This Material was FIRST PUBLISHED by:
COMPASS - Journal of The
COMMUNIST LEAGUE (UK) No. 80, October 1990.


Then was re-printed by ALLIANCE MARXIST-LENINIST as a part of:
ALLIANCE ISSUE Number 2; "The Gulf War - The USA Imperialists Bid To Recapture World Supremacy";
April 1992; First placed on web October 2001.


Continuation of Alliance Issue Number 2 (For Table of Contents and First Part got : Alliance 2) THE "SETTING-UP' OF IRAQCOMPASS No.80; October, 1990     A puzzling feature of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait has been why a small capitalist state should have taken an action which brought it into conflict with virtually the whole of the imperialist world.

    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:

"Four days before President Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of Kuwait, the VS Ambassador in Baghdad, April Glaspie, assured him that 'we have no opinion on tile Arab-Arab conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait'.
She added that the US Secretary of State, James Baker, 'has directed our official spokesman to emphasise the instruction', first given it) the 1960s, 'that the issue is not associated with America'.
'The Guardian' has the official minutes of the meeting. . . . (US officials do not question their authenticity.
The transcript shows that Ms Glaspie expressed considerable sympathy for President Saddam's quest for higher oil prices, the immediate cause of his confrontation with Kuwait.
'I admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country'. she said, 'I know you needs funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country"'.
('Guardian', 12 September 1990; p. 7).
    Further, on 31 July, two clays before the invasion of Kuwait, US Assistant Secretary of State John Kelly, facing the House Foreign Affairs Committee "Stressed repeatedly in testimony before the Committee that the US had no defence treaty with Kuwait and no obligation to come to its aid if attacked by Iraq".
('Guardian', 20, September 1990; p. 8).
CLEARLY, IRAQ WAS BEING INFORMED, QUITE FALSELY, THAT IT COULD INVADE KUWAIT WITHOUT OPPOSITION FROM THE UNITED STATES. THE US DIFFICULTY     The US strategy was successful only to the point that it encouraged Iraq to invade Kuwait and that this enabled the US imperialists to build up, under the auspices of the United Nations, a wide international coalition directed against the Iraqi aggression.

    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.

THE QUESTION OF LINKAGE     The moral weakness of the American position is that while insisting that Iraq should immediately an unconditionally withdraw from Kuwait or face punitive military action, with or without UN sanction, it has tolerated Israeli aggression and defiance of UN resolutions in Palestine for more than twenty years. With every day that passes, the hypocrisy of the American position becomes increasingly clear to the peoples of the world.

    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.

THE NIGHTMARE OF US IMPERIALISM     But the Washington's worst nightmare is not war in the Middle East: "In the White House, the most feared weapon in Iraq's arsenal . . . is a diplomatic manoeuvre known to Washington's hawks as the Nightmare Scanario.
Simply, it would mean Saddam Hussein doing what the UN resolutions require, and pulling back from Kuwait . . . A tactical retreat paving the way for a strategic victory. . . .
The real problem is the imbalance between the publicly stated goals of US policy, and the real strategic objective . . . which is to ensure that Saddam Hussein or some successor will never be in a position to dominate the world's main source of oil".
('Guardian', 18 October 1990; p. 10).;
    The US imperialists could then be faced with the position of having their massive build-up in Saudi Arabia ostensibly to enforce United Nations resolutions on the Middle East faced with only Israel defying the resolutions.

    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'.



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