Saddam Leaves the Stage

Sunday, December 31, 2006 12:18 PM

It is all very simple, really. There are no rules, except one. Those who have the power will exercise that power for as long as they can in order to do whatever they please. This is the simple lesson of the execution of Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, who was overthrown by the Cheney/Bush "neocon" invasion of Iraq in 2003. Saddam had been in power since 1979.

When he attacked Iran in September of 1980, Saddam must have thought that he was currying favor with the Washington Establishment. He did not comprehend that he and his country were being used as pawns. Tel Aviv transferred $2 billion of American arms to Tehran during that war, which dragged on until August of 1988. The idea was to insure that both Iraq and Iran bled each other for as long as possible. Did Saddam think that Tel Aviv and Washington were not coordinating their activities? Remember, too, that Don Rumsfeld traveled to Baghdad to meet with Saddam in 1983 and 1984, to facilitate the delivery of American arms and equipment, perhaps including chemical weapons. Note, Rumsfeld's consultations in Baghdad took place after the alleged crime (1982) for which Saddam was convicted and sent to the gallows yesterday. What does that tell you?

In the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war, Iraq was broke or at least very deeply in debt. It was a war fought by Iraq partly on behalf of the Arabs, to "protect" them from Iran. That's what Washington wanted the Saudis and the Arab rulers bordering the Persian Gulf to believe, anyway. (Previously, it had been Henry Kissinger's policy to arm “our bad guy” Shah Reza Pahlavi to the teeth, to police the Gulf and the Arabs.) The Emir of Kuwait and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, however, did not care to reimburse Iraq for its losses beyond a certain point. So Saddam attempted to annex Kuwait for its oil, for an outlet to the sea, and because Kuwait was a fake state concocted by the British after World War I. Going back to the 1930's, leaders in Baghdad had always regarded Kuwait as a province of Iraq.

For Washington, Saddam's invasion of Iran in 1980 was one thing, because the people of Iran had dethroned the Shah in favor of Ayatollah Khomeini, but occupying Kuwait in the summer of 1990 was quite another. Supposedly, Kuwait + Iraq meant that Saddam would be in control of 24% of the world's known oil supplies. Earlier on, in June of 1981, Tel Aviv had sent F-16 fighter bombers to destroy the French-built Osirak nuclear reactor 18 miles south of Baghdad. After Saddam had finished with his ruinous war against Iran in 1988, Tel Aviv wanted Iraq destroyed and Saddam liquidated. Why? Because Baghdad was still sitting on top of an ocean of oil, and Saddam was a lose cannon. Clearly, he was not acting like the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for instance, who had subordinated themselves to Washington at the end of the Cold War and who had effectively washed their hands of the Palestinian problem.

The elder Bush succumbed to the needling of that hectoring, annoying English busybody, Margaret Thatcher, and decided to confront Saddam, after first shrugging off the 1990 annexation of Kuwait. The Israel Lobby went into action and provided Bush with the necessary Democratic votes on Capitol Hill which authorized Operation Desert Storm. It was launched in January of 1991. Saddam lobbed missiles into Tel Aviv when the U.S. bombed Baghdad, as a signal to his fellow Arabs and to Washington that he had not been entirely fooled. Saddam was aware who had made Operation Desert Storm possible. It wasn't the irrelevant, lecturing Thatcher.

However, the symbolic gesture of firing a handful of ineffectual Scud missiles at Tel Aviv in 1991 sealed Saddam's fate, and led him to the gallows in 2006. Thereafter Washington sponsored a comprehensive embargo on Iraq, at the successful conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. The embargo killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, mostly women and children, during the 1990's and beyond. According to Madeline Albright, Bill Clinton's Secretary of State, this wholesale massacre of Iraqis was "worth it". Certainly, Sandy Berger, Martin Indyk and Dennis Ross must have agreed, because they were in charge of Clinton's Middle East foreign policy.

In the wake of Operation Desert Storm, the elder Bush and then Clinton came to an informal, unadvertised understanding with Tel Aviv. Washington promised to destroy Saddam and his regime, no matter how long it took. In the meantime, under Clinton's all-Jewish foreign policy team aforesaid, Tel Aviv had a free hand to  build Jewish "settlements" as fast as it could and wherever it pleased in the occupied territories, including East Jerusalem. Saddam further sealed his doom by giving  stipends to Palestinian families,  whose sons had blown themselves up to protest the occupation. This new terror tactic came  into being only after the fraud known as the Olso "peace process" had run its  predictable course. When push came to shove, the opportunistic Clinton and his wife abandoned Arafat and the Palestinians to their fate. What else could they do, when confronted with the realities of political power inside Washington?

Yes, Washington's hectic, coordinated agenda with Tel Aviv has had all sorts of interesting, adverse repercussions for those in the way. The question now is, where will it end and who else will be damaged or destroyed?