It is now clear that Iraq was 'set up' -- was assured before its invasion of Kuwait that the United States imperialists had no interest in the dispute between Iraq and Kuwait:
The anti-Iraqi military build-up in Saudi Arabia is now said to be, complete. But it is seen as increasingly doubtful whether economic sanctions alone will force an Iraqi withdrawal.
On the other hand, it becomes increasingly doubtful whether a number of the powers which were prepared to support economic sanctions against Iraq would support war, and it is to keep their options open that the Americans (backed by Britain) are claiming that a 'UN' war against Iraq does not require any further Security Council resolution and (alternatively, and equally contrary to international law) that a terrorist act against American forces (whether engineered by genuine terrorists or by the CIA) would legitimise US military action.
In a Parliamentary debate on 6 September, MPs of all parties warned Prime Minister Thatcher that a military offensive against Iraq without United Nations approval would not be tolerated.
However, should such a war be launched, it would be no walk-over for the United States, despite its huge arsenal of weapons. It would be virtually impossible to prevent Iraqi planes and missiles from destroying the Gulf's oil production facilities, and so severely damaging the American economy, while the US would have to hold back from destroying Iraqi and Kuwaiti oil facilities, since this would be counter-productive. The US forces could well get bogged down in an unwinnable war, -in which civilian casualties would be enormous, causing antagonism to the war to grow not only throughout the Middle East but (as with the Vietnam war) at home.
On 12 August Iraqi President Saddam Hussein proposed that Iraq would withdraw from Kuwait in conjunction with an immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territory. This was dismissed by Western,politicians.
Bush and Thatcher have insisted that there must be no linkage between Iraq's defiance of the UN and that of Israel.
But as the Gulf crisis has dragged, this linkage has asserted itself.
In a speech to the UP General Assembly on 24 September, French President Franrcois Mittterand said that an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait could be followed by the restoration "of the democratic will of the Kuwaiti people" (not, it will be noted, of the autocratic Emir) and the settlement of other Middle East problems, notably "the aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent state". And a week latar US President George Bush suggested that an Iraqi withdrawal might pave the way for settlements elsewhere in the Middle East.
The American leaders insisted that this did not mean "linkage", but it looked like it to everybody else.
It was the Israelis who established the "linkage" beyond argument.
On 8 October 19 Palestinians were killed and 140 injured by Israeli forces on Jerusalem's Temple Mount -- the worst atrocity in the 23 years of occupation of the eastern side of the city.
The US government felt compelled to refrain from
vetoing a resolution before the Security Council condemning the Israeli
atrocity and demanding a commission of investigation. At a time when Saudi
Arabia is being strongly criticised in the Islamic world for allowing 'infidel'
troops onto 'sacred'
territory, it felt unable to connive at Israeli defilement of holy places in Jerusalem.
The logic of history had asserted the linkage.
It is for this reasons that Bush and Thatcher are now preparing to press the UN to adopt new war aims which they believe would be more difficult for Iraq to accept. US State Department lawyers are now preparing new resolutions to place before the UN Security Council -- one demanding that Iraq pay heavy reparations to Kuwait, the other that Saddam Hussein be indicted before a Nuremberg-style 'war crimes' tribunal.
While the US imperialists have managed to build up
an international coalition around the demand for an Iraqi withdrawal from
Kuwait, it is much more doubtful whether a number of the participating
states would be willing to continue participation in a coalition with aggressively
different war aims. "The Egyptian forces in Saudi Arabia will not participate
in any offensive". their commander Major-General Mohamed Ali Bilal said
last week, and his views were echoed by the Syrian commander.
WASHINGTON MAY YET FIND ITSELF 'HOIST WITH ITS OWN PETARD'.