The General's War

by Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor
Boston: Little Brown, 1995, pp. 446-456 (on Saudi Arabia's rejected plan to assist the Shiites who were trying to overthrow Saddam, see pp. 454-456)
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Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

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Even After the Gulf War, the U.S. helped Saddam Hussein stay in power.

"Notice that contrary to the line that’s constantly presented about what the Gulf War was fought for, in reality it had nothing to do with not liking Saddam Hussein - as can very easily be demonstrated. So just take a look at hat happened right after the U.S. bombardment ended. A week after the war, Saddam Hussein turned to crushing the Shiite population in the south of Iraq and the Kurdish population in the north: what did the United states do? It watched. In fact, rebelling Iraqi generals pleaded with the United States to let them use captured Iraqi equipment to try to overthrow Saddam Hussein. The U.S. refused. Saudi Arabia, our leading ally in the region, approached the United States with a plan to support the rebel generals in their attempt to overthrow Saddam after the war: the Bush administration blocked the plan, and it was immediately dropped." [see footnote] ( p168 Understanding Power Noam Chomsky )

Brent Scowcroft served as national security adviser in the George H. W. Bush administration. In this interview he discusses why Saddam Hussein is a separate problem from going after bin Laden's terrorist network, explains why the coalition against terrorism is even more important than the coalition built during the Gulf War, and defends the decision in the earlier Bush administration not to go after Saddam at the end of the Gulf War and not to support uprisings in the northern and southern parts of Iraq. He was interviewed in October 2001.

Interviewer: We didn't cut off their gasoline supplies.

Brent Scowcroft: First of all, one of our objectives was not to have Iraq split up into constituent ... parts. It's a fundamental interest of the United States to keep a balance in that area, in Iraq. ...

Interviewer: So part of the reason to not go after his army at that point was to make sure there was a unified country, whether or not it was ruled by Saddam?

Brent Scowcroft: Well, partly. But suppose we went in and intervened, and the Kurds declare independence, and the Shiites declare independence. Then do we go to war against them to keep a unified Iraq?

Interviewer: But why would we care at that point?

Brent Scowcroft: We could care a lot.

Interviewer: I thought we had two interests. One was to evict the Iraqi Army from Kuwait. But the other really was to get Saddam out of power.

Brent Scowcroft: No, it wasn't.

Interviewer: Well, either covertly or overtly.

Brent Scowcroft: No. No, it wasn't. That was never... You can't find that anywhere as an objective, either in the U.N. mandate for what we did, or in our declarations, that our goal was to get rid of Saddam Hussein.

Link: PBS - frontline: gunning for saddam: interviews: brent scowcroft

footnote: On the rebel Iraqi generals' rejected pleas, see for example, John Simpson, "Surviving In The Ruins," Spectator (U.K.), August 10, 1991, pp. 8-10. An excerpt: "Our programme [Panorama on England's B.B.C.-1] has found evidence that several Iraqi generals made contact with the United States to sound out the likely American response if they took the highly dangerous step of planning a coup against Saddam. But now Washington faltered. It had been alarmed by the scale of the uprisings [against Saddam Hussein] in the north and south. For several years the Americans had refused to have any contact with the Iraqi opposition groups, and assumed that revolution would lead to the break-up of Iraq as a unitary state. The Americans believed that the Shi'as wanted to secede to Iran and that the Kurds would want to join up with the Kurdish people of Turkey. No direct answer was returned to the Iraqi generals; but on 5 March, only four days after President Bush had spoken of the need for the Iraqi people to get rid of Saddam Hussein, the White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said, "We don't intend to get involved . . . in Iraq's internal affairs. . . ."
An Iraqi general who escaped to Saudi Arabia in the last days of the uprising in southern Iraq told us that he and his men had repeatedly asked the American forces for weapons, ammunition and food to help them carry on the fight against Saddam's forces. The Americans refused. As they fell back on the town of Nasiriyeh, close to the allied positions, the rebels approached the Americans again and requested access to an Iraqi arms dump behind the American lines at Tel al-Allahem. At first they were told they could pass through the lines. Then the permission was rescinded and, the general told us, the Americans blew up the arms dump. American troops disarmed the rebels."

Jim Drinkard, "Senate Report Says Lack of U.S. Help Derailed Possible Iraq Coup," A.P., May 2, 1991 (Westlaw database # 1991 WL 6184412). An excerpt: "Defections by senior officials in Saddam Hussein's army -- and possibly a coup attempt against Saddam -- were shelved in March because the United States failed to support the effort, according to a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff report. . . . [T]he United States "continued to see the opposition in caricature," fearing that the Kurds sought a separate state and the Shi'as wanted an Iranian-style Islamic fundamentalist regime, the report concluded. . . .
"The public snub of Kurdish and other Iraqi opposition leaders was read as a clear indication the United States did not want the popular rebellion to succeed," the document stated. . . . The refusal to meet with the Iraqi opposition was accompanied by "background statements from administration officials that they were looking for a military, not a popular, alternative to Saddam Hussein," the committee staff report said. . . . The United States resisted not only the entreaties of opposition figures, but of Syria and Saudi Arabia, which favored aiding the Iraqi dissidents militarily, the report contended."

A.P., "Senior Iraqis offered to defect, report says," Boston Globe, May 3, 1991, p. 8; "Report: U.S. Stymied Defections," Newsday (New York), May 3, 1991, p. 15;
Tony Horwitz, "Forgotten Rebels: After Heeding Calls To Turn on Saddam, Shiites Feel Betrayed," Wall Street Journal Europe, December 31, 1991, p. 1.

For more on the immediate decision by the U.S. to allow Saddam Hussein to massacre the rebelling Shiites and Kurds -- in part using attack helicopters, as expressly permitted by U.S. commanders -- at the conclusion of the Gulf War, see for example, Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, Boston: Little Brown, 1995, pp. 446-456 (on Saudi Arabia's rejected plan to assist the Shiites who were trying to overthrow Saddam, see pp. 454-456).
(from footnotes for Chapter 5 of Understanding Power Noam Chomsky


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