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:: Article nr. 11067 sent on 13-apr-2005 04:48 ECT
WHAT DID APRIL SAY?
April Glaspie in the Arab world
Wednesday, Thursday, April 13-14, 2005
July 25, 1990 seems like it was centuries ago, not just 15 years. Because of various incidents such as Operation Desert Shield; Operation Desert Storm; Operation Desert Fox; the embargo; the no-fly zones; all mixed in with other U.S. military incursions (Somalia, Serbia, Afghanistan, etc.), the mind tends to treat them all individually over time. However, with Iraq, "The Mother of All Battles" is still raging and it is the continuation of the beginning of U.S. hostilities against Iraq in 1990; not a new operation.
In 1980, Iran and Iraq went to war. The two countries fought a bloody eight-year conflict that ended in a stalemate. Iran wanted to spread its own successful Islamic revolution throughout the Middle East and Iraq was the only country in the area that could stop the territorial designs of Iran. Iraq was the buffer that stopped the countries of the Arabian Peninsula, including Kuwait, from falling into Iranian hands. Unlike the hostile attitude of neighboring countries brought on by U.S. intervention in the area, during the 1980s, Iraq’s Arab neighbors stood solidly behind the country that was giving its soldiers to keep the independence of Gulf Arabian countries. In the 1990s, with forceful persuasion by the U.S., countries like Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Qatar, and others turned against their once former ally. Kuwait, with much U.S. assistance, was the first to betray Iraq and others followed. Some, however, such as Yemen and Jordan, kept cordial relations with Iraq because the people of these countries forced their leaders not to ostracize the Iraqis.
By the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq’s economy had been greatly weakened. The incidents leading to Desert Storm began to emerge.
Kuwait had loaned money to Iraq during the war. The money was loaned for the defense of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as that of Iraq, and the Iraqi government did not expect to be hard-pressed to repay the loans after the hostilities ended, especially because much of the money was used in thwarting Iran from invading Kuwait.
Soon after the cease-fire, Kuwait demanded repayment. Saddam Hussein was shocked that Kuwait would apply so much pressure after his country had spent eight bloody years defending Kuwait from Iranian aggression. When Iraq attempted to discuss the matter of repayment with Kuwait, the Kuwaitis became ever more insistent about immediate remission. The Iraqis did not know at that time that the CIA and Kuwait (in collaboration) had already instituted measures to further undermine the Iraqi economy.
After Iraq crossed the Kuwaiti border on August 2, 1990, many aspects of this anti-Iraq scheme came out in the open. The Iraqis found a copy of a letter dated November 22, 1989 and marked "Top Secret and Private" that was sent by Brigadier Ahmed Al Fahd (Director General of the State Security Department of Kuwait) to Sheikh Salem Al Sabah Al Sabah (Minister of the Interior of Kuwait). The letter mentions the coalition of the CIA and the Kuwaiti government and their plans to undermine the Iraqi economy. Here are a few highlights:
In accordance with Your Highness’s orders, as given during our meetings with you on October 22, 1989, I visited the headquarters of the United States Intelligence Agency, together with Colonel Ishaq Abd Al Hadi Shaddad, Director of Investigations for the Governorate of Ahmadi, from November 12 to 18, 1989. The United States side emphasized that the visit should be top secret in order not to arouse the sensibilities among our brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council, Iran and Iraq …
We agreed with the United States side that visits would be exchanged at all levels between the State Security Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, and that information would be exchanged about armaments and social and political structures of Iran and Iraq …
We agreed with the American side that it was important to take advantage of the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq in order to put pressure on that country’s government to delineate our common border. The Central Intelligence Agency gave us its view of appropriate means of pressure, saying that broad cooperation should be initiated between us, on condition that such actions are coordinated at a high level.
This letter proved the Iraqi allegations that there was a definite link between the United States in attempting to keep Iraq’s economy weak so Kuwait could benefit from the actions. Knowing now about this letter puts a different look on the events of August 2, 1990 and the following few months. Iraq did not enter Kuwait simply for the reason of staking claim to Kuwait’s oil. It did so to stop Kuwait and the U.S. from permanently damaging its economy.
Because of the cooperative relationship between Kuwait and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein was aghast at the Kuwaiti’s change of heart once the hostilities ceased. Iraq began to find pieces of the puzzle and put them together. Their findings were corroborated after August 2, 1990 when they found evidence in Kuwait, such as the top secret letter previously mentioned.
Prior to August 2, 1990, the Iraqis had enough facts to present to the Arab world showing Kuwaiti involvement in undermining their economy. To Iraq, this would only be the beginning of a U.S. intrusion into the area that would not be reversed once put into action. In a speech in Amman, Jordan in February 1990, Saddam Hussein told those assembled of the imminent danger of allowing the U.S. to become involved in regional affairs. Remember, at the time, the Soviet Union was still in existence and was still considered a world superpower. Saddam stated:
The country that exerts the greatest amount of influence on the region, on the Gulf and its oil, will consolidate its superiority as an unrivaled superpower. This proves that if the population of the Gulf — and of the entire Arab world — is not vigilant, this area will be ruled according to the wishes of the United States."
Despite this ominous prediction, the Arab world did not take much notice. Most of the countries in the region could not envisage a permanent U.S. presence in the area that would dictate U.S. policy to them. Events over the past 15 years have, much to the chagrin of regional Arab countries, deemed Saddam Hussein’s statement accurate. Today, countries such as Qatar and Kuwait are virtual U.S. possessions, and others, such as Syria, cannot breathe without the threat of U.S. annihilation.
As the situation became more tense, Saddam Hussein called for a meeting with April Glaspie, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. On July 25, 1990, they met and Saddam explained his country’s plight to her. He discussed Kuwait’s breaking of OPEC agreements and that his country was in desperate need of money to help rebuild its infrastructure that was damaged in the eight-year Iran-Iraq War.
After listening, Glaspie then assured Saddam that the U.S. was on Iraq’s side and that the U.S. was in sync with the desires of Iraq to rebuild. She explained:
I think I understand this. I have lived here for years. I admire your extraordinary efforts to rebuild your country. I know you need funds. We understand that, and our opinion is that you should have the opportunity to rebuild your country. But we have no opinion on Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border dispute with Kuwait.
Saddam Hussein then complained that the U.S. was blocking most orders his government had placed with the U.S. He said, "There is nothing for us to buy from America. Only wheat. Because every time we want to buy something, they say it is forbidden. I am afraid that one day you will say, 'You are going to make gunpowder out of wheat.’"
Those words were quite prophetic. After Desert Storm, with a full embargo in place, Iraq could not import food, so it had to create more agriculturally-based business. In June of 1991, U.S. military jets destroyed 23 wheat fields with their afterburners.
Getting back to the Saddam Hussein-April Glaspie meeting, she responded to Saddam’s complaints about lack of access to American markets with, "I have a direct instruction from the president to seek better relations with Iraq."
The U.S. administration maintained that it was Iraq’s business and not that of the U.S. in the matter of Iraq’s dispute with Kuwait. On July 26, 1990, the day after the Saddam-Glaspie meeting, Margaret Tutweiler, U.S. Department of State spokesperson was asked by the press, "Has the United States sent any type of diplomatic message to the Iraqis about putting 30,000 troops on the border of Kuwait? Has there been any type of protest communicated from the United States government?" She replied, "I’m entirely unaware of any such protest."
On July 31, 1990, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, testified to Congress that the "United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the U.S. has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq."
These messages are quite unambiguous, but they were false. Bush had plans ready to destroy Iraq and the crossing of border by Iraq was an appropriate excuse to implement Bush’s designs.
During the war propaganda buildup of the next few months, the subject of the Saddam-Glaspie meeting was kept under wraps. Few Americans knew of the incident. Adding to the intrigue, Glaspie seemingly disappeared. From August 4, 1990 until May of 1991, no government official mentioned her or could account for her whereabouts. A few reporters worked up the nerve to ask, but they were ignored.
In May 1991, April Glaspie appeared before the U.S. Senate. No questions were asked about where she had been for the prior nine months, and the public will probably never know. During her report to the Senate, she told of warning Saddam Hussein not to take action against Kuwait. She was believed because she alleged the transcripts of her meeting with Saddam were altered by the Iraqi government. (In reality, even the CIA admitted that the transcripts were accurate and that Glaspie had not issued such a statement to Saddam Hussein.) When she was finished testifying, the Senate virtually granted Glaspie hero status.
In July 1991, Senators Clayborne Pell of Rhode Island and Alan Cranston of California came up with a totally different scenario from the one Glaspie presented. They had both read the contents of secret messages from Glaspie to the U.S. government. They assessed that Glaspie blatantly lied to the U.S. Senate.
Pell and Cranston appeared on national television and called Glaspie’s testimony deceitful and shameful. They vowed to get to the bottom of the incident, all the time lambasting Glaspie and her testimony before the Senate. Pell and Cranston announced that they were putting the machinery in motion for a full investigation to begin in September 1991. By mid-October, there was no word of an investigation.
On October 11, 1991, I called Senator Cranston’s office in Washington D.C. When I asked about the impending investigation, there was silence. After a brief pause, I was hesitatingly told that they knew nothing about it and I was told to call the Foreign Affairs Committee.
I took the advice of Cranston’s office and called the committee. After I gave a brief description of the incident, I asked, "Is there any information available?" The woman, who would not identify herself, snapped "NOPE!" After a moment’s pause, she tersely added, "There was a meeting scheduled and then postponed INDEFINITELY." Then, she abruptly hung up.
Somehow, the administration squashed the only chance we had of learning the truth behind the Glaspie affair. The question that will never be publicly addressed and answered is: "Did April Glaspie virtually give Saddam Hussein a green light for invading Kuwait out of incompetence (i.e. was the Arab-Arab statement her own?) or was she instructed to say that by the U.S. administration?"
April Glaspie is a shady character at best. In 1992, it was announced that she accepted a position at the University of San Diego. Her phone number was listed, yet there never was an answer when it was called. And, there was no answering machine. She never taught a course at the University of San Diego.
In June 1993, the U.S. involvement in Somalia turned from a "humanitarian" mission to one that was attempting to capture the newly-demonized Mohammed Aidid. There was much bloodshed. Shortly before the public demonizing of Aidid, Glaspie had been re-assigned to Somalia. She wrote the new script.
Soon after the Somalia debacle, Glaspie again disappeared, only to turn up in the Rwanda area, where the slaughtering of over a million people was just getting underway. Prior to her stint in Iraq, Glaspie was stationed in Syria during the Lebanese bitter and bloody civil war. Is the fact that Glaspie happens to appear in areas in which there is violence shortly after her debut a matter of chance, or, possibly the prelude to destruction? Theoretically, she retired from government service in 2002. But, I wouldn’t bet on it.
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.
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