7 bb). Using the beginning of the year 2000 oil prices of about $25 per barrel, the Arab oil wealth may be estimated at about $14.8 trillion. However, this figure is expected to be much higher because oil prices are more likely to increase throughout the 21st century. Because oil is a finite resource, it becomes scarcer with more use. Therefore, its prices are more likely to become higher. If the world consumption of oil continues according to the rates of the 1990s, oil-exporting countries may provide the world with this source of energy for most of the 21st century. However, Saudi Arabia may be the only source of the "black gold" in the 22nd century.

     During the 1985-1995 decade (1986 excluded), the major oil-exporting Arab states had about $755 billion of oil revenues. Saudi Arabia was the leader by earning about $310 billion, followed by Kuwait $77.5 billion, U.A.E. $114 billion, Libya $84 billion, Algeria $83 billion, Iraq $58 billion, and Qatar $28 billion. If the Iranian oil revenues ($137 billion) for the same period were added, the Middle Eastern earnings as a whole would reach about $892 billion.[34]

     It is troubling to observe that about 62 percent of what the Arabs and Iranians earned from oil sales, in the same period, was wasted on the military spending ($550 b/$8932 b).[35] The Arab-Israeli arms race, the two Gulf wars, and the military spending in general left every single Arab state in debt. From the total Arab foreign debt of about $304 billion, war-hit states had about 80 percent of that debt.[36] By 1995, Iraq accumulated about $95 billion of debt. The states that confronted Israel (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria) were $65.9 billion in debt. The Palestinian people under the Israeli occupation have suffered the lowest per capita income in the area (about $1,192). Even the super rich six Gulf states had about $44.7 billion of debts. A major consequence was the inability of the oil-rich Arab states to extend their hands with real assistance to other Arab states. As a result, the 241 million people who live in the 22 Arab states do not share much of the oil wealth. In 1995, the gross domestic product per capita income (GPD pc), which is an indicator of a nation's wealth, was so diverse in the Arab states that it is hard to accurately classify these states into groups. In general, three groups emerge in terms of wealth. First, the six Gulf states had an average GDP pc of $13,582. Second, a group of ten other states had an average GDP pc of $3,553. Finally, an impoverished group, that had an average GDP pc of $838. Clearly large gaps of wealth exist between the three groups.[37] Using the 1995 gross domestic product per capita income (GDP pc), the Arab states may be divided into three major groups. The first group is composed of the six Gulf states with an average GDP pc of $13,582. It was $7,104 in Bahrain, $16,900 in Kuwait, $4,680 in Oman, $20,820 in Qatar, $9,510 in Saudi Arabia, and $22,480 in the U.A.E.

    The second group includes ten other Arab states with an average GDP pc of $3,553. It was $1,634 in Algeria, $2,490 in Egypt, $2,000 in Iraq, $4,280 in Jordan, $4,360 in Lebanon, $6,510 in Libya, $3,060 in Morocco, $5,000 in Syria, $4,250 in Tunisia, and $1,955 in Yemen.

     The third group is composed of the impoverished states of Comoros, Djibouti, Mauritania, Palestine, Somalia, and Sudan. These had a GDP pc of $700, $1,200, $569, $1,192, $500, and $870, respectively. The average GDP pc in these states was $838.[38] 

The Kurdish Rebellion 

     The Kurds have played a major role in creating the atmosphere that led to the 1990 crisis and the 1991 Gulf War that followed. Their aspirations for independence coincided with the Iranian and Western attempts to weaken Iraq and keep it diverted from Israel.[39] By 1990, Kurds were about 26 millions, most of them lived in Turkey (13.7 million), Iran (6.6 million), and Iraq (4.4 million). They revolted against these three countries in different times throughout the 20th century trying to get their independence. The Kurdish problem started at the end of World War I. The Western allies heightened their expectations when they promised them autonomy, according to the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. However, they ignored Kurdish aspirations in the Treaty of Loazanne in 1923.[40]

     The Soviet Union supported the Iranian Kurds in establishing a Kurdish republic for less than a year, in 1946. Kurds were used as a bargaining chip to pressure the Iranian government to grant the Soviets some oil concessions. When it did, the Soviets reciprocated by allowing it to crush the Kurdish revolt.[41]

     The Iraqi Kurds revolted against the Iraqi government six times in 1922-23, 1931-32, 1943, 1961-75, the 1980s, and 1991. Just like what Mubarak Al-Sabah did in southern Iraq, Abdul-Salam Barzani did in the north in support for the British military efforts during World War I. He sent his brother Mustafa to attack the town of Uqrah. The Ottomans sent a force that arrested him and he was executed. His brother, Ahmed, became the tribal chief after him. As a reward for their anti-Ottoman activities, Britain allowed Barzanis to expand their influence in the area, starting from 1918. In 1922, the Barzanis were prompted by the British to revolt in an attempt to exert pressure on the Iraqi government to accept the British mandate. They were prompted to revolt again in 1931 to influence the Iraqi government to accept the defense agreement with Britain, which was signed in 1932. The Iraqi government then tried to extend its rule to the north but was faced with Kurdish resistance. In response, the government sent a military campaign that defeated the rebels, most of whom fled to Turkey, including their leaders Ahmed and Mustafa Barzani. However, the government offered them amnesty and they returned, in 1933.[42]

     Following the 1941 Iraqi uprising against the British occupation, the British officer Shooter instructed Mustafa Barzani to revolt in an attempt to keep the Iraqi army busy with the Kurds instead of resisting the British. The revolt started in 1943 but it was crushed by the government. When Al-Sa’id new pro-British Iraqi government took office, the British ambassador in Baghdad sent a letter to Mustafa asking him to end the rebellion. In his reply, Barzani told the ambassador that he would obey his orders "as a child obeys orders of his merciful father."[43] Then, the Barzani forces crossed the borders to Iran to assist in the Kurdish rebellion there. When Tehran restored its rule over the area at the end of 1946, Barzani left to the Soviet Union. He stayed there until 1958 when the Iraqi President, Qassem, welcomed him back home.[44]

     Directly after the 1958 revolution, President Qassem angered the West generally, and Britain in particular, by his claims to Kuwait and Arabistan (Khuzistan),[45] and by Iraq's withdrawal from the pro-Western Baghdad Pact. Moreover, the Iraqi government passed the Law No. 80 which restored to the state all the territories not used by Western oil companies. Although Iran played a major role in assisting the Kurdish revolt, Barzani benefited this time from the support given to him by the British and by the Kurdish feudal lords. They were angry with the government because their lands had been confiscated and distributed among Kurdish peasants, according to the 1958 Land Reform Law. Thus, in September 1961, Barzani led a new Kurdish revolt that continued until March 1975. The revolt was stopped for a little while in 1963, when the Iraqi government offered autonomy to the Kurdish region. Barzani rejected it because it did not include the oil-rich area around Kirkuk.[46] 

     During this stage, the Kurdish rebels received military assistance from the United States and Israel through Iran. The Soviet Union also cooperated with the United States, despite the Cold War, in supporting the Kurds and imposing an arms embargo on Iraq.[47] These foreign pressures led the Iraqi government to reach an agreement with the Iranian government in 1975, in an attempt to end the Kurdish rebellion. The Iraqi Vice President at that time, Saddam Hussain, signed the agreement with the Shah of Iran in Algiers on March 6, 1975. The Iranian government agreed to stop its military assistance to the Kurds and to return the border areas of Zain Al-Qows and Saif Sa'ad, which were occupied during the 1974 clashes. In return, the Iraqi government agreed to stop assistance to the Iranian dissidents, including Arabs of Khuzistan. It also recognized the Iranian sovereignty over the disputed border territory in Shatt Al-Arab. The Agreement established the Thalweg as the new boundary between the two countries.[48] Within weeks, the Kurdish rebellion was over. The 1975 Algiers Accord bound the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP), led by Mustafa Barzani, to stop fighting against the Iraqi government. This prompted a hardline faction, led by Jalal Talibani, to dissent and break away under the name of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), in opposition to the Accord. The PUK engaged the Iraqi government with a low-level guerrilla fighting from 1975 to 1980 when the war broke out with Iran. This gave other Kurdish groups the opportunity to join in the fight against the Iraqi government.[49]

     At the beginning of the Iran-Iraq War, between 1982 and 1984, Jalal Talibani led the PUK in fighting against the government, thus assisting the Iranian military effort. The Kurdish Coalition (KDP and other organizations), led by Masaud Barzani, also assisted the Iranian forces in their attacks on Haj Omran in 1983, on Mawt in 1987, and on Halabjeh in 1988.[50]

     The most recent stage of the Kurdish rebellion was at the end of the Gulf War when President George Bush and Prime Minister John Major called for the overthrow of the Iraqi President. In response, the Iraqi Kurds revolted in March 1991. The Kurdish leaders expected Western assistance and were encouraged by the high desertion rates among the 200,000 Kurdish soldiers in the Iraqi army. However, the new rebellion was crushed in few days. Most Kurdish fighters fled to Turkey and Iran leaving their leaders, Masaud Barzani and Jalal Talibani, almost alone with only bodyguards. On April 10, 1991, President Bush warned Iraq to cease military activities north of the 36th Parallel. The area became known as the Kurdish "Safe Haven."[51] On April 18, 1991, the Iraqi president visited Arbil and declared amnesty to those who participated in the uprising. As a result, the PUK and the KDP started talks with the Iraqi government to implement the Autonomy Law. The talks were suspended because Talabani insisted on controlling the oil-rich area of Kirkuk. The government expressed its disapproval of the Kurdish demands by withdrawing its employees. Then, the Kurdish eight-party coalition challenged the government by holding illegal elections on May 19, 1992 under the American and British protection. The KDP won 45.4 percent and the PUK won 43.9 percent of the votes. On June 4, 1992, the elected "Kurdistan National Assembly" (KNA) held its first meeting in Arbil. On October 4, 1992, the KNA approved a motion calling for the creation of a "federal state within a democratic pluralist Iraq." This was perceived by the neighboring countries as an alarming secessionist step. Therefore, foreign ministers of Iran, Syria, and Turkey met in Ankara to condemn it.[52] 

Israeli and American Assistance to the Kurds 

     Like other independent Arab states, Iraq entered the 1948 war on the side of the Palestinian people. However, unlike these states, it did not sign an armistice agreement to end the state of hostilities with Israel after the war. The Israelis supported the Kurdish rebellion in an attempt to weaken Iraq and pressure it to accept the status quo. The Kurds were also used to assist in the effort of helping Iraqi Jews immigrate to Israel. Finally, Israel was looking for oil concessions in northern Iraq in case the Kurdish rebellion would become successful.

       The first Israeli contacts with Barzani were in 1962 when Shimon Peres met in Geneva with his representative, Kameran Ali Badirkhan, during the International Socialist Convention. In 1963, two Israeli military officers arrived at northern Iraq to train Kurdish rebels. In 1965, the first group of Kurdish officers arrived at Israel for training and Israeli arms supplies started to arrive to the Barzani forces. At the end of 1966, the Israeli Deputy Minister of Finance, Arieh Eliav, visited Barzani in northern Iraq with an Israeli military and civilian delegation.[53] In gratitude for that assistance, Barzani sent a cable to the Israeli leaders in 1967 congratulating them on their victory over the Arabs. Actually, the Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin admitted that Barzani assisted the Israeli war efforts. He launched a large-scale offensive during the 1967 War in an attempt to prevent the Iraqi troops from supporting the Syrians and Jordanians.[54] 

       Then, Barzani visited Israel for the first time, in 1968. There, he met several Israeli leaders such as Levi Ashkol, Abba Iban, Moshe Dayan, Shimon Peres, Golda Meier, and Menachem Begin. He also met with the editors-in-chief of Israeli newspapers. The meeting was secret in the sense that the editors were allowed to know about the Israeli support for the Kurdish rebellion but were not authorized to write about the visit itself, at that time.[55] In 1971, the head of the Mossad, Zevi Zamir, visited Barzani to arrange smuggling more Iraqi Jews out of Iraq. When Barzani visited Israel for the second time in 1973, he also met with major Israeli leaders: Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon, Menachem Begin, and the Mossad chief, Zevi Zamir.[56] In addition to military aid and training, Barzani personally received an Israeli monthly subsidy of $50,000.[57]

     Between 1970 and 1973, Masaud Barzani helped about five thousand Iraqi Jews immigrate to Israel through Iran. In 1973, his father Mustafa announced that if he would control the oil fields in Kirkuk, he would ask an American company to operate them. He died in 1979, two years after coming to America. When he first arrived in 1977, he received Stephen Solarz, member of the U.S. House of Representative from New York. Barzani expressed to him his gratitude to Israel and asked him to convey the message to the Israeli leaders.[58]

     The American involvement in the Iraqi internal affairs came as a reinforcement of the Israeli-Iranian efforts to weaken Iraq. At the beginning of the 1961 rebellion, Barzani took refuge in Iran. There, he received a radio station, a printing facility, intelligence, weapons, training, and military advice. Iran also functioned as a bridge for passing Israeli and American assistance to the Kurdish rebels. Barzani received a $14 million from the United States, in 1969. The objective was encouraging him to continue his revolt in order to keep the Iraqis occupied, away from threatening the U.S. allies in the region. However, the U.S. did not want the Kurds to prevail either, just to sap the resources of Iraq. If they succeeded, they would threaten the stability of Iran and Turkey.[59]

       The U.S. renewed its assistance to the Kurds following the Iraqi nationalization of the oil industry. The Nixon administration hoped that the Kurdish rebellion might contribute to changing the Iraqi regime into another one that may allow the return of the U.S. oil companies to the country.[60] In 1972, the Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, visited Iran to coordinate the Iranian-Israeli policies towards Iraq. Few days later, President Richard Nixon visited Iran after his meeting with the Soviet leader, Leonid Brezhnev, in Moscow. Nixon agreed with the Shah that it was necessary to keep Iraq busy with the Kurdish problem for two reasons. First, this would enable Iran to play the policeman role in the Gulf area. Second, it would weaken Iraq enough so that it could not support other Arab states in their attempts to liberate their territories from the Israeli occupation. When President Nixon came back to Washington, he sent the Secretary of the Treasury, John Connally, to Tehran carrying with him $16 million to Barzani. This was followed by a visit to Washington by a Kurdish delegation to negotiate the types of assistance the rebels needed. The American involvement in the Kurdish problem continued after that through correspondence between Barzani and the U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger.[61]

     On March 11, 1974, the Iraqi government passed the Autonomy Law, which was rejected by Barzani within two weeks. He was advised to do so by American and Iranian officials.[62] Instead of accepting autonomy, he led about 100,000 men in attacking the government posts and the pro-government Kurdish tribes. The government responded by a counter-attack but quickly realized that the rebels were better trained and equipped than before. This led the Iraqi leaders to come to the conclusion that an understanding with Iran was becoming the only way to end the Kurdish rebellion. Consequently, the Algiers agreement between Iran and Iraq was signed on March 6, 1975. Two days later, the government forces started a campaign that continued for a week resulting in putting an end to the Kurdish rebellion. Barzani realized that he was just a bargaining chip in the hands of the Iranians to pressure Iraq for concessions in Shatt Al-Arab and the Gulf area. He accepted cease-fire on March 21 after the withdrawal of the Iranian regiment, which participated in the fighting alongside his forces. The Iranian military assistance stopped and Radio Kurdistan, which was broadcasting from Iran, went off the air. Finally, he crossed the border to Iran together with some members of his family and aids. The Iraqi government fulfilled its promise of the Kurdish autonomous rule in northern Iraq and several KDP leaders served as members of the Kurdish cabinet.[63]

The Iran-Iraq War 

     As a result of the 1975 Algiers Accord, Iraq began to be perceived by the United States as a friendly country. This was reinforced by the Iraqi increased opposition to the Soviet influence in the region. Iraq criticized the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan at its early stages in December 1979. Iraq also supported Saudi Arabia in its dispute with the socialist government of South Yemen, in March 1980. When the Iranian-Iraqi relations started to deteriorate, in July 1980, the Iraqis communicated their position to the American administration during a high-level meeting held in Amman, Jordan, between Zbigniew Brezezinski and a high-ranking Iraqi official.[64] It was important for the Iraqis to let the Americans know about the Iranian violations of the 1975 Algiers agreement because they did not want to be perceived as the aggressor, later on. As a result, Brezezinsky expressed America's understanding of the Iraqi position.

     In general, the American-Iraqi positions towards major issues of stability in the Middle East were not in conflict. However, a main disagreement between the two countries was about the Iraqi position from the Camp David Accords. In November, 1978, the ninth Arab Summit Conference was held in Baghdad during which Iraq led the Arab states in condemning the Egyptian-Israeli agreement because it was perceived as compromising Arab rights. Nevertheless, throughout most of the 1980s, Iraq was still classified as a friendly country. By the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988, the American position had changed to considering Iraq as a regional threat. Developments of the war and the way it ended may explain the change in the American policy towards Iraq.

     Relations between Iran and Iraq started to deteriorate as soon as the Islamic Republic was declared in February 1979, according to the former Iranian President Abu Al-Hassan Bani Sadr.[65] The revolution started new ideological, territorial, strategic, political, and personal disputes with Iraq.[66] Imam Khomeini was still bitter because of the position of the Iraqi government towards him in 1978. He arrived at Iraq in 1964 after his expulsion from Iran because of his opposition to the Shah's government. He agreed not to do any activities that may be perceived by the Iranian government as an intervention in the Iranian internal affairs. However, at the climax of the Iranian revolution in 1978, he was identified as its leader. The Iraqi government could not afford violating the 1975 agreement with Iran, which ended the fourteen-year-long Kurdish rebellion. Therefore, Khomeini was asked to stop his activities or leave Iraq. He chose to leave to France where he could lead the revolution freely. When he returned to Iran as the leader of the revolution in 1979, he was still bitter towards Iraq. When the Iraqi President, Ahmed Hassan El-Bakr, sent him a cable congratulating him on the success of the revolution, Khomeini sent back a hostile reply. This was followed by the Revolutionary Guards' demonstrations in front of the Iraqi Embassy in Tehran. The Iraqi Consulate in Khorramshahr was attacked four times by demonstrators in October and November 1979. Finally, the Iranians sacked the Consulate, confiscated its diplomatic documents, and deported its employees. Iraq reciprocated by closing the Iranian Consulates in Basrah and Karbala. The Iraqi schools in Iran and the Iranian schools in Iraq were also closed as an escalation of the conflict between the two countries. Then, a wave of hostile statements started to be heard from the Iranian officials that expressed their intentions to export the revolution to the neighboring Arab states.

     In December 1979, Abu Al-Hassan Bani Sadr, then Iranian Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, attacked Arab nationalism describing it as un-Islamic. On March 1980, he declared that the Arab Gulf states were not independent. Therefore, Iran would not return the three islands of Abu Mussa, Tunb Al-Kubra, and Tunb Al-Sughra to the United Arab Emirates.[67] On March 31, 1980 Imam Khomeini declared, in a speech read by his son, Ahmed, that Iranians had to do whatever they could to export the revolution to other parts of the world.[68] On April, 2, 1980, the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Sa'dun Hammadi, protested against these statements in two letters sent to Fidel Castro, President of the Sixth Conference of the Non-aligned Countries, and Curt Valdheim, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organization. However, the anti-Iraqi campaign continued in the Iranian government-controlled media.

     On April 8, 1980, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Sadeq Qutub Zadeh, stated that both Aden and Baghdad belonged to Persia. Imam Khomeini mentioned, in the same day, that Iran would demand the restoration of its sovereignty over Baghdad if Iraq continued its demands of the Iranian withdrawal from the three Arab Gulf islands. Then, he ended his speech by calling upon the Iraqis to revolt and overthrow their government. His Foreign Minister reiterated on the following day, April 9, that his government decided to overthrow the Iraqi regime. On April 15 and 18, Ayatollah Sadeq Rouhani warned Iraq and other Arab states to stop their demands of an Iranian withdrawal from the Arab islands otherwise Iran would demand sovereignty over Bahrain. On April 30, Zadeh even included all Arab states on the western coast of the Gulf as historically Iranian territories.

     The official Iranian anti-Iraqi campaign was not conducted in the media only but was also echoed by some hostile actions inside Iraq. On April 1, 1980, an Iranian-backed Iraqi opposition group, Al-Da'wa Party, planted a bomb in the Baghdad University of Mustansiriyah. The bomb was targeting Tariq Aziz, member of the Revolutionary Command Council and the Deputy Prime Minister. The investigation showed that Al-Da'wa Party had enough money and weapons to destabilize the country. The Iraqi government responded by deporting the Iranians out of Iraq. On April 12, another member of Al-Da'wa Party attempted to assassinate the Iraqi Minister of Culture and Media, Latif Nassif Jassem.[69]

     Tensions on the borders between the two countries escalated, too. Between February 23, 1979 and July 26, 1980, the Iranian forces conducted 244 land, air, and naval violations and attacks against Iraq. These included shelling Iraqi border posts, capturing border guards, intercepting civilian aircraft, and attacking foreign and Iraqi ships and boats in Shatt Al-Arab. The Iraqi authorities sent 240 memoranda to the Iranian government, through the Iranian embassy in Baghdad, recording these violations and their consequences. Similar memoranda were sent to the regional organizations of the Arab League and the Islamic Conference Organization. Nevertheless, fighting escalated across the borders. On July 28, the Iranian attack on the Iraqi Sheeb border post was massive and caused unprecedented damages. By August 27, 1980, there were real battles in most border posts, in which Iran used land-land missiles for the first time. On September 4-16, several air and naval battles broke out when the Iranian artillery shelled the Iraqi cities of Khaniqin, Zirbatiyeh, and Montheriyeh together with the facilities of Khana Oil and the junctions of Mendali and Mustafa Al-Wand. The Iraqi forces bombed the Iranian cities of Qasr Shirin and Mahran and occupied the territories of Zain Al-Qows and Saif Sa'ad, which Iran had not yet returned to Iraq, according to the 1975 agreement. The battles resulted in many deaths, injuries, and damages in both sides.

     In an emergency session of the Iraqi National Assembly (the Parliament) to discuss the border battles on September 17, 1980, the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussain, announced Iraq's abrogation of the 1975 treaty with Iran. In particular, he mentioned that Iran violated the treaty first by its intervention in the Iraqi internal affairs, its support for the Iraqi opposition Da'wa Party, and not returning the Iraqi territories of Zain Al-Qows and Saif Sa'ad, as stated in the treaty. More important was that the 1980 border battles, which broke out along the borders, represented a striking violation of the treaty.[70]

       In fact, Iraqis perceived the treaty with the Shah's government as a sort of blackmailing. The Iraqi government had to give up sovereignty over half of Shatt Al-Arab in return for stopping the Iranian support for the Kurdish rebels (Appendix V.B). Thus, the first consequence of canceling the treaty was considering all Shatt Al-Arab waterway again as an Iraqi territory. This required ships to fly the Iraqi flags. When that happened, it triggered Iranian attacks and Iraqi counter attacks.[71] 

Stages of the War 

     The Iran-Iraq war passed through four main stages. The first stage extended from September 1980 to June 1982. Iraq was on the offensive and Iran was on the defensive. Iraq occupied about 5,400 square miles of the Iranian territory, including the country's most important port, Khurramshahr. Iran demanded the unconditional Iraqi withdrawal and compensation for civilian and military costs. A U.N. resolution was passed calling for a cease-fire but not for a withdrawal. Iran did not accept it and continued the war despite efforts of the Algerian mediator, Muhammed Bin-Yahya, who lost his life in a plane crash over Turkey during negotiations. Imam Khomeini insisted that there could be no peace or compromise with Iraq. When Iran recaptured Khurramshahr on May 24, 1982, Iraq announced a unilateral withdrawal from the Iranian territories. The Iranian leaders responded by calling openly for the invasion of Iraq.

     The second stage of the war extended from July 1982 to January 1984. Iran was on the offensive adopting "human-wave" tactics to occupy Iraqi territories. However, the Iranian offensive failed to occupy major territories or to destabilize the Iraqi government. In October 1982, Iran rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire accompanied by a mutual withdrawal. The Iranian leaders demanded the unconditional surrender of Iraq and the punishment of the Iraqi leaders.

     The third stage of the war extended from February 1984 to February 1987. Each party inflicted heavy casualties and losses on the other but without an apparent victor. Therefore, this stage may be described as a stalemate. The Iranian human-wave offensives continued resulting in the occupation of parts of southern Iraq but without seriously affecting the Iraqi military capabilities. Iraq had the upper hand in the air and sea. Iraq launched more missile attacks on the Iranian cities and caused more damages to Iranian ships and tankers carrying Iranian oil, in the Gulf. Iran responded by attacking Kuwaiti tankers, as Kuwait was an ally to Iraq. Kuwait reacted by asking the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. for protection from these attacks. The Soviets leased three of their tankers to Kuwait and the U.S. agreed to reflag and escort eleven Kuwaiti tankers. To end the stalemate, Iran tried to acquire new weapons from the U.S. The climax of the American-Iranian negotiations was during a visit by Robert McFarlane, President Reagan's National Security Advisor, to Tehran in May 1986. This resulted in the arms-for-hostages deal that became more known as the Iran-Contra scandal.[72]

     The fourth and final stage of the war extended from March 1987 to July 1988, when Iran accepted the U.N. cease-fire resolution. In this stage, the United States, Soviet Union, and many European countries became directly involved in the efforts to end the war and minimize its effects on the Gulf oil supplies. Iran responded to the American escorting of Kuwaiti tankers by sowing the Gulf with mines. As a result, the U.S. and other European countries became more involved in mine-sweeping. In July 1987, the U.S. led the U.N. Security Council to pass Resolution 598, which called on Iran and Iraq to begin negotiating a peaceful settlement. The resolution was binding with a mechanism to impose sanctions on the party that would reject it. The peace plan was to be implemented in eight steps beginning with a cease-fire. While Iraq accepted the resolution as it was, the Iranian response was neither acceptance nor rejection. Instead, Iran announced that it needed more time to study the order of the eight steps. In particular, Iran called for the simultaneous implementation of the first step (cease-fire) and the sixth step (establishment of a committee to determine which country had started the war). The Iranian reluctance to accept the resolution triggered an Iraqi escalation of the war. Starting from February 1988, Iraq used hundreds of missiles that reached the main Iranian cities, including Tehran. In the battlefront, Iraq intensified the use of chemical weapons. The missile attacks and the chemical weapons demoralized civilians as well as armed forces. When Iraq launched its ground offensive, the Iranians abandoned their positions en masse.[73] 

The West and the Iran-Iraq War 

     The Western countries did not like the Iranian revolution from the beginning. It overthrew the pro-Western Shah government and identified itself as anti-Israel.[74] Iraq also was anti-Israel as it led the Arab states in rejecting the 1978 American-brokered peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Thus, when the war broke out between Iran and Iraq in 1980, the West looked at it as a war involving two of its enemies. The American credo towards the war was "neither victor nor vanquished." This meant leaving the two countries engaged in a devastating war for about eight years. In spite of some efforts to reach a cease-fire in the United Nations, the genuine Western position was selling arms to both sides.

     The eight-year Iran-Iraq war was a bonanza for the world military industries, particularly in the West. About thirty-nine countries sold arms to both sides. The arms brokers and weapon manufacturers made sure that both countries were getting enough bullets, bombs, mines, and rockets. Iran received weapons from Israel, Italy and Britain as early as the start of the war. This allowed the Iranians to launch their counter attack during the second stage of the war. The United States started selling Iraq weapons at the early stages of the war, as well. The Lebanese broker Sarkis Soghenalian mediated a helicopter deal. At the end of 1983, Iraq received the French-made Super-Etendard planes. These were used in attacking the oil tankers in Iran's oil terminal, Kharg Island. Then, Iraq began to receive loan guarantees to buy American agricultural products, particularly wheat and rice. In 1983, Saheeb Al-Haddad of Nashville, Tennessee, exported variety of commodities to Iraq, including those used in manufacturing chemical weapons. In December 1983, Iraq attacked the Iranian troops occupying parts of Southern Iraq with Mustard gas, which contributed to the Iranian defeat there. In 1984, Iraq used poison gas again to liberate the Majnoon Islands, Southeast of Basrah, from the Iranian troops.[75]

     During the third stage of the war, Iran occupied the Iraqi Faw Peninsula, in 1986. Moreover, in December 1986 and January 1987, the Iranians attacked Iraq again in what they called "the Karbala Offensive." This attack was made possible by the American and other Western arms that Iran received (directly or through Israel) in return for releasing the Western hostages in Lebanon. During the final stage of the war, Iraq used missiles and chemical weapons to force Iran to accept the U.N. cease-fire resolution. Starting from February 29, 1988, Iraq launched 189 ballistic missiles against Tehran and five other Iranian cities.[76] The missile attacks brought the war to the Iranian hinterland thus contributing to ending the war. The Iraqi surprise attack on the Iranian troops occupying the Faw Peninsula also contributed to ending the war. The Iraqis used their new nine-ton bomb, called "Nassr." The blast was so powerful that the Iranians thought that it was an atomic bomb. Moreover, they bombarded the Iranian troops with chemical artillery shells, which led to the Iranian acceptance of the U.N. cease-fire resolution, in July 1988.[77] 

     The Iraqi losses reached about 150,000 deaths and about 250,000 injuries. The economy lost two decades of development, one for the war and another for reconstruction. War damages in the Iraqi infrastructure were estimated between $200 billion and $500 billion. Iran suffered even more deaths and injuries and about $200 billion of property damages. The Iraqi debt reached about $95 billion, $35 billion of which was to the Arab Gulf states.[78] However, some experts estimated the number of casualties on both sides as high as one million deaths and three million injuries. In addition, the war resulted in tens of thousands of prisoners of war, millions of the homeless, and inestimable human suffering.[79]

     The long war also led to the absorption of Arab wealth and to the decline in oil prices, which reached as low as $8 per barrel in 1986. That decline, by turn, led to overproduction then to more decline in prices thus reaching the crisis stage of 1990. Concerning the Arab-Israeli conflict, the war distracted Iraq away from the conflict and made the Iranian desire to support Arabs unrealistic. At the same time, it gave Israel the opportunity and resources to develop its nuclear research and arsenal. Further, it allowed Israel to enter the space age by participation in Eurica and SDI projects. Finally, it allowed Israel to perform seven cuts on its defense budget and to channel resources to research and manufacturing of the Lavi aidcraft, the Merkava tank, and the Saar missile.[80] 

A Threat to Western Interests 

     By the time the war stopped in 1988, Iraq had assembled a huge war machine that included conventional, chemical, and biological weapons. In addition, there was a potential for developing nuclear capabilities. This represented a threat to the Western military interests. The region's societies may not be interested in buying new weapons, as the perceived Iranian danger was no longer there. Moreover, the Iraqi military industry together with the Egyptian military industry have reached a level of development that may satisfy the regional needs for some weapon systems. This meant an emerging Arab military industry that the Western military industries, particularly the French, could not afford to ignore.

     Between 1975 and 1990, Iraq bought about $20 billion worth of French weapons. During the war, France became the major arms supplier to Iraq. Therefore, after the war, it was unhappy to see the country trying to develop its own weapon systems. When General Maurice Schmidt, the French Chief-of-Staff, visited Baghdad during the Arms Fair of 1989, he saw several Iraqi weapons developed out of French weapons. He commented on that publicly later on, after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He said that it was there, at the Baghdad Arms Fair, that he first began to wonder whether France had gone a bit too far with Iraq. He added that his country "had better begin paying closer attention to what the Iraqis were developing in the way of armament."[81]

     By 1990, the Western countries became worried about how Iraq was going to conduct itself after its war with Iran. The Iraqi armed forces came out of the war intact. However, the country was heavily burdened with debts. One possibility was that Iraq might start exporting arms, as a way out of its financial crisis. The Arab Middle Eastern countries may prefer to buy some of the military equipment they need from Iraq, a fellow Arab state, rather than from foreign countries. Moreover, the Western countries were worried about an Iraqi regional hegemony in which Iraq may dominate the Arab Middle East and threaten Israel. For all these reasons, the Western military establishments did not like these developments in Iraq.[82] Soon, the country was officially portrayed by the Western military leaders as the new source of danger after the Soviet danger had weathered away. It was during this period, when the American Central Command pointed to Iraq as the new regional enemy and began to draw its strategic planning accordingly.[83]

     Finally, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warso Pact threatened to end the Cold War bonanza that the Western military industries enjoyed for about half a century. They were desperate to show once more that the world was not yet a safe place to live in without strong defense systems. The 1990 Iraqi-Kuwaiti dispute provided Western politicians with a golden opportunity to rally behind these military industries. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was used to convince public opinion that it was a dangerous conflict with global dimensions. The 1991 war that followed led to the use and destruction of huge quantities of weapons. This gave defense departments in the West the justification for the continuation of the military spending. Thus, the 1991 Gulf War injected new life in the Western military industries and guaranteed that they would still be thriving for many years to come. The Cold War I is over but the Cold War military spending is not, and the relentless effort to find Cold War II may continue for some time to come.


     The defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I led to the division of the Arab homeland among the victorious Western allies. As a result, the Western economic control over the area followed the European military occupation. It was first expressed by British and American oil concessions in the 1930s, then by linking the economies of Arab states to Western economies. The dependency of local ruling elites on their Western protectors led them to invest most of the oil revenues in the West. This has kept the region underdeveloped and the gap growing larger between the "haves" and the "have-nots."

     The core industrial societies were not content to just receive Arab oil revenue surpluses in the form of investments. In addition to that, they received more of the oil revenues in the form of weapon purchases and services. Military spending in the industrial societies since the early 1980s led to burdening these societies with debt and depriving the working classes of the fruits of their labor. It also hurt underdeveloped societies of the Middle East by forcing them to buy unnecessary weapon systems instead of investing oil revenues in their economies.

     Iraq is an example of what happened to other Arab states. Successive Iraqi governments were pushed from one war to another throughout the 20th century. The Kurdish rebellion kept the Iraqi governments involved in military campaigns and peace initiatives to end it. Iranian militarism, under the Shah, was induced by the American encouragement for Iran to play the role of the policeman in the Gulf area. Israeli military strategy led to the cooperation with Iran in providing assistance to the Kurdish rebels in an attempt to keep Iraq away from the Arab-Israeli conflict. This assistance forced Iraq finally to accept the 1975 agreement with Iran, in which it gave up its sovereignty over half of Shatt Al-Arab. The Iranian attempt to export the revolution to Iraq led to the Iraqi abrogation of the 1975 agreement and the 1980-88 war between the two countries. When, finally, the Iran-Iraq war was over, Iraqis looked up to their Arab neighbors for assistance in reconstruction. However, a new dispute developed between Iraq and Kuwait and that led to the 1990 crisis (Chapter VI) and the devastating 1991 Gulf War that followed.

     Thus, throughout the 20th century, the Iraqis were forced to spend most of their resources, particularly oil revenues, on the military in order to combat the Kurdish rebels and their Iranian supporters. Western interests, as expressed by oil concessions, oil revenues, military spending, and protection of local allies, played a major role in these developments in the region.




Appendix V. A 

Undertaking of Shaikh of Kuwait for Britain

Concerning Oil*


     I have cordially received your letter dated on the 26th of Dhul Qi'da, 1331 (October 27, 1913),** in which you referred to our conversation of yesterday. It is desirable that you inform the British Government that we approve of the coming of His Excellency the Admiral. If the Admiral honors (arrives at) our country, I will send one of my sons to accompany him, to be in his service, and to guide him to the oil site in Burqan and other places. If they decide to obtain oil from there, we will not grant any concession in this matter to any person other than whoever is appointed by the British government. We found that (writing this letter) necessary. I hope that you will continue caring for us and may God protect you.


                                  Shaikh Mubarak Al-Sabah

                                  Dhul Qida 26, 1331.

                                  (October 27, 1913)


* The Arabic original copy of the agreement was published

  in Al-Shamlan (1959: 326-27).

** The Gregorian date is added.


Appendix V. B

 Background to the 1975 Iran-Iraq Agreement


     In his address to the Iraqi National Assembly on September 17, 1980, the Iraqi President, Saddam Hussain, told the story of signing the 1975 treaty between Iran and Iraq. He mentioned that there were two major factors that led Iraq to reach and sign that agreement. First, the Iraqi government concluded that Iran had played a major role in assisting the 1974/75 Kurdish rebellion. In order for Iraq to end the rebellion completely Iran had to be neutralized. Second, there was an earlier need to reach an agreement with Iran. Iran also had to be neutralized if Iraq would actively participate in defending the Arab homeland against the Israeli expansionist policies.

     The battle to end the Kurdish rebellion lasted about twelve months between March 1974 and March 1975. The Iraqi losses were more than sixteen thousand casualties and injuries. The civilian losses exceeded forty-four thousand casualties and injuries. The Iranian forces played an important role in assisting the rebels. Sometimes, they participated in fighting beside them, other times they conducted military exercises along the borders with Iraq in an attempt to distract the Iraqi forces from the battles against them. Throughout the fighting, they provided a continuous supply of weapons to the rebels. At the same time, the Iraqi equipment and ammunition started to decrease dramatically to the extent that heavy artillery ammunition were about to finish and there were only three heavy aircraft bombs. 

     When Egypt and Syria started the October 6, 1973 war to liberate their occupied territories, Iraq was caught by surprise. Otherwise, it would have sent its forces to the front earlier. However, Iraq could not afford being a spectator. In order for its forces to leave to Syria while the borders with Iran are safeguarded Iran had to be neutralized. Therefore, the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council issued a statement on October 7, 1973 offering Iraq's readiness to resolve its problems with Iran peacefully. The statement eventually expressed Iraq's readiness to consider Iran's demands in Shatt Al-Arab. The Iraqi troops then moved to Syria and participated actively in defending Damascus and stopping the Israeli counter attack. In 1975, the Algerian President Hawari Boumedian mediated between Iran and Iraq in order to resolve their problems through direct negotiations. The negotiations ended by singing the agreement on March 6, 1975. Iraq agreed to concede half of Shatt Al-Arab to Iran by expanding the Iranian borders to reach the Thalweg line. In return, Iran agreed to return the Iraqi territories of Zain Al-Qows and Saif Sa'ad. Iran also agreed to stop its support for the rebels in the north who ended their rebellion and surrendered immediately. The leaders of the rebels, the Barzani family, left for the United States to stay there. In 1979, the new Iranian government invited them to come to Iran. They accepted the invitation and made headquarters in Iran, which was a major violation of the 1975 agreement (Al-Farzali, 1982: 219-227).






YEAR    $    YEAR    $    YEAR    $    YEAR    $

1945  922.8  1958  295.7  1971  307.9  1984  312.1

1946  519.0  1959  288.9  1972  284.5  1985  337.3

1947  134.4  1960  281.4  1973  254.6  1986  356.9

1948   83.8  1961  288.4  1974  239.3  1987  364.2

1949  112.9  1962  297.0  1975  237.5  1988  365.8

1950  122.2  1963  288.5  1976  229.6  1989  369.2

1951  220.2  1964  290.9  1977  228.3  1990  351.6

1952  384.4  1965  264.9  1978  228.8  1991  361.3

1953  407.0  1966  296.5  1979  233.0  1992  323.1

1954  375.4  1967  354.6  1980  241.6  1993  304.4

1955  316.0  1968  386.8  1981  255.9  1994  284.2

1956  296.4  1969  366.0  1982  276.7  1995  271.6

1957  303.3  1970  341.4  1983  297.5

COST OF THE 1948-1991 COLD WAR: $12,800,000,000,000.

                               ($12.8 trillion).

SOURCE: Center for Defense Information (1996: 17).






1986     44.854               14.060         31.35

1987     46.534               14.831         31.87

1988     39.455                8.846         22.42

1989     38.284                5.871         15.34

1990     31.296                6.354         20.30

1991     25.819                5.394         20.89

1992     24.532                5.310         21.65

1993     24.743                6.853         27.70

1994     22.842                5.727         25.07

1995     22.797                5.295         23.23

TOTAL   321.156               78.541 Average:24.46

SOURCE: SIPRI Yearbook 1996: Armaments, Disarmaments, and International Security.






1986     44.854           20.494              45.69

1987     46.535           20.779              44.65

1988     39.455           18.519              46.94

1989     38.284           18.724              48.91

1990     31.296           17.072              54.55

1991     25.819           18.204              70.51

1992     24.533           18.873              76.93

1993     24.744           18.232              73.68

1994     22.841           19.374              84.82

1995     22.797           15.974              70.01

TOTAL   321.158          186.245     Average: 57.99

SOURCE: SIPRI Yearbook 1996: Armaments, Disarmaments, and

        International Security.                   






1984  1.0  1.0  2.0  21  2.2  3.60 .40  5.1  14  14  9.0

1985  1.0  1.0  2.0  20  2.2  3.60 .45  4.8  17  12  7.2

1986  1.0  1.0  2.2  17  2.1  3.25 .50  3.7  16  11  7.3

1987  1.0  1.0  1.7  17  1.6  2.75 .50  2.1  12  12  7.0

1988  1.0  1.0  1.7  15  1.6  2.25 .46  1.8  10  12  6.2

1989  1.0  1.2  1.6  14  1.6  1.75 .35  1.9  10  12  6.0

1990  1.0  9.0  1.7  14  1.5  1.75 .30  1.8  11  12  6.2

1991  1.0 11.0  1.4  25  1.5  1.75 .40  2.8  11  --  6.0

1992  1.3  5.0  1.7  14  1.4  1.75 .30  2.5  10  --  6.0

1993  1.6  ---  1.5  15  1.3  1.75 ---  2.3  14  --  5.8

1994  2.2  ---  ---  15  ---  1.75 ---  2.2  14  --  5.7

TOTAL13.1 31.2 17.5 187  17  25.95 3.66 31  139  85 72.4


SOURCE: SIPRI Yearbook 1996: Armaments, Disarmaments, and

        International Security (Except for Iraq).         

      --- No data.

       * AL (Algeria), KT (Kuwait), OM (Oman), SA (Saudi

         Arabia), UAE (United Arab Emirates), EG (Egypt),

         JR (Jordan), SR (Syria), IRN (Iran), IRQ (Iraq),

         ISR (Israel).

      ** The years 1992-1994 of the Egyptian military

         spending are estimates.



[1] Ismael (1993: 1-14).

[2] Wallerstein (1975). 

[3] A living example of how the developed core societies continue to keep the peripheral societies underdeveloped is Saudi Arabia's attempts to sell its petro-chemical products to Western European societies. Saudi Arabia has built an advanced petro-chemical industry in order to diversify its revenues and utilize its wasted natural gas which is otherwise burnt during oil production. By 1983, the Saudis could not enter the European markets because Europeans imposed high import taxes on Saudi chemicals that reached 13 to 19 percent in order to protect their equivalent industries. Saudi Arabia never imposed import-taxes on European products before and was in vain expecting a reciprocal treatment (Mackey, 1987: 352). 

[4] Amin (1976); Cardoso (1972); Frank (1967); Poulantzas (1974). 

[5] Arabia here refers to the Arabian Peninsula which is surrounded by the Red Sea from the West, the Arabian (Persian) Gulf from the East, the Indian Ocean and the Arab Sea from the South and the Fertile Crescent from the North. Thus, Arabia includes, in an alphabetical order, the present-day Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The Fertile Crescent includes Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. While Jordan is the only monarchy in the Fertile Crescent, Yemen is the only republic in Arabia. 

[6] Aspin (1991).

[7] Huwaidi (1981: 706-708). 

[8] While there may be few hundred (male) shaikhs in Al-Sabah family, Al-Saud princes may be several thousands. 

[9] Bin-Sultan (1995: 217-218).

[10] Bin-Sultan (1995: 267-68).

[11] Dickson (1956: 115-16).

[12] Joudah (1964: 42-47, 71-79).

[13] Al-Yahya (1993: 6).

[14] Joudah (1964: 69-70); Assiri (1990: 6).

[15] Joudah (1964: 152-164).

[16] EIU (1990: 53-54, 82).

[17] Lienhardt (1993: 92-104).

[18] EIU (1990).

[19] Timmerman (1991: 397).

[20] Hess, Markson, and Stein (1996: 347-348). 

[21] In 1992, the federal military spending included $295 billion as direct military spending, $33 billion in Veteran’s benefits, $7 billion for military foreign aid (mainly to Israel and Egypt), $5 billion for military NASA and Coast Guard costs, and $79 billion for the military’s share of interest payments due to past borrowings (Marullo, 1993: 157). 

[22] Hess, Markson, and Stein (1996: 347-348).

[23] Burton (1993: 41, 9, 31, 76, 274). 

[24] The military-industrial complex includes those who benefit directly or indirectly from increasing military spending. On top of these are owners and workers of the military industries, weapon systems, contractors, researchers, professors and journalists who receive direct or indirect funding from the military industry. 

[25] Stevenson (1996: 7).

[26] Center for Defense Information (1996).

[27] U.S. News and World Report (January 22, 1996).

[28] Center for Defense Information (1996). 

[29] Actually, these SIPRI (1996) figures for the American military spending are very conservative. The CDI figures reach about $3.4 trillion (Table V.1). 

[30] SIPRI (1996).

[31] SIPRI (1996).

[32] Peres (1993: 88-89).

[33] EIA (1997).

[34] EIU (1996). 

[35] Although the calculations include Libyan revenues, they do not include Libyan military spending. The calculations also include oil revenues of the Gulf states and military spending of both the Gulf and states neighboring to Israel because the Gulf states finance major portions of the military spending in these states, too. 

[36] While Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Syria were involved in regional wars, Algeria and Sudan are still involved in civil wars. By 1995, Iraq accumulated about $95 billion of debt. It was followed by Egypt $34.6 billion, Algeria $33.5 billion, Saudi Arabia $22.4 billion, Syria $22.2 billion, Morocco $22 billion, Sudan $17 billion, Tunisia $9.9 billion, Kuwait $9 billion, Yemen $8.9 billion, Jordan $5.9 billion, Libya $4.3 billion, Qatar $3.9 billion, the U.A.E. $3.9 billion, Lebanon $3.2 billion, Bahrain $2.8 billion, Oman 2.7 billion, Somalia $2.5 billion, Mauritania $2.3 billion, Djibouti $225 million, and Comoros $189 million (EIU, 1996; Table IV.2).    

[37] EIU (1996).

[38] EIU (1996).  

[39] In 1973, a cable was sent by an American official in Iran to Washington. In that cable, he said that “only a few Kurdish leaders knew that until recently they had our support for their military resistance because it diverted Iraq from Israel.” From an article by William Safire of the New York Times, February 12, 1976, cited in Gareeb (1981: 144). 

[40] Yassin (1995: 37, 49-51).

[41] Yassin (1995: 64-65, 109, 203); Gareeb (1981: 12).

[42] Al-Barrak (1989: 27-37, 63-85); Gareeb (1981: 32-33).

[43] Al-Barrak (1989: 98-105).

[44] Al-Barrak (1989: 135-151); Yassin (1995: 208-219). 

[45] The Iranian region of Kuzistan is informally referred to as Arabistan because it is still a predominantly Arab area. It was an Arab chiefdom ruled by Shaikh Khaz'al Bin-Merdaw until 1925 when it was annexed by Iran. Muhammerah (Khurramshahr), the capital of Arabistan, has been a thriving Arab trade center for centuries. 

[46] Al-Barrak (1989: 169-178); O'Ballance (1996: 94); Ghareeb (1981: 43, 60-65). 

[47] Timmerman (1991: 17-19). 

[48] The borders between Iran and Iraq in Shatt Al-Arab water way were initially drawn in 1913 and 1914. According to the protocols exchanged then, Iran agreed that its borders would start at the eastern shore of the 120-mile waterway. In 1937, Iraq agreed that the borders would change accross from the two Iranian ports of Abadan and Khurramshahr. The borders became at the Thalweg (the line that divides the waterway in the middle) rather than the shore at these two areas. In 1975, Iran demanded to change the borders again. Iraq agreed that the new borders would be at the Thalweg in all the waterway, not just accross from Abadan and Khurramshahr (Ghareeb, 1990: 26-29; Al-Farzali, 1982: 229-246; U.S. Senate, 1987: 7).    

[49] For a comprehensive review of the Kurdish problem, see Ghareeb (1981). 

[50] Al-Barrak (1989: 269-70); O'Ballance (1996: 123, 134-135). 

[51] While the British referred to their efforts to enforce the safe haven as "Operation Provide Comfort," Americans referred to theirs as "Operation Poised Hammer" (O'Ballance, 1996: 189). 

[52] O'Ballance (1996: 185-202). 

[53] Ghareeb (1981: 142) mentioned that it was the Israeli member of Parliament, Luba Eliav, who headed the delegation, in 1966. 

[54] Ghareeb (1981: 142). 

[55] In its November 9, 1987 issue, the Israeli newspaper, Ma'ariv, reported on Barzani's first visit to Israel in 1968. The visit was official in order to strengthen the relationship between the Kurdish separatist movement and Israel. However, Barzani spent some time in Tiberias with his old Jewish Kurdish friend, David Ganai who immigrated to Israel in 1951. Khaja (Mr.) Ghannu, as he was referred to by Barzani, told the Kurdish leader that there was evidence of gold in Kurdistan. Barzani added that there was evidence of oil, silver, copper, iron, and coal. "But we need to establish our state first before we can use these resources," Barzani answered him.

         During the second visit (in 1973), Barzani went to Tiberias where he spent the night in his old friend's house. Israeli Kurds came to see Barzani. They danced and sang for him and for Kurdistan. The Kurdish leader told David that he intended to give a golden necklace as a present to Moshe Dayan for his marriage to Rachel. He asked David whether it was appropriate to give him money, too. David told him that it was unnecessary (Al-Barrak, 1989: 290, 300-301). 

[56] Al-Bazzaz (1989: 136, 147-48); Al-Barrak (1989: 205-253).

[57] Ghareeb (1981: 143).

[58] Al-Barrak (1989: 205-253).

[59] Ghareeb (1981: 138-140).

[60] Ghareeb (1981: 140-141).

[61] Al-Barrak (1989: 205-253); O'Ballance (1996: 93); Ghareeb (1981: 140). 

[62] Barzani later regretted his decision to reject the 1974 Autonomy Law on basis of the American advisement. He said: "Were it not for American promises, we would never have become trapped and involved to such an extent" (McDowall, David. 1985. "The Kurds." Minority Rights Group, Report No. 23, London: Minortity Rights Group). A U.S. House of Representatives analysis of the Kurdish defeat attributed it to "groundless promises of American assistance and the deviousness of the Shah."  Both were cited in O'Ballance (1996: 95, 103).

[63] O'Ballance (1996: 95-100).

[64] Timmerman (1991: 74-76).

[65] Le Monde, Semptember 19, 1980, cited in Al-Farzali (1982: 27).

[66] Ghareeb (1990: 29). 

[67] These three Arab islands were occupied by the Iranian forces in 1971 following the British withdrawal from the area. While the Iranians convinced the the Shaikh of Sharjeh to allow them lease the Island of Abu Mussa for ninety-nine years, they could not convince Shaikh Saqer Al-Qassimi of Ras Al-Khaimeh to do so. Instead, he ordered the small Arab garrison of Tunb Al-Kubra to fight the invaders. When they did, a Yemeni soldier was killed and several other Arab soldiers were injured. They knew that they could not stop the Iranian invasion but they wanted the world to know that they resisted it (Bani Sadr's declaration was mentioned in two interviews published in the Lebanese newspaper, Al-Nahar on December 23, 1979 and the International and Arab Al-Nahar magazine on March 24, 1980, and were cited in Al-Farzali, 1982: 34).

[68] In a January 17, 2000 interview with Al-Jazira Arabic Satellite TV station, “Ziyara Khassa,” (Private Visit), Bani Sadr confirmed that Khomeini wanted to establish an Islamic empire that would include Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. 

[69] Al-Farzali (1982: 23-43); Ghareeb (1990: 31-32). 

[70] According to the fourth article of the treaty, the violation of any other article violates the spirit of the treaty as a whole and renders it null and void (Al-Farzali, 1982: 229-246; Ghareeb, 1990: 34). 

[71] Al-Farzali (1982: 123-133). 

[72] The former Iranian President, Bani Sadr, mentioned that the contacts between Khomeini and Reagan started in 1980, even before the presidential elections. Khomeini agreed with representatives of the Reagan-Bush team to delay releasing the American hostages until after elections. In return, he got the Reagan-Bush cooperation in selling American arms to Iran through Israel (From a January 17, 2000, interview with Al-Jazira Arabic Satellite TV station, “Ziyara Khassa,” A Private Visit). 

[73] Hooglund (1990: 39-58); Marr (1990: 59-74); Kechichian

  (1990: 90-110).

[74] Ghareeb (1990: 30).

[75] Timmerman (1991: 122-38, 166, 174, 141-43, 214). 

[76] McKnight (1992: 175) mentions that the Iraqi missiles

fired on Tehran in 1988 were 203, not 189 as Timmerman (1991) reported. 

[77] Timmerman (1991: 228-29, 244-45, 287-89, 293-95).

[78] Joyner (1990: 8); Marr (1990: 59-74); Timmerman (1991:


[79] Ghareeb (1990: 23).

[80] Al-Bazzaz (1989: 233).

[81] Timmerman (1991: 334).

[82] Timmerman (1991: 367).

[83] Schwarzkopf (1992).


Table of Contents, Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness, By Hassan A El-Najjar