Table of Contents


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





“Do not push us to war. Do not make it the only option left with which we can protect our dignity. If Iraq is publicly humiliated by the United States, it will have no choice but to respond, however illogical and self-destructive that would prove.” Saddam Hussain in his meeting with Ambassador April Glaspie on July 25, 1990.[1] 

“Israel must continue its established policy, one of whose principles is to prevent Israel=s adversaries, near and far, from obtaining a nuclear capability.”[2]   

     It did not take President Bush, a long time before reaching a decision to go to war against Iraq. He decided that war was necessary in order to destroy the Iraqi military machine, manpower, military industry, and the Iraqi economy in general. That quick decision to opt for war to eject Iraq out of Kuwait was not a surprise for the observer. Iraq had been accorded the status of the enemy in the Middle East by the Bush administration experts, military leaders, and supporters of Israel in the Congress and the media, early in 1990.

     The American-Iraqi relations alternated between the two extremes of friendship and hostility in the second half of the 20th century. During most of the 1950s, the pro-Western Iraqi monarchy was considered friendly. Republican Iraq in the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s was considered hostile until it came to terms with the pro-Western Iranian Shah’s regime. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, Iraq was also considered friendly. Some State Department officials wanted to continue that policy of friendship after the war. Thus, the United States Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, suggested improving relations with Iraq. In response, President Bush issued a Presidential directive (NSD-26) on October 2, 1989 for that effect. The objective was expanding trade between the two countries. The U.S. purchased nearly $1.6 billion worth of crude oil from Iraq in 1988. The Directive increased Iraqi importation of American grains to more than $1 billion a year by providing American exporters with government insurance.[3]

     On October 6, 1989, the U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, met with the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, to solicit his support for President Mubarak’s plan to mediate between Israelis and Palestinians. Aziz refrained and complained of American attempts to destabilize Iraq. Secretary Baker checked with President Bush and with General Scowcroft who denied the allegations. Moreover, the President asked Baker to tell Aziz in a letter, later in October, that “the U.S. is not involved in any effort to weaken or destabilize Iraq.” [4]

     In spite of these assurances, Iraq quickly slipped from the status of a friend to that of an adversary in less than a year. The “Arabists,” in the State Department like Mrs. Glaspie, were no match to the “Israelists,”[5] who were capable of changing the American foreign policy toward Iraq as early as April 1990. When Iraq invaded Kuwait about four months later, the American administration was already in an anti-Iraqi mood. Thus, the real story of the Gulf crisis and the war that followed started much earlier than August 2, 1990. That story can only be more understood by understanding how the ruling elite in the United States operates.

     In this chapter, an investigation of how America went to war is conducted in four main parts. First, the power elite realism is analyzed in order to explain how the American power elite think, plan, and execute American foreign policy. Second, the war decision is investigated by analyzing positions of the major players involved in making or influencing American foreign policy. These are found in private institutions as well as government agencies such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Council on Foreign Relations, the National Security Council (NSC), the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. This part also sheds some light on the influence exerted on President Bush by the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

     Third, an investigation of why the administration opted for war, not sanctions to secure the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait will follow. This includes an analysis of the American policy towards Iraq and how the war was justified by mentioning advantages of using force and disadvantages of relying on sanctions. This part also includes an analysis of the roles played by President Bush and the war hawks in the NSC and Congress in preparing the American people to accept demonization of the Iraqi president by referring to him as “Hitler” or just “him.” Finally, how President Bush used the notion of a new world order to make the use of force appear as a tool to achieve peace, not only in the Middle East but also in the whole world. The analysis draws heavily on President Bush's book that he published together with Scowcroft, in 1998. The objective is avoiding any possible disputes concerning accuracy of mentioned events.

The Power Elite Realism 

     The Power Elite sociological model[6] analyzes the state as controlled not only by elected politicians but also by the non-elected military and business leaders. The most influential among the three power elite groups are corporate business leaders. As a result of their important donations for politicians, they have a great influence on who is going to be appointed to senior positions of various government departments and agencies. Actually, most of these appointees come directly from corporate management backgrounds, the most prestigious legal firms, and “defense” professors in major universities. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski were proteges of David Rokefeller. Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger were proteges of Kissinger, as they were his employees. McGeorge Bundy headed the Ford Foundation after leaving his NSC post, in 1969. Former Secretaries of Defense Charles E. Wilson, Neil H. McElroy, Thomas S. Gates, Robert S. McNamara, and Casper W. Weinberger held the highest positions in General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Ford, and Bechtel Corporation, respectively.  With the exception of Wineberger, who was the vice President of Bechtel Corporation, all were presidents or board chairmen of their corporations. The influence of these representatives of the power elite was not limited only to the government departments or agencies but extended to influence the President himself. They became his companions and tutors, socializing with him and teaching him about their world- view and America’s place in it.[7]

     The Realpolitik theory, or realism, is an over-simplified view of war based on the game of power politics. It represents the prevailing view among American politicians and political scientists. The “Realist” school places a major emphasis on winning war by any means. Adherents to this school are not concerned with such issues as fairness, joint gains, or costs. They are aliens to the principle of inseparability between national interests and moral duties that Thomas Jefferson called for.[8] Secretary of State, James Baker, described himself as a realist who was together with President Bush members of a generation that embraced wholeheartedly the concept of Pax Americana.[9] This concept has meant (at least according to Webster’s Dictionary) engaging America as a dominant military power in maintaining stability in international affairs, or wielding a worldwide influence, according to Brzezinski.[10]

     Henry Kissenger was an architect and a master of realpolitik, in East-West relations. James Baker followed him in that. A basic reflection of this policy was linking any agreement on arms control with political issues of interest to the administration. They called themselves “realist” in contrast with the U.S. negotiating team leader Gerard Smith, the “idealist” who was so naive that he wanted to negotiate just arms for arms. They knew that the U.S. was in a stronger position, which allowed them to demand Soviet concessions in areas like Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The policy continued more aggressively when Smith was replaced first by Eugene Rostow then by Ken Adelman.[11]

     Morgenthau [12] attributes this position to the “anarchic” international relations. Those who are in power decide national interests and use calculated power to achieve war ends. Thus, it is not the size and capabilities of the enemy that decide how much power will be used in war. Rather, the perceived war ends do. This means that there are no permanent and known national interests. Instead, influential groups in society decide national interests in a way that protects their own interests, which are articulated as policies by their representatives in government.[13]

     Realists usually use the folk theory to prepare the population for war. They portray the two parties in a war as representing good and evil. The enemy image is demonic, barbarian, and degenerate. Polarized thinking in both nations prevents debate and impedes attempts of peaceful conflict resolution. Once national leaders develop this kind of thinking toward the enemy, they do not differ from one-another. Their statements concerning the conflict become uniform.[14]

     The administration realists used the folk theory in manipulating the American public opinion to win its support for the war decision. From the beginning, the Iraqi President was described as Hitler. There was no real debate in the administration about whether to go to war or not. The debate was about how to destroy Iraq with the least possible costs. As a result, a great part of the population also adopted the simplified stereotype of the Iraqi president and accepted the war decision. On December 14, 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported that 61 percent of Americans supported the administration’s Gulf policy. The TV network, NBC, had a similar poll, citing 54 percent approval of a decision to go to war if Iraq had not withdrawn from Kuwait by January 15.[15] This public support for the war decision was reflected in the explosion of yellow ribbons on trees, homes, jackets, and blouses.[16]

     Throughout the crisis and the war, most journalists and politicians referred to Iraq as “Saddam.” It amounted to an obsession with “his” personality. In most cases, they would refer to the Iraqi President as “him,” as if the whole war was against him personally. They gave their audiences the impression that their war was not against the people of Iraq. Rather, it was against “him.” This tactic helped them immunize the population against developing any sympathetic feelings towards hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who would be killed or injured during and after the war. Bush and Scowcroft’s memoirs (1998) provide a perfect example of how Iraq was referred to as Saddam and how the destruction inflicted on the Iraqi people was portrayed as simply punishing “him.”

     Iraqis were also portrayed as brutal in their behaviors towards Kuwaitis. During one of the Congressional hearings that preceded giving the administration the permission to go to war, there were testimonies that the Iraqis took medical equipment, including incubators of infants, from the Kuwaiti hospitals. After the war, several newspapers and TV networks reinvestigated the story. The interviews with Kuwaiti doctors demonstrated that this was not true. Actually, Kuwaiti doctors and administrators hid the equipment in the basements of hospitals.[17] Moreover, Amnesty International, which started the whole story, apologized for its earlier report because “it found no reliable evidence to support that story.”[18] However, President Bush has still insisted on the story and reported it in his book without comments about its accuracy.[19] 

Influences on the War Decision 

     In the summer of 1989, about one year after the end of the Iran-Iraq war, U.S. defense analysts came to the conclusion that Iraq posed a greater threat to the stability of the region than Iran did.[20] Actually, they expected Iraq to invade Kuwait nine months earlier, in December 1989. They based their conclusions on the facts that Iraq ended the war with Iran successfully with one-million-man army, a $90 billion debt, and a Kuwaiti position that contributed to a dramatic decline in oil prices.[21]

     The same conclusion was reached by the state Department experts early in 1990. Dennis Ross and Bob Kimmit rallied Secretary Baker successfully for a change in policy towards Iraq in April that year. By the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, it was already branded as an adversary by the administration experts. In fact, these experts turned to be the real policy makers, not the President who was caught unprepared the day after the invasion, as he admitted in his memoirs that he did not know the U.S. position, then. But how did this happen? And what were the major influences on the war decision?

       There were three types of factors that influenced the President to make the war decision, rather than opting for economic sanctions to get Iraq out of Kuwait. The first type is characterized by being a long-term influence on policy making. This was represented by the influential think tanks and councils, which promoted Cold War policies globally and regionally. Among the most influential of these are the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Council on Foreign Relations. Throughout the 1980s, they drafted reports and published articles that warned against the Iraqi threat to the status quo in the Middle East, particularly the threat to the Israeli military superiority in the region. Moreover, authors of these reports and articles were appointed in successive administrations as experts on the Middle East. This allowed them to transform their ideas into policy guidelines for various government agencies. Thus, by the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, there was a mindset in the administration about Iraq as an adversary.

       The second type of influences was more direct, but still related to the first. This was represented by positions of the experts, who became officials in the government, particularly in the National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the Department of States. Finally, there was an external influence exerted on the President, represented by the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Thus, the first influence on the war decision may be traced into the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which was established by Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk,[22] in 1985. The objective was to influence successive administrations to follow a pro-Israel policy in the Middle East. Every four years, the Institute drafts a blueprint, signed by a bipartisan group of politicians, for the new administration’s Middle East policy. In addition, the Institute has been preparing and publishing reports (policy papers) that analyze the situation in the Middle East from a pro-Israel perspective. The Institute is so influential that its founders and associates have been occupying major policy making positions in successive administrations.[23] In the WINEP (1988) report, for example, the spread of ballistic missiles and chemical weapons throughout the Middle East was noted as posing a threat to the security and stability of Israel. The report argued that Israel’s security can only be ensured by preserving the Israeli military superiority over all Arab states. Thus, by the elimination of this threat, Israel can continue as the only power that has nuclear, chemical, and biological capabilities in the region.

       The same theme of focusing on the threat of unconventional weapons to Israel continued in other reports that were published by the WINEP. The Carus (1989) report warned that Iraq was becoming an autonomous chemical weapons producer and suggested steps the U.S. could take in response to the Iraqi challenge. The Eisenstadt (1990) report was more focused than the previous two. It warned that Iraq would acquire a nuclear weapons production capability within five to ten years. The report warned that the Iraqi threat to Israel was real because of the Iraqi chemical, biological, and missile capabilities. It further warned of the consequences of completing the Iraqi supergun project, which would allow Iraq to place military reconnaissance satellites into the earth orbit. These Iraqi capabilities, the report concluded, led to the emergence of an uneasy deterrent relationship between Iraq and Israel. Of course, this was unacceptable to the WINEP, which equates stability in the region with the Israeli military superiority.

The second major influence on the war decision was from the Council on Foreign Relations, which had its origins in the years after World War I. Back then, many American leaders returned from the Paris Peace Conference dissatisfied with both their preparation for the negotiations and the outcome of the conference. They believed that the growing economic power of the United States should lead to greater involvement and leadership in world affairs. Therefore, some of them thought about forming a forum of experts to plan for American foreign policy.[24]

     The Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 with the merger of a New York businessmen’s discussion group and an Institute of International Affairs that consisted mainly of statesmen and academic experts. Since then, the Council has become the primary body that is responsible for planning and guiding American foreign policy. Thus, the Council sets the agenda of what constitutes America’s national interests. What is striking is that it is a private institution that caters for the interests of major private economic institutions. For example, the Council started planning the American foreign policy for the Post-War era at the beginning of the WWII, as early as 1940, a year before America actually entered the war. The major factor that guided American foreign policy then was the integration of Post-War Western Europe into the “Grand Area” economies. The concept referred to economies of the Western Hemisphere, Asia, and the British Empire bloc at that time. Council members, who created this conception of the “Grand Area,” were private citizens working for private institutions, mainly internationally-oriented bankers, corporate executives, academic experts, and journalists.[25]

     Now, the Council is limited to 650 members, 400 from New York and 250 from the rest of the country. These represent the most prominent business and professional leaders. As a result, the council brings partners from J.P. Morgan and Company together with Ivy League professors, international lawyers, syndicated columnists, State Department officials, and clergymen.[26]

     The Council’s funding for projects comes from large foundations directed by business leaders who are members of the council in significant numbers. The council endeavors to realize its aims through discussion groups, research studies, book-length monographs, and articles on a wide variety of countries and issues in its prestigious journal, Foreign Affairs.[27] Actually, the policy of containment against the Soviet Union was first explained in an article published in “Foreign Affairs” by the former American ambassador in Moscow, George Kennan.[28]

     It is common knowledge that various government agencies have their own research groups that contribute to planning American foreign policy. However, the privately-owned and privately-funded institutions, such as the Council on Foreign Relations play a primary role in planning foreign policy. They articulate major guidelines, which are followed by various government agencies.

     The Council had taken a hostile stance against Iraq since the end of the Iran-Iraq war. This is documented in some of the articles published in its journal, Foreign Affairs. Fouad Ajami warned against Iraqi intentions towards Kuwait.[29] In another article, Iraq was described as having a heavy hand towards Kuwait. This, together with its intervention in Lebanon (!), the author concluded, revived some of the "old Arab fears about Iraq's ambitions." [30] Iraq was also pointed to as the party that used chemical weapons and ballistic missiles successfully during the Iran-Iraq war. This fact "highlighted the dangers posed by the spread of these weapons."[31] Iraq was further classified as one of the enemy states in the Third World, in addition to Iran, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea, that warranted the continuation of military spending in the post Cold War era.[32] The most anti-Iraq article, however, was written by Barry Rubin who argued that aside from the Arab-Israeli peace process, there would be three main priorities for U.S. Middle East policy in the 1990s. "First, there is the problem of ambitious, aggressive, radical states that could try to dominate the region, subvert an Arab-Israeli peace settlement, oppose U.S. interests, sponsor terrorism and overthrow U.S. allies. The most important of these is Iraq, with its victory over Iran, huge oil resources, large army and ruthless leadership."[33] With such instigative articles, the Council contributed to influencing the administration to adopt a hostile stance against Iraq.

     The third major influence on the war decision was from the National Security Council (NSC). Early in 1990, the NSC prepared the administration’s National Security Strategy Report, which the President submitted to Congress. The report focused on four broad national American interests and objectives.[34] None of these interests was threatened by the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait or would be threatened if the invasion was reversed peacefully. It is hard to imagine how can any person be persuasive in arguing that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait posed more threat to American interests or world stability more than did the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. How would it threaten American independence, the U.S. economy, human rights and democratic institutions in friendly countries? Because such an argument could not be persuasive, the NSC officials used other means to justify the intervention against Iraq, such as Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.

Richard Haass was the architect of the war decision. He was hired by the President's National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, as the expert on the Middle East in the Council. He put his ideas in a written plan in late August to make use of force acceptable to Congress, Arab governments, and the United Nations. He proposed that the administration begin consulting first with America’s Arab allies then with the permanent members of the Security Council. The U.S. would ask the council to act only if there was enough backing from the Arab bloc and the necessary votes were there. If at any point, this plan could not succeed, the U.S. would back away from a UN mandate and cobble together an independent multinational effort built on friendly Arab and allied participation. The grounds for this would be the initial UN resolution condemning Iraq, the subsequent resolutions, and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, along with a request from the Emir of Kuwait to intervene.[35]

     In the following few months up to January 15, 1991, the Bush administration did nothing to violate the Haass’s plan. This demonstrates the supreme importance of the roles played by experts in making major policy decisions. Actually, the President and his National Security Adviser lack the time to handle all vital issues themselves. As a result, long-term problems, such as the Middle East peace, receive scant attention from them.[36] The solution for this problem of delegating power to non-elected experts is maintaining the “constitutional” system of checks and balances. This requires the recruitment of adequate number of Arabists in the administration to counterbalance the influence of pro-Israel experts. The NSC, in particular, needs to be balanced because of its supremacy over other government departments and agencies, as argued by McCormick.[37]

     The fourth major influence on the war decision was from the American military establishment. It saw the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as a golden opportunity to achieve a major victory that would help it recover from the Vietnam War Syndrome. Generals Colin Powell, Norman Schwarzkopf, Chuck Horner, and John Yeosock, were profoundly marked by the Vietnam War. As General Horner put it: “Before the war, we started believing the newspapers which said we were incompetent. They said that our equipment didn’t work, that our people were no good, that our generals were stupid, we had to prove them wrong.”[38] Thus, when the crisis reached a serious stage on July 24, 1990, Colin Powell asked Schwarzkopf to draw a contingency plan for a U.S. response to an Iraqi crossing of the Kuwaiti borders.[39] On the eve of the invasion in August 1990, the Pentagon announced its new military strategy for the 1990s, which aimed at addressing the growth of the regional powers, especially in the Middle East.[40]

     The war also represented an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate that the United States had become the only

remaining superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. On February 8, 1991, Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, and Chairman of the Joint-Chiefs-of-staff, General Colin Powell, arrived at Riyadh to check preparedness for the ground war. After listening to Schwarzkopf and other generals of the Central Command, Cheney addressed them saying: “There has never been a time in the history of our nation when the United States military has conducted a more successful or professional operation.” Powell added: “I cannot believe the lift that this crisis and our response to it have given our country. This is the way the world’s only remaining superpower is supposed to behave.” [41]

The fifth major influence on the war decision was from the Department of State, which did very little to resolve the crisis peacefully. The invasion occurred when the Secretary of State and his advisors were in Moscow. Because he was in his way to Mongolia, he left his aids Dennis Ross and Bob Zoellick in the Soviet capital in order to discuss the issue with their Soviet counterparts. Ross persuaded Tarasenko, his Soviet counterpart, to agree to a joint statement that condemned the invasion. The Soviet official was so cooperative that he agreed that the statement be actually written by Dennis Ross and his assistant Peter Hauslohner.[42]

     In fact, the vast majority of what the State Department did was giving Iraq ultimatums instead of negotiating a peaceful Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. As demonstrated in Chapter VII, the administration’s response to every single peace initiative was rejection. No matter who was the author of a peace initiative, the administration insisted on withdrawal without negotiations, or even a face-saving promise to address other problems in the Middle East, later.

     Once the war decision was made, the State Department started its preparations for war through the adoption of a series of United Nations resolutions. Resolution 660 was passed on August 2, condemning the invasion and calling for the Iraqi immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 6, Resolution 661 was adopted imposing economic sanctions on Iraq. Between August 9 and November 29, nine more resolutions were passed. None of them attempted a peaceful resolution of the problem (Appendix VII.A).

     The last was Resolution 678, which authorized the use of force to secure Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait if it did not withdraw before January 15, 1991. Even the Geneva meeting between Baker and Aziz on January 9, 1991, was designed to avoid any peaceful settlement. The letter that Baker carried to Aziz was an ultimatum, which was so full of threats that Aziz could not accept. As a result, all what the Department of State did was looking for ways to reinforce the war decision rather than looking for peaceful solutions.

     Thus doing, the State Department did not live up to what was expected from it: using diplomacy to avert war. The decision not to recruit Arab Americans to its staff and senior positions left pro-Israel experts in a monopolistic position, as a 1986 self-study demonstrated.[43] This explains why the State Department did not do its job. Had there been an adequate number of Arabists there, serious efforts to avoid the war could have been done. Even about a decade after the Gulf War, the State Department is still suffering, like the NSC, from the lack of checks and balances among its staff and senior officials, as represented by the lack of Arabists and Arab Americans there.

     Finally, the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, played a unique role in pushing President Bush towards making the war decision. The President spoke briefly to reporters, early in the morning of August 3, 1990, the following day after the invasion. When Helen Thomas of UPI asked him whether he was contemplating intervention, he said he was not. In his diary, he wrote: “The truth is, at that moment, I had no idea what our options were ... What I hoped to convey was an open mind about how we might handle the situation until I learned all the facts.” At the same time, the British had declared the invasion a grave threat to regional peace. They had made up their minds before their prime minister met President Bush in Aspen, Colorado.[44]

     When Mrs. Thatcher met with the President later that day, she observed that “George had been a bit wobbly” but she “had fortunately been able to stiffen his resolve.” [45] In fact, this observation lends support to the argument that the President did not know what to do until he met with the “iron lady (who was) not known for counseling half measures in time of challenge.”[46] Thatcher’s position, on the other hand, was crystal clear. Britain still looked at Kuwait as a colonial prize that could not be lost. Therefore, having the United States on its side during the crisis was essential for restoring Kuwait from Iraq. She continued arguing that if Iraq won, no small state in the Gulf would be safe. The Iraqis won’t stop in Kuwait, she warned. Therefore, “we must do everything possible” to stop them, she added. Then she suggested that President Bush call King Fahd to offer military assistance, which he did.[47] King Fahd agreed, as a result, to receive 100,000 American troops instantly in his country.[48]

     Thatcher also encouraged President Bush to go to war in order to reverse the Iraqi action. She told him how she reversed the Argentine seizure of the Falkland Islands, eight years earlier. As a result, he followed her style of action and even used her own words at that time. Thus, on August 5, he announced: “This will not stand,” thus repeating her famous reaction to the Argentine move.[49]

     On August 6, the “Iron Lady” met with the President in the White House. She urged him to invoke Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which allows member states the right of self-defense to protect their national interests. The problem for President Bush was that such national interests were never clear in the first place. The British colonial interests, however, were very clear and well articulated. Thatcher was “a charter member of a (colonial hawkish) school that may be described as do what you must (do) now and worry about it later.”[50] 

     Not only Thatcher encouraged President Bush to take a stand against the invasion but also encouraged him later, on October 17, to go to action without the need for an Iraqi provocation. She argued that it was better to go to war on her own terms rather than relying on provocation. She was actually arguing for a specific time while President Bush was not resigned to when to start the war. She reminded him that a military option would be there only for a short time, that is, during the cool months between November and March.[51]

      On October 18, the President agreed with her that they did not have the luxury of waiting for sanctions to work. The Islamic holy month of Ramadhan would come between March 17 and April 14. Then, it would be followed by "Haj," pilgrimage to the holy sites in Saudi Arabia. Following that, the heat would become so oppressive that military operations would be all but precluded. These factors together led him to agree with her on a period no later than January or February to start the war.[52]

     All in all, the major players who had an influence on the President opted for war from the beginning. As this was the case, most of what they did after that was to explain their decision to the public opinion. However, opting for war was consistent with the change in the American policy toward Iraq from friendly to adversarial, which had already occurred before the Iraqi invasion.  

Changing Policy toward Iraq 

       During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the Reagan administration kept friendly relations with Iraq, most of the time.[53] The relationship started to improve in 1983, after the Iraqi government had asked Abu Nidal to leave. In return, the Reagan administration removed Iraq from the list of nations engaged in “state-sponsored terrorism,” a term usually used to refer to countries that supported Palestinian armed struggle to end the Israeli occupation. A year later, American-Iraqi diplomatic relations were resumed after seventeen years. Throughout the Iran-Iraq war, military intelligence was shared with the Iraqis, and in 1987, when Iran began attacking oil tankers in hopes of denying Iraq critical revenues from its oil exports, the United States reflagged Kuwaiti tankers and deployed American warships to protect them.[54] This American intervention enabled Iraq to continue receiving oil revenues through Kuwaiti sales.

     Following that war, the U.S. policy towards Iraq started to change. “Specialists” in various government agencies concluded that Iraq had become of considerable concern for several reasons. First, it harbored some Palestinian groups, which were still seen by the administration specialists as “terrorists.” Second, it had chemical and biological weapons and used chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. Third, it acquired intermediate-range ballistic missiles. Finally, it attempted to build a nuclear-weapon capability.[55]

     Objectively speaking, these four reasons could not warrant a change in the American foreign policy towards Iraq for the following reasons. First, Iraq was not the only Arab state that supported Palestinian resistance against the Israeli military occupation. If the American foreign policy was conducted on basis of fairness, justice, and using the same standards, then Israel should have been threatened with the same adversarial relations with the United States. Israel has been occupying Arab territories since 1967 without any signs of observing the U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 that called for withdrawal from them. Furthermore, Israel has occupied South Lebanon since 1982 and refused to withdraw in spite of the U.N. resolution 425 which called for withdrawal from that area.

       Second, Iraq was not the only state in the Middle East with chemical, biological, and missile capabilities. Israel had these capabilities, too. Third, the Israeli record of human rights violations was the darkest in the region. Israeli troops killed and injured Palestinian children on daily basis, tortured, and detained without trial thousands of other Palestinians since 1967 and particularly after the outbreak of the Intifadha, Uprising, in December 1987.

       Finally, Israel is the only state in the region with nuclear capabilities and it has kept its monopoly on that since bombing the Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981. Actually, an established Israeli policy is preventing Arab states from obtaining nuclear capabilities.[56] What is amazing is that the U.S. successive administrations, from Johnson’s to Reagan’s, all covered up for and supported that Israeli effort. Actually, in 1982, the U.S. withdrew from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to protest the Agency’s rejection of Israel’s membership credentials. The Agency was protesting Israel’s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facilities, as Iraq was a signatory member state in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. returned to IAEA only after the Israeli credentials were accepted. Indeed, the U.S. turned a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear program in the 1960s, which allowed Israel not only to continue building up its stockpile of nuclear weapons unimpeded, but also to lay the basis for further advances in the 1980s.[57] Thus, if the Bush administration specialists had been the least objective, they would have blamed Israel for the arm race in the Middle East by insisting on its occupation of the Arab territories and by introducing nuclear weapons to the region.     

     The real reason for the suggested change in the American foreign policy towards Iraq, then, was the perception of some change in the balance of power in the region. Yitzhak Rabin, who was the Israeli Defense Minister, expressed Israel’s anxiety concerning the Iraqi missile capabilities as early as March 1988. Directly following the Iranian acceptance of the cease-fire in July 1988, which ended the Iran-Iraq war, Shimon Peres expressed the Israeli fears that the Iraqi army with its 50 divisions may pose a threat to Israel. The same conclusion was reached by Dan Shomron, the Israeli Chief-of-Staff. On July 21, 1988, Rabin warned Iraq not to use its missiles with chemical war heads against Israel in the future. If this happens, Israel would hit back 100 times harder, that is with nuclear weapons, he implied.[58]

     Thus, the Israeli government branded Iraq as a threat almost two years before the Iraqi-Kuwaiti crisis. Pro-Israel specialists in various U.S. government agencies and influential private institutions got the Israeli message quickly. They started a diligent work to change the American policy towards Iraq to suit the Israeli position. This was reflected in the WINEP (1988) report, which was drafted by Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Richard Haass. That report became the guiding reference of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, ever since.[59] Actually, the 1988 document was based on an earlier report written by Ross and two other “specialists.” Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, and Geoffrey Kemp prepared a study in 1979 in which they predicted that Iraq would be the future threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.[60]

     Had there been an independent American foreign policy in the Middle East, the whole Gulf crisis could have been avoided. Actually, it is impossible to point to any other constant in the American foreign policy towards the region other than following the interests of Israel. The main factor that precludes the articulation of such independent policy lies in the influential groups in the American society, which decide what constitutes national interests. The above-mentioned Iraqi developments did not threaten American national interests simply because these interests were never articulated. Then, what did Iraq do in particular to cause the fear of the Israelists in the Bush administration?

     In addition to the above-mentioned four factors, the pro-Israel “specialists” added several more Iraqi developments, in early 1990, that were used to warrant a change in the American policy towards Iraq. First, Iraq became the leader of the Arab “rejectionist” camp, which opposed peace with Israel. Second, Iraq started to denunciate the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. Third, in April 2, the Iraqi President threatened to incinerate half of Israel if it would attack Iraq again, as it had in 1981.[61] Fourth, the execution of an Iranian-born British journalist for spying resulted in an anxiety toward what was going on in Iraq. Fifth, the Iraqi President accused the U.S. of “meddling” in the Gulf. Finally, Iraq built six missile launchers in the country’s western desert within range of Israeli cities.[62]   

     When analyzing these developments objectively, we find that most of them are related to Israel. As a result, it is hard to show that American interests were threatened. It is even harder to understand how Iraq could be found at fault because of these developments. First, Iraq was not the only Arab state that rejected the Egyptian-Israeli treaty. Actually, almost all Arab states rejected it as a bilateral deal that weakened the collective Arab effort to liberate the Arab occupied territories from the Israeli military occupation. Following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League, which moved its headquarters to Tunis instead of Cairo. To single Iraq out for blame on that is both inaccurate and unfair. Moreover, Egypt was reinstated in the Arab League and became one of the four members of the Arab Cooperation Council with Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen, in 1989.  

     Second, concerning denunciations of the immigration of about one million Soviet Jews to Israel, Iraq again was not the only Arab state that denounced it. These Soviet Jews were denied visas to the United States and other Western countries in an attempt to force them to go to Israel. Arabs perceived this as a kind of support for the expansionist policies of the Likude government, which did not show any interest in peace. Instead, it intensified its efforts of building more settlements for these immigrants in the Palestinian occupied territories. At the same time, millions of Palestinians were (and are still) denied the right to return to their homeland.

     Third, the Iraqi President’s April 2 threat to burn half of Israel was qualified by the stipulation that this would occur only should Iraq first be attacked by nuclear weapons.[63] He wanted to warn the Israeli leaders not to launch another unprovoked attack on Iraq. The execution of the British spy and the missile launchers reflected an Iraqi anxiety and concern that Israel and the West were plotting something against Iraq. But the threat, in particular, was used as a pretext by the administration’s “specialists” to change the U.S. policy towards Iraq. 

     Secretary of State, James Baker, related how two of these specialists considered that statement a milestone after which the policy towards Iraq had to change to an adversarial one. He said that the day after the speech, Bob Kimmit and Dennis Ross remained after a morning staff meeting to discuss this new development with him. They told him that the “Burn Israel” speech could not be treated as an isolated outburst. “Our policy is based on an illusion that we can moderate this guy,” Ross said. “We can’t,” Kimmit echoed, adding. “I’m not comfortable with the policy anymore. These are tough guys. We have to deal with them toughly. Incentives haven’t worked; it’s time to go to disincentives.” Secretary Baker agreed with them that the policy should change, and approved kimmit’s recommendation that the State Department request a meeting of the Deputies’ Committee to consider “ratcheting” the policy up to one of containment. He also decided that a demarche should be delivered to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. On April 11, Kimmitt cabled this guidance to the American ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, to pass on to the Iraqi officials. It read: “Iraq will be on a collision course with the U.S. if it continues to engage in actions that threaten the stability of the region, undermine global arms efforts, and flout U.S. laws.”[64] 

     The change in policy was, actually, a culmination of several anti-Iraqi measures that started in early 1990. First the U.S. government dropped the plan to extend insurance guarantees that aimed at encouraging American grain sales to Iraq. Second, in March, the administration blocked an Iraqi attempt to procure triggering devices and furnaces, which could be used for nuclear weapons. Third, other Iraqi efforts to procure parts for the Babylon super gun were also blocked in the United States, Britain, and other European countries.[65]

     Moreover, several measures were taken to escalate tensions with Iraq. First, on February 27, 1990, the President’s National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, expressed the President’s unhappiness with the Iraqi President’s criticism of the United States. Second, American ambassadors in the Arab capitals were instructed to highlight the differences with Iraq. Third, on March 3, the State Department official, Skep Ghnehm, told the Iraqi ambassador in Washington that Saddam’s statements were “atrocious.” Fourth, the Deputies’ Committee decided to suspend the second tranche of agricultural credit to Iraq and to create an interagency committee to combat Iraq’s nuclear proliferation activities. Finally, on May 29, the Deputies’ Committee decided to suspend all economic credit programs for Iraq.[66] 

     These measures corresponded with the escalation of the crisis. On May 30, the Iraqi President denounced Kuwait for engaging in economic warfare against his country. On July 25, he summoned Ambassador April Glaspie to complain about the Joint American-U.A.E. military maneuvers. He pointed that these maneuvers would encourage Kuwait and the U.A.E. to ignore conventional diplomacy. At the end of the meeting, he promised her not to do anything before the Jeddah meeting and after that if Kuwaitis would give him some hope. When he asked Ambassador Glaspie about the U.S. position towards the Iraqi-Kuwaiti disputes, she told him: “as you know, we don’t take a stand on territorial disputes.” [67] 

     She also told him:“we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” Then, Ambassador Glaspie briefed the President about the meeting. In response, he told her that his administration “continues to desire better relations with Iraq,” which she conveyed to the Iraqi government.[68]

     The Iraqi President understood all this as an American green light for an Iraqi action. The opportunity came when the Jeddah talks collapsed as a result of Kuwait’s refusal to write off the Iraqi war debts and to relinquish some border territory.[69] The meeting lasted only 105 minutes and ended with a Kuwaiti challenge for Iraq to “ride its highest horses.” This is an Arab saying that means: “do whatever you can do, I am not afraid.”[70]

       As the Jeddah talks collapsed, Saddam moved his troops to the border. He thought that he had the green light from Ambassador Glaspie and President Bush. However, the President changed his mind quickly after the invasion. He could not take the heat from the anti-Iraq “specialists” in the administration. Moreover, there were no “Arabists” to counterbalance the overwhelming influence of these specialists. 

Force, not Sanctions 

The President knew about the invasion at about 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday, August 1 (August 2 in the Middle East), 1990. He was told about it by his National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who had been briefed about it earlier by Richard Haass, the NSC’s Middle East expert. Bob Kimmit, also, called Scrowcroft during the meeting to report from the State Department about shooting in downtown Kuwait City. Subsequently, Scowcroft convened an interagency conference that agreed to recommend taking several quick measures in response. These included moving forces to the region, sending a squadron of F-15s to Saudi Arabia after Saudi approval, and freezing Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets in the United States. The President signed an Executive Order for that effect at 4:30 a.m.[71]

     During that conference, Richard Haass suggested that the administration adopt a two-track strategy: giving Iraq an ultimatum to withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally and accelerating the American military preparations. Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, expressed his belief that sanctions would not work in the time frame that he decided to accept, February to March. General Colin Powell echoed saying that the “forces won’t be in place before 15 January,” anyway.[72]

     Thus, the goal was the use of force, not the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. Therefore, President Bush did not hide his fear that if Iraqi troops withdrew partially, their withdrawal would deprive him the excuse to use force. He wrote: “Saddam might simply pull back partially and try to manipulate world opinion to make sure we couldn’t get a second resolution - or might believe that he could draw out the process long enough to break the coalition.” [73]

     On November 19, President Bush told Gorbachev that he needed a U.N. resolution that would combine two ideas. The first part would contain a deadline for an ultimatum. The second part would say “all necessary measures” can be used. Gorbachev, of course, agreed to the adoption of such resolution and to the mid-January date for the start of the war.[74]

     On November 29, the U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker, chaired the U.N. Security Council vote on Resolution 678. Twelve members voted in favor, Cuba and Yemen voted against, and China abstained. “The resolution authorized all member states cooperating with the government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before January 15, 1991 fully implements [the resolutions], to use all necessary means to uphold and implement [all those resolutions] and restore international peace and security to the area.” Thus, the Security Council had voted to authorize the U.S.-led coalition to go to war against Iraq.[75] However, the vote did not represent the free will of member states. Rather, it was a demonstration of how the Bakerian politics of diplomacy worked. In order for the Bush administration to secure approval of the majority in the Security Council, member states were manipulated, bribed, harassed, or threatened. The other similar U.N. vote in memory was also secured by the same methods on November 29, 1947, which created Israel.

       The Senate Republican leadership wanted to go ahead and draft a resolution that would support the use of force. However, they were worried that Republicans were being branded as the ”war party.” As a way out, they hoped to push Democrats to take the same position.[76]

     Republicans succeeded in their effort and Congress supported the use of force. On January 13, top defense and national security officials met in the White House. They decided that the time of attack would be 3:00 a.m. on January 17 Gulf time, 7:00 p.m. January 16 in Washington. They also finalized the selection of major Iraqi strategic targets that would be destroyed in the air campaign, such as electricity, bridges, and refineries.[77] 

The Hitler-Saddam Analogy

     In a further attempt to justify opting for war, President Bush started to link the Iraqi president with Hitler, as early as August 8, 1990. The similarity was that Hitler simply defied the Treaty of Versailles and marched into neighboring countries.[78] However, Saddam defied no treaty by marching into Kuwait. It was, actually, his threat to Israel that was intended from the analogy.

     President Bush was not the first to use the Hitler-Saddam analogy. In fact, followed the lead of some Israelists. One of those was Barry Rubin who wrote, just before the invasion, with reference to the Iraqi President that "Aggressors thrive on appeasement. The world learned that at tremendous cost from Munich agreement of 1938. How could the German generals oppose Hitler once he had proven himself successful?" Then, Rubin argued that the U.S. policy towards Iraq's ambitions should be decisive in order to discourage its aggressiveness against U.S. allies.[79]

     Again, during the September 9, 1990 meeting, between Bush and Gorbachev, the Soviet President suggested to give Saddam some hope by giving the impression that he was not on his knees. President Bush quickly rejected that suggestion using the Hitler analogy despite Gorbachev’s disagreement.[80]

     The comparison between Saddam and Hitler was not only inaccurate but it also personalized the crisis. This made it easier for President Bush to announce several times that the United States had no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Rather, the quarrel was with the Iraqi President.[81] This was simply not true. It was the Iraqi people who suffered deaths, injuries, destruction, and deprivation not only during the war but also for the following decade.

     Starting from October 28, President Bush went around the country in support for Republican candidates. In his speeches, then, he kept mentioning the Saddam-Hitler analogy.[82] On December 24, President Bush wrote in his diary that he was thinking “of the Iraqi babies, and yet, ... of this man. He has to not only be checked, but punished, and then we worry about how we handle our relations with the Arab countries.”[83] It is beyond comprehension to understand how can one person be punished by killing hundreds of thousands of people and by causing the death of hundreds of thousands of children after the war? 

War Hawks in the NSC and Congress 

     President Bush was surrounded by a group of war hawks, who did not contemplate any peaceful solutions for the crisis. To the contrary, they kept pushing him towards the war option from the beginning to the end.

     During the August 2 meeting of the NSC, Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, pointed that sooner or later it would come to force. General Colin Powell wanted to be sure that there were sufficient troops on the ground and then the freedom of action to do the job once the political decision had been made. Powell also mentioned that the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff and Central Command were preparing military options for weeks. General Schwarzkopf added that there was a rehearsed plan for defending the Saudi Oil region, using forces in the area.[84]

     When Powell wondered, during that meeting: “if it was worth going to war to liberate Kuwait.” Larry Eagleburger, who attended the meeting as the Deputy Secretary of State, responded firmly with a yes. He urged that the U.S. “ought to go for Chapter 7 from the UN (Charter), which would authorize military force and economic sanctions.” [85]

     The President’s national security advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, opted for confrontation from the beginning of the crisis. He suggested an embargo of Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil purchases. President Bush agreed saying that “we should press to put the heat on Saudi Arabia and the others ... Let’s get the U.S. (unilateral) sanctions in place before noon.”[86]

     In spite of these tough reactions, Scowcroft did not like the tone in that meeting. It was not hawkish enough for him. He spoke to the President of his concerns and asked him that he speak first during the following Council meeting “outlining the absolute intolerability of this invasion to US interests.” The President agreed.[87]

     It was Scowcroft, also, who first suggested the plan of the ground war. He was unhappy with the military briefing of October 11, which concentrated on an attack straight up through the center of the Iraqi army. He suggested instead an envelopment to the west and north around and behind the Iraqi forces in Kuwait to “cut them off.”[88] 

     Moreover, Scowcroft was not enthusiastic about the idea that James Baker would go to Baghdad and Tariq Aziz would come to Washington.[89] Finally, he was wary of an Arab solution, fearing that it might end up in a compromise with Saddam.[90]

     The position of the Secretary of State, James Baker, was a little bit different. He was reluctant to contemplate the use of force at the beginning. He believed that diplomacy and sanctions should be given a chance to get the job done and that force had to be the last resort. However, he joined the hawks later by making diplomacy in service of war. He mentioned that the change in his role started on November 29 as a result of the U.N. vote. His role “as a diplomat would no longer be to try and achieve a political solution and thereby prevent war, but to help wage war and win it.”[91] This was an admission from Secretary Baker that his task in the Geneva meeting with Aziz was anything but preventing war. Actually, he never tried to achieve a political solution before that date. The evidence was the continuous rejection of peace initiatives, as demonstrated in Chapter VII. 

The Bush New World Order 

     In another attempt to justify the war, President Bush tried to emphasize the global impact of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In a speech that he gave in mid-August 1990, he argued that the invasion threatened economies of the industrial societies through the Iraqi control over much of their oil supplies. As a result, the U.S. could not afford allowing Iraq to maintain its control over these resources.[92]

     On November 13, Secretary of State, James Baker, attempted to explain the U.S. involvement by further elaboration on the same idea saying that the issue was “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He expected oil prices to become higher which would create global economic downturn and a recession in the U.S. Thus, it would mean the loss of tens of thousands of American jobs.[93]

     Apparently, the President and his Secretary of State believed the instigative reports of the “experts” inside and outside the administration. Some of these warned that oil prices would soar to more than $100 per barrel. The World Bank expected a price of $65 per barrel and the New York Times warned that the high costs of the “oil shock” would deepen the American recession and speed its global spread.[94] 

     In spite of these attempts, the Bush-Baker explanation was still insufficient to warrant a war. At best, it was a hypothetical and a very simplistic viewpoint. Iraq would ultimately sell oil in big quantities in order to use the revenues for reconstruction. The laws of supply and demand, not political will, would decide oil prices at the end of the day. After all, Iraq would have controlled 20 percent of the world oil reserves, an equivalent of what Saudi Arabia controls. Finally, there are still many other oil producers who would sell their oil, too.

   Then President Bush landed on a new theme that helped him explain the global impacts of the invasion better than the “control over much oil” argument. It was his vision of a New World Order that would emerge from the end of the Cold War. He thought that regional conflicts could be better managed as a result of stopping Soviet support to Third World countries.[95]

     During their meeting of September 9, 1990, in Finland, President Bush told the Soviet President Gorbachev that there was a New World Order emerging as a result of ending the Cold War. He added that this would lead to cooperation between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to solve problems of the Middle East.[96] In his September 11, 1990 speech before the Congress, President Bush displayed a romantic view of his new world order. He described it as "a new era -- free from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South, can prosper and live in harmony... A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak."[97]

     A decade later, the just peace has not reached the Middle East. Israel was still occupying the Arab territories that it occupied by force in 1967. In retrospect, the Soviet cooperation with the U.S. was called for only to end the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Once this goal was achieved, the U.S. returned to its traditional role in the Middle East, which is represented by following the Israeli policy. The U.S. did nothing after the war to pressure the Israeli government even to observe its own agreements with the Palestinian authority. During its entire stay in power between June 1996 and May 1999, the Netanyahu government kept delaying withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and suspended talks with Syria and Lebanon. The U.S. administration exerted absolutely no pressure on Israel even to observe its own Wye River agreement with the Palestinian Authority. The whole world had to wait until the Israelis themselves changed their government in May 1999 when they elected the Labor Party candidate as a Prime Minister.

     Thus, ending the Cold War has not produced a New World Order, as President Bush argued. In fact, the 1991 Gulf War demonstrated the continuation of the Old World Order that started at the end of World War I. The victorious allied powers of that war, the U.S., Britain, and France, have been in control of the world system ever since. The German, Soviet, and Iraqi attempts to challenge this Western alliance have failed.

     By turning to the use of force, instead of sanctions, the Bush administration failed to grasp the golden opportunity to start a new peaceful world order. As Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska put it: It “is a mistake because it forsakes the potential for a new world order in favor of the tactics of the old order. Rather than relying on diplomacy, cooperation, and multilateral regulation of arms flows, (the U.S.) will revert primarily to reliance on U.S. troops and U.S. arms sales.”[98] 


     President Bush’s quick decision to go to war against Iraq was facilitated by recommendations from pro-Israel experts in the administration. These experts succeeded in changing the American policy towards Iraq into adversarial one well before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. These experts occupy the most prominent positions in various government agencies and private institutions. Their view of the world is explained by the realpolitik theory that places great emphasis on winning wars, irrelevant of whether wars are necessary or not. Thus, going to war against Iraq was the main objective, not ejecting Iraq from Kuwait as the administration claimed throughout the crisis.

     Economic sanctions were not given any chance to work. In handling the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, representatives of the power elite opted for the use of force, rather than sanctions, for several reasons. First, the destruction of Iraq would remove the second major Arab power from the confrontation with Israel, after the removal of Egypt through the Camp David Accords. This would leave the Palestinian people in a weaker position during negotiations for the final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, it would leave Israel with a hegemonic status as the only nuclear power in the region. Second, the war would benefit the American military industry by demonstrating the need for continuous military spending in the post-Cold War era (Chapter V). Third, the destruction of Iraq would weaken, if not end, the influence of Arab nationalists and strengthen the position of the ruling elite within sovereign states. Thus, Arabs would continue as disunited and weak in dealing with Western powers that exploit them (Chapter IV).

For these reasons, Iraq was denied any opportunity to withdraw from Kuwait without war. This explains why all peaceful initiatives to end the crisis were rejected by the administration, as will be demonstrated in the following chapter (VIII).


Appendix VII.A

UN Security Council Resolutions

Against Iraq


     On August 2, 1990, Resolution 660 was passed condemning the Iraqi invasion and demanding unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 7, Resolution 661 was passed imposing economic sanctions and ordering a total embargo against Iraq and Kuwait. Resolution 662 was passed on August 9. It declared Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait null and void. Resolution 664 was passed on August 18 demanding the immediate departure from Kuwait and Iraq of all foreign nationals. Resolution 665 was passed on August 25. It outlawed all trade with Iraq by any means and authorized the military enforcement of the trade embargo and economic sanctions. On September 16, Resolution 667 was passed condemning Iraqi acts of violence against diplomatic missions in Kuwait. On September 19, Resolution 669 established a sanctions committee. On September 25, Resolution 670 was passed extending sanctions against Iraq to cover all means of transport, including aircraft. On October 25, Resolution 674 asked states to document financial losses and human right violations resulting from the invasion. On November 28, Resolution 677 asked the U.N. Secretary-General to safeguard a smuggled copy of Kuwait’s pre-invasion population register. On November 29, Resolution 678 was passed authorizing all necessary means (force) to ensure that Iraq withdraws from Kuwait.[99]



[1] Baker (1995: 274).

[2]  Levrani, 1997: 164).

[3]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 306); Baker, 1995: 263); Timmerman(1991:


[4]  Baker (1995: 265-66).

[5]  I am coining the term "Israelists" to refer to the individuals who occupy prominent positions in various government agencies and private institutions, who adopt viewpoints of the Israeli government, and who think of American and Israeli national interests as one and the same. The need for such a term is necessary to counterbalance the use of the term "Arabists."

[6]  Mills (1956); Domhoff (1990; 1998).

[7]  McCormick (1995: 13-15).

[8]  Tucker and Hendrickson (1990: 137).

[9]  Baker (1995: 276).

[10]  Brzezinski (1988: 681).

[11]  Marullo (1993: 78).

[12]  Morgenthau (1985).

[13]  Silverstein and Holt (1989); Marullo (1993: 108).

[14]  Silverstein and Holt (1989).

[15]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 427).

[16]  Powell (1995: 495).

[17]  Lubbadah (1991: 44-45).

[18]  The Guardian (April 19, 1991).

[19]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 427).

[20]  Bin Sultan (1995: 316).

[21]  Powell (1995: 459).

[22]  Thomas Dine, Chairman of the American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), the most influential pro-Israel lobbying organization, hired Martin Indyk to work with him, during the first Reagan administration. Indyk was still an Australian citizen. Most of what he did was publishing policy papers focusing on Israel’s strategic value to the United States. Then, he cofounded WINEP together with Dennis Ross, in 1985. The two of them share the same mindset concerning various Middle Eastern issues with Richard Haass, who became the Middle East expert in the National Security Council, during the Bush administration. The three of them were and still are among the most influential people in Washington. They drafted several pro-Israel policy papers together, as early as 1981, focused on the need for a strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. (Christison, 1999: 219-220, 247-253).

[23]  The Institute’s “Study Group,” which produced the WINEP (1988) report, was chaired by Walter Mondale and Lawrence Eagleburger. The Group’s final report, “Building for Peace,” was a key planning document for the Bush administration and six Study Group members went on to senior government positions (WINEP, 2000). Lawrence Eagleburger became Deputy Secretary of State. Dennis Ross was the principal drafter of the report. He had been Bush’s foreign-policy adviser during the election campaign. He was appointed Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, thus becoming Baker’s principal policy adviser. Richard Haass, another principal drafter of the report, was Robert Dole’s campaign adviser and was named Director of Middle East affairs on the National Security Council Staff (Christison, 1999: 247-248).

In 1992, the Institute hosted a commission on U.S.-Israeli relations. Eleven signatories to the group’s final report, “Enduring Partnership,” were named to senior positions in the Clinton Administration. This included the appointment of Anthony Lake as Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Madelein Albright as a UN Ambassador then a Secretary of State, Stuart Eizenstat as Undersecretary of Commerce, and Les Aspin as a Secretary of Defense (WINEP, 2000). More important was that Dennis Ross was elevated to the U.S. Envoy to the Middle East, in a rare arrangement that allowed a senior policy maker in a Republican administration to continue in his job in the successive Democratic (Clinton’s) administration. Martin Indyk and Aaron David Miller also stayed in the Satate Department and Daniel Kurtzer became ambassador to Egypt, in 1997. Of the group, only Richard Haass left the government after the Bush defeat. He became actively involved in the Brookings Institution (Christison, 1999: 336).

[24]  Domhoff (1990: 114).

[25]  Domhoff (1990: 107-153).

[26]  Domhoff (1990: 115).

[27]  Domhoff (1990: 114-115).

[28]  Marullo (1993: 45).

[29]  Ajami (1989).

[30]  Hunter (1989: 149).

[31]  Nye (1989: 58).

[32]  Sorensen (1990: 17).

[33]  Rubin (1990: 142).

[34]  The survival of the U.S. as a free and independent nation, with its fundamental values intact and its institutions and people secure; a healthy and growing U.S. economy to ensure opportunity for individual prosperity and a resource base for national endeavors at home and abroad; a stable and secure world, fostering political freedom, human rights, and democratic institutions; and healthy, cooperative, and politically vigorous relations with allies and friendly nations (Nunn, 1990: 42).

[35]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 256).

[36]  Clarke (1992: 95).

[37]  McCormick (1995: 8).

[38]  Bin Sultan (1995: 312).

[39]  Powell (1995: 460).

[40]  McCormick (1995: 247).

[41]  Schwarzkopf (1995: 435).

[42]  Baker (1995: 6, 10).

[43]  Clarke (1992: 88).

[44]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998:  315).

[45]  Bin Sultan (1995: 261).

[46]  Baker (1995: 2).

[47]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 319-320).

[48]  Baker (1995: 278).

[49]  Powell (1995: 467); Baker (1995: 279).

[50]  Baker (1995: 279).

[51]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 382-384).

[52]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 385).

[53]  The exception was when the pro-Israel lobby succeeded in selling American weapons to Iran in the mid 1980s, in an attempt to prolong the war, or at least to defeat Iraq. This became known as the Iran-Contra affair (Chapter V).

[54]  Baker (1995: 262).

[55]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 305).

[56]  Levrani (1997: 164).

[57]  Smith (1989).

[58]  Reich (1990).

[59]  Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1988); Christison  (1988).

[60]  Dennis Ross became Secretary Baker’s director of policy planning, Paul Wolfowitz became Undersecretary of Defense for policy planning, and Geoffrey Kemp became a Middle East analyst in the Reagan’s National Security Council (Gordon and Tailor, 1995: 6).

[61]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 307).

[62]  Baker (1995: 267).

[63]  Levrani, (1997: 67).

[64]  Baker (1995: 268-69).

[65]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 307).

[66]  Baker (1995: 268-271).

[67]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 310-311).

[68]  Powell (1995: 462).

[69] (Bush and Scowcroft, 1998: 313).

[70]  Hilal (1991: 79).

[71]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 303-304).

[72]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 393-395).

[73]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 404).

[74]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 408-409).

[75]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 414-415).

[76]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 422).

[77]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 446-447).

[78]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 340).

[79]  Rubin (1990: 144-145).

[80]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 467).

[81]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 371).

[82]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 388).

[83]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 434).

[84]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 316, 354).

[85]  Powell (1995: 464).

[86]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 317).

[87]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 318).

[88]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 381).

[89] (Bush and Scowcroft, 1998: 381)

[90]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 319).

[91]  Baker (1995: 346).

[92]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 399).

[93]  Baker (1995: 336).

[94]  McCormick (1995: 248).

[95]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 355).

[96]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 363-364).

[97]  Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 370).

[98]  Baker (1995: 349).

[99]  Pimlott and Badsy (1992: 275); Allen, Berry, and Polmer,  (1991: 70).


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