October 11, 2005
Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

America's Secret War

Saddam was 'quietly assured by the United States that it would have no objection to his claiming his prize - Kuwait'

by George Friedman

The United States had no use for the Iraqi regime and had supported the Shah's Iran in a war against Iraq in the 1970s, ending in a peace that had not been favorable to Iraq. With the Iranian revolution, the Americans were looking for a lever to control Iran, . . .

The Carter administration wanted to motivate Saddam to fight, but he had little to gain simply by fighting Iran. What Saddam wanted was to become the dominant power in the Persian Gulf. Absorbing Kuwait, which had historically been a part of Iraq under the Ottoman Empire until the British carved it our for their own interests, was a key goal, but so was dominating the region politically. He knew that if he defeated Iran, Iraq would be the dominant power in the region. He was also quietly assured by the United States that it would have no objection to his claiming his prize - Kuwait - once he defeated Iran. The assurances were very quiet and very deniable.

The United States then did everything it could to make sure that Iraq could never claim the prize, shifting its weight back and forth during the Iran-Iraq war, in classic balance-of-power style. The famous Iran-Contra affair engineered by Bill Casey was part of this strategy, with Americans delivering Hawk surface-to-air missiles and TOW antitank missiles to Iran in order to stave off an Iranian defeat - while also arranging for supplies to Iraq. Under the circumstances it was a clever move until better options emerged.

The Iran-Iraq war lasted nearly ten years and cost millions of lives. In the end, Iraq won - or, more precisely, was less exhausted than Iran. After some months of recovery, Saddam turned to collect his prize. In his famous meeting with U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie on July 25, 1990, just before the invasion, Saddam calmly explained his intention to invade Kuwait, and Glaspie, not informed by the State Department that the policy had changed, proceeded to give Saddam the reassurance of American support that had been the U.S. policy transmitted by ambassadors and back channels for a decade. . . .

What Glaspie didn't know. and what Glaspie hadn't been told, was that the United States had never expected Iraq to win and certainly was not prepared to let Saddam collect his war prize.

George Herbert Walker Bush served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993, Vice President from 1981 to 1989, and CIA Director from January 30, 1976, to January 20, 1977. Questions remain about his role in the Iran-Contra Affair.

Dr. George Friedman's firm Stratfor has been dubbed by Barron's as "The Shadow CIA." It has provided analysis to Fortune 500 companies, news outlets, and the U.S. government. This is an excerpt from Chapter 1: The Fourth Global War, pages 19-21. Copyright © 2004-2005 George Friedman

[ . . . the incubator story seriously distorted the American debate about whether to support military action. . . .

Americans would have been interested to know the identity of "Nayirah," the 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl who shocked the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on Oct. 10, 1990, when she tearfully asserted that she had watched 15 infants being taken from incubators in Al-Adan Hospital in Kuwait City by Iraqi soldiers who "left the babies on the cold floor to die." The chairmen of the Congressional group, Tom Lantos, a California Democrat, and John Edward Porter, an Illinois Republican, explained that Nayirah's identity would be kept secret to protect her family from reprisals in occupied Kuwait.

There was a better reason to protect her from exposure: Nayirah, her real name, is the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S., Saud Nasir al-Sabah. . . .

Both Congressmen have a close relationship with Hill and Knowlton, the public relations firm hired by Citizens for a Free Kuwait, the Kuwaiti-financed group that lobbied Congress for military intervention. --John R. MacArthur, "Remember Nayirah, Witness for Kuwait?," HBO Films, January 6, 1992]

Alan Geyer and Barbara G. Green, "Lines in the Sand: Justice and the Gulf War," Westminster John Knox Press (May 1, 1992)

[When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf - to reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait - part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid-September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.

But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border - just empty desert.--Scott Peterson, "In War, Some Facts Less Factual," Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2002]

[A budding coalition of conservative hawks, Jewish organizations and Iranian monarchists is pressing the White House to step up American efforts to bring about regime change in Iran.--Marc Perelman, "New Front Sets Sights On Toppling Iran Regime," Forward, May 16, 2003]

VIDEO: Barry Lando and Michel Despratx, "Web of Deceit," 2004

Enver Masud, "Iraq War: 'Supreme International Crime'," The Wisdom Fund, June 29, 2005

[The trap had been baited very cleverly by Glaspie, reinforced by Tutweiler's and Kelly's supporting comments. And Saddam Hussein walked right into it, believing that the US would do nothing if his troops invaded Kuwait. On August 2, 1990, eight days after Glaspie's meeting with the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein's massed troops invaded Kuwait.--Kaleem Omar, "Is the US State Department still keeping April Glaspie under wraps?," Jang, December 25, 2005]

Stephen Kinzer, "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq," Times Books, April 4, 2006

Barry M. Lando, "Web of Deceit: The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, from Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush," Other Press (January 23, 2007)

[The now-infamous Downing Street documents showed how President George Bush managed his move to war by fitting intelligence to his policy, and by refusing to accept the reports of United Nations inspectors who could find no Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Now there is a new hot document that confirms that Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair intended to sucker Saddam into war. It demonstrates that this aim was present long before the Bush-Blair talks, and indeed that provocation formed an integral feature of the U.S. war plan.--John Prados, "A War Conspiracy Documented,", February 21, 2007]

John Pilger, "Iraq: The Crime of the Century," New Statesman, December 10, 2009

[In addition to having its interns use Google to "gather intelligence," Stratfor reportedly operates by paying corporate and foreign policy informants via Swiss bank accounts and prepaid credit cards for inside information that it then repackages as "analysis" and peddles to those of its 300,000 subscribers and clients--Steve Breyman, "Inside the Fanciful World of Stratfor: Robert D. Kaplan's Geopolitical Bunkum,", May 2, 2014]

[Thirteen years before George W. Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction to justify his invasion and occupation of Iraq, his father made his own set of false claims to justify the aerial bombardment of that same country. The first Gulf War, as an investigation by journalist Joshua Keating concluded, "was sold on a mountain of war propaganda." . . .

Under Bush Sr., the U.S. dropped a whopping 88,500 tons of bombs on Iraq and Iraqi-occupied Kuwait, many of which resulted in horrific civilian casualties.--Mehdi Hasan, "The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice,", December 1, 2018]

Jon Basil Utley, "How the Gulf War Gave Us the Antiwar Right,", December 21, 2018

John R. MacArthur, "The Fourth Estate,", October 3, 2019

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