The Gulf War:
Overreaction & Excessiveness
By Hassan A El-Najjar
Amazone Press, 2001
The Root of Subsequent US Invasion of the Middle East
America was dragged into conflict
with the Arab and Muslim worlds
AMERICA GOES TO WAR
not push us to war. Do not make it the only option left with which we
can protect our dignity. If Iraq is publicly humiliated by the United
States, it will have no choice but to respond, however illogical and
self-destructive that would prove.” Saddam Hussain in his meeting
with Ambassador April Glaspie on July 25, 1990.
must continue its established policy, one of whose principles is to
adversaries, near and far, from obtaining a nuclear capability.”
It did not take President Bush, a long time before reaching a
decision to go to war against Iraq. He decided that war was necessary
in order to destroy the Iraqi military machine, manpower, military
industry, and the Iraqi economy in general. That quick decision to opt
for war to eject Iraq out of Kuwait was not a surprise for the
observer. Iraq had been accorded the status of the enemy in the Middle
East by the Bush administration experts, military leaders, and
supporters of Israel in the Congress and the media, early in 1990.
The American-Iraqi relations alternated between the two
extremes of friendship and hostility in the second half of the 20th
century. During most of the 1950s, the pro-Western Iraqi monarchy was
considered friendly. Republican Iraq in the 1960s and the first half
of the 1970s was considered hostile until it came to terms with the
pro-Western Iranian Shah’s regime. During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war,
Iraq was also considered friendly. Some State Department officials
wanted to continue that policy of friendship after the war. Thus, the
United States Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, suggested improving
relations with Iraq. In response, President Bush issued a Presidential
directive (NSD-26) on October 2, 1989 for that effect. The objective
was expanding trade between the two countries. The U.S. purchased
nearly $1.6 billion worth of crude oil from Iraq in 1988. The
Directive increased Iraqi importation of American grains to more than
$1 billion a year by providing American exporters with government
On October 6, 1989, the U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker,
met with the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, to solicit his
support for President Mubarak’s plan to mediate between Israelis and
Palestinians. Aziz refrained and complained of American attempts to
destabilize Iraq. Secretary Baker checked with President Bush and with
General Scowcroft who denied the allegations. Moreover, the President
asked Baker to tell Aziz in a letter, later in October, that “the
U.S. is not involved in any effort to weaken or destabilize Iraq.” 
In spite of these assurances, Iraq quickly slipped from the
status of a friend to that of an adversary in less than a year. The
“Arabists,” in the State Department like Mrs. Glaspie, were no
match to the “Israelists,”
who were capable of changing the American foreign policy toward Iraq
as early as April 1990. When Iraq invaded Kuwait about four months
later, the American administration was already in an anti-Iraqi mood.
Thus, the real story of the Gulf crisis and the war that followed
started much earlier than August 2, 1990. That story can only be more
understood by understanding how the ruling elite in the United States
In this chapter, an investigation of how America went to war is
conducted in four main parts. First, the power elite realism is
analyzed in order to explain how the American power elite think, plan,
and execute American foreign policy. Second, the war decision is
investigated by analyzing positions of the major players involved in
making or influencing American foreign policy. These are found in
private institutions as well as government agencies such as the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Council on
Foreign Relations, the National Security Council (NSC), the Department
of Defense, and the Department of State. This part also sheds some
light on the influence exerted on President Bush by the British Prime
Minister, Margaret Thatcher.
Third, an investigation of why the administration opted for
war, not sanctions to secure the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait will
follow. This includes an analysis of the American policy towards Iraq
and how the war was justified by mentioning advantages of using force
and disadvantages of relying on sanctions. This part also includes an
analysis of the roles played by President Bush and the war hawks in
the NSC and Congress in preparing the American people to accept
demonization of the Iraqi president by referring to him as
“Hitler” or just “him.” Finally, how President Bush used the
notion of a new world order to make the use of force appear as a tool
to achieve peace, not only in the Middle East but also in the whole
world. The analysis draws heavily on President Bush's book that he
published together with Scowcroft, in 1998. The objective is avoiding
any possible disputes concerning accuracy of mentioned events.
Power Elite Realism
The Power Elite sociological model
analyzes the state as controlled not only by elected politicians but
also by the non-elected military and business leaders. The most
influential among the three power elite groups are corporate business
leaders. As a result of their important donations for politicians,
they have a great influence on who is going to be appointed to senior
positions of various government departments and agencies. Actually,
most of these appointees come directly from corporate management
backgrounds, the most prestigious legal firms, and “defense”
professors in major universities. Therefore, it is not a surprise that
Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski were proteges of David
Rokefeller. Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger were proteges of
Kissinger, as they were his employees. McGeorge Bundy headed the Ford
Foundation after leaving his NSC post, in 1969. Former Secretaries of
Defense Charles E. Wilson, Neil H. McElroy, Thomas S. Gates, Robert S.
McNamara, and Casper W. Weinberger held the highest positions in
General Motors, Proctor & Gamble, Morgan Guaranty Trust, Ford, and
Bechtel Corporation, respectively.
With the exception of Wineberger, who was the vice President of
Bechtel Corporation, all were presidents or board chairmen of their
corporations. The influence of these representatives of the power
elite was not limited only to the government departments or agencies
but extended to influence the President himself. They became his
companions and tutors, socializing with him and teaching him about
their world- view and America’s place in it.
The Realpolitik theory, or realism,
is an over-simplified view of war based on the game of power politics.
the prevailing view among American politicians and political
scientists. The “Realist” school places a major emphasis on
winning war by any means. Adherents to this school are not concerned
with such issues as fairness, joint gains, or costs. They are aliens
to the principle of inseparability between national interests and
moral duties that Thomas Jefferson called for.
Secretary of State, James Baker, described himself as a realist who
was together with President Bush members of a generation that embraced
wholeheartedly the concept of Pax Americana.
This concept has meant (at least according to Webster’s Dictionary)
engaging America as a dominant military power in maintaining stability
in international affairs, or wielding a worldwide influence, according
Henry Kissenger was an architect and
a master of realpolitik,
in East-West relations. James Baker followed him in that. A basic
reflection of this policy was linking any agreement on arms control
with political issues of interest to the administration. They called
themselves “realist” in contrast with the U.S. negotiating team
leader Gerard Smith, the “idealist” who was so naive that he
wanted to negotiate just arms for arms. They knew that the U.S. was in
a stronger position, which allowed them to demand Soviet concessions
in areas like Jewish immigration from the Soviet Union and Eastern
Europe. The policy continued more aggressively when Smith was replaced
first by Eugene Rostow then by Ken Adelman.
attributes this position to the “anarchic” international
relations. Those who are in power decide national interests and use
calculated power to achieve war ends. Thus, it is not the size and
capabilities of the enemy that decide how much power will be used in
war. Rather, the perceived war ends do. This means that there are no
permanent and known national interests. Instead, influential groups in
society decide national interests in a way that protects their own
interests, which are articulated as policies by their representatives
Realists usually use the folk theory to prepare the population
for war. They portray the two parties in a war as representing good
and evil. The enemy image is demonic, barbarian, and degenerate.
Polarized thinking in both nations prevents debate and impedes
attempts of peaceful conflict resolution. Once national leaders
develop this kind of thinking toward the enemy, they do not differ
from one-another. Their statements concerning the conflict become
The administration realists used the folk theory in
manipulating the American public opinion to win its support for the
war decision. From the beginning, the Iraqi President was described as
Hitler. There was no real debate in the administration about whether
to go to war or not. The debate was about how to destroy Iraq with the
least possible costs. As a result, a great part of the population also
adopted the simplified stereotype of the Iraqi president and accepted
the war decision. On December 14, 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported
that 61 percent of Americans supported the administration’s Gulf
policy. The TV network, NBC, had a similar poll, citing 54 percent
approval of a decision to go to war if Iraq had not withdrawn from
Kuwait by January 15.
This public support for the war decision was reflected in the
explosion of yellow ribbons on trees, homes, jackets, and blouses.
Throughout the crisis and the war, most journalists and
politicians referred to Iraq as “Saddam.” It amounted to an
obsession with “his” personality. In most cases, they would refer
to the Iraqi President as “him,” as if the whole war was against
him personally. They gave their audiences the impression that their
war was not against the people of Iraq. Rather, it was against
“him.” This tactic helped them immunize the population against
developing any sympathetic feelings towards hundreds of thousands of
Iraqis who would be killed or injured during and after the war. Bush
and Scowcroft’s memoirs (1998) provide a perfect example of how Iraq
was referred to as Saddam and how the destruction inflicted on the
Iraqi people was portrayed as simply punishing “him.”
Iraqis were also portrayed as brutal in their behaviors towards
Kuwaitis. During one of the Congressional hearings that preceded
giving the administration the permission to go to war, there were
testimonies that the Iraqis took medical equipment, including
incubators of infants, from the Kuwaiti hospitals. After the war,
several newspapers and TV networks reinvestigated the story. The
interviews with Kuwaiti doctors demonstrated that this was not true.
Actually, Kuwaiti doctors and administrators hid the equipment in the
basements of hospitals.
Moreover, Amnesty International, which started the whole story,
apologized for its earlier report because “it found no reliable
evidence to support that story.”
However, President Bush has still insisted on the story and reported
it in his book without comments about its accuracy.
on the War Decision
In the summer of 1989, about one year after the end of the
Iran-Iraq war, U.S. defense analysts came to the conclusion that Iraq
posed a greater threat to the stability of the region than Iran did.
Actually, they expected Iraq to invade Kuwait nine months earlier, in
December 1989. They based their conclusions on the facts that Iraq
ended the war with Iran successfully with one-million-man army, a $90
billion debt, and a Kuwaiti position that contributed to a dramatic
decline in oil prices.
The same conclusion was reached by the state Department experts early in 1990. Dennis Ross and Bob Kimmit rallied Secretary Baker successfully for a change in policy towards Iraq in April that year. By the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, it was already branded as an adversary by the administration experts. In fact, these experts turned to be the real policy makers, not the President who was caught unprepared the day after the invasion, as he admitted in his memoirs that he did not know the U.S. position, then. But how did this happen? And what were the major influences on the war decision?
There were three types of factors that influenced the President
to make the war decision, rather than opting for economic sanctions to
get Iraq out of Kuwait. The first type is characterized by being a
long-term influence on policy making. This was represented by the
influential think tanks and councils, which promoted Cold War policies
globally and regionally. Among the most influential of these are the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Council on Foreign
Relations. Throughout the 1980s, they drafted reports and published
articles that warned against the Iraqi threat to the status quo in the
Middle East, particularly the threat to the Israeli military
superiority in the region. Moreover, authors of these reports and
articles were appointed in successive administrations as experts on
the Middle East. This allowed them to transform their ideas into
policy guidelines for various government agencies. Thus, by the time
Iraq invaded Kuwait, there was a mindset in the administration about
Iraq as an adversary.
The second type of influences was more direct, but still
related to the first. This was represented by positions of the
experts, who became officials in the government, particularly in the
National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the
Department of States. Finally, there was an external influence exerted
on the President, represented by the British Prime Minister, Margaret
the first influence on the war decision may be traced into the
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), which was
established by Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk,
in 1985. The objective was to influence successive administrations to
follow a pro-Israel policy in the Middle East. Every four years, the
Institute drafts a blueprint, signed by a bipartisan group of
politicians, for the new administration’s Middle East policy. In
addition, the Institute has been preparing and publishing reports
(policy papers) that analyze the situation in the Middle East from a
pro-Israel perspective. The Institute is so influential that its
founders and associates have been occupying major policy making
positions in successive administrations.
In the WINEP (1988) report, for example, the spread of ballistic
missiles and chemical weapons throughout the Middle East was noted as
posing a threat to the security and stability of Israel. The report
argued that Israel’s security can only be ensured by preserving the
Israeli military superiority over all Arab states. Thus, by the
elimination of this threat, Israel can continue as the only power that
has nuclear, chemical, and biological capabilities in the region.
The same theme of focusing on the threat of unconventional
weapons to Israel continued in other reports that were published by
the WINEP. The Carus (1989) report warned that Iraq was becoming an
autonomous chemical weapons producer and suggested steps the U.S.
could take in response to the Iraqi challenge. The Eisenstadt (1990)
report was more focused than the previous two. It warned that Iraq
would acquire a nuclear weapons production capability within five to
ten years. The report warned that the Iraqi threat to Israel was real
because of the Iraqi chemical, biological, and missile capabilities.
It further warned of the consequences of completing the Iraqi supergun
project, which would allow Iraq to place military reconnaissance
satellites into the earth orbit. These Iraqi capabilities, the report
concluded, led to the emergence of an uneasy deterrent relationship
between Iraq and Israel. Of course, this was unacceptable to the WINEP,
which equates stability in the region with the Israeli military
second major influence on the war decision was from the Council on
Foreign Relations, which had its origins in the years after World War
I. Back then, many American leaders returned from the Paris Peace
Conference dissatisfied with both their preparation for the
negotiations and the outcome of the conference. They believed that the
growing economic power of the United States should lead to greater
involvement and leadership in world affairs. Therefore, some of them
thought about forming a forum of experts to plan for American foreign
The Council on Foreign Relations was founded in 1921 with the
merger of a New York businessmen’s discussion group and an Institute
of International Affairs that consisted mainly of statesmen and
academic experts. Since then, the Council has become the primary body
that is responsible for planning and guiding American foreign policy.
Thus, the Council sets the agenda of what constitutes America’s
national interests. What is striking is that it is a private
institution that caters for the interests of major private economic
institutions. For example, the Council started planning the American
foreign policy for the Post-War era at the beginning of the WWII, as
early as 1940, a year before America actually entered the war. The
major factor that guided American foreign policy then was the
integration of Post-War Western Europe into the “Grand Area”
economies. The concept referred to economies of the Western
Hemisphere, Asia, and the British Empire bloc at that time. Council
members, who created this conception of the “Grand Area,” were
private citizens working for private institutions, mainly
internationally-oriented bankers, corporate executives, academic
experts, and journalists.
Now, the Council is limited to 650 members, 400 from New York
and 250 from the rest of the country. These represent the most
prominent business and professional leaders. As a result, the council
brings partners from J.P. Morgan and Company together with Ivy League
professors, international lawyers, syndicated columnists, State
Department officials, and clergymen.
The Council’s funding for projects comes from large
foundations directed by business leaders who are members of the
council in significant numbers. The council endeavors to realize its
aims through discussion groups, research studies, book-length
monographs, and articles on a wide variety of countries and issues in
its prestigious journal, Foreign Affairs.
Actually, the policy of containment against the Soviet Union was first
explained in an article published in “Foreign Affairs” by the
former American ambassador in Moscow, George Kennan.
It is common knowledge that various government agencies have
their own research groups that contribute to planning American foreign
policy. However, the privately-owned and privately-funded
institutions, such as the Council on Foreign Relations play a primary
role in planning foreign policy. They articulate major guidelines,
which are followed by various government agencies.
The Council had taken a hostile stance against Iraq since the
end of the Iran-Iraq war. This is documented in some of the articles
published in its journal, Foreign Affairs. Fouad Ajami warned against
Iraqi intentions towards Kuwait.
In another article, Iraq was described as having a heavy hand towards
Kuwait. This, together with its intervention in Lebanon (!), the
author concluded, revived some of the "old Arab fears about
Iraq's ambitions." 
Iraq was also pointed to as the party that used chemical weapons and
ballistic missiles successfully during the Iran-Iraq war. This fact
"highlighted the dangers posed by the spread of these
Iraq was further classified as one of the enemy states in the Third
World, in addition to Iran, Libya, Cuba, and North Korea, that
warranted the continuation of military spending in the post Cold War
The most anti-Iraq article, however, was written by Barry Rubin who
argued that aside from the Arab-Israeli peace process, there would be
three main priorities for U.S. Middle East policy in the 1990s.
"First, there is the problem of ambitious, aggressive, radical
states that could try to dominate the region, subvert an Arab-Israeli
peace settlement, oppose U.S. interests, sponsor terrorism and
overthrow U.S. allies. The most important of these is Iraq, with its
victory over Iran, huge oil resources, large army and ruthless
With such instigative articles, the Council contributed to influencing
the administration to adopt a hostile stance against Iraq.
The third major influence on the war decision was from the National Security Council (NSC). Early in 1990, the NSC prepared the administration’s National Security Strategy Report, which the President submitted to Congress. The report focused on four broad national American interests and objectives. None of these interests was threatened by the Iraqi invasion to Kuwait or would be threatened if the invasion was reversed peacefully. It is hard to imagine how can any person be persuasive in arguing that the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait posed more threat to American interests or world stability more than did the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. How would it threaten American independence, the U.S. economy, human rights and democratic institutions in friendly countries? Because such an argument could not be persuasive, the NSC officials used other means to justify the intervention against Iraq, such as Article 51 of the U.N. Charter.
Haass was the architect of the war decision. He was hired by the
President's National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, as the
expert on the Middle East in the Council. He put his ideas in a
written plan in late August to make use of force acceptable to
Congress, Arab governments, and the United Nations. He proposed that
the administration begin consulting first with America’s Arab allies
then with the permanent members of the Security Council. The U.S.
would ask the council to act only if there was enough backing from the
Arab bloc and the necessary votes were there. If at any point, this
plan could not succeed, the U.S. would back away from a UN mandate and
cobble together an independent multinational effort built on friendly
Arab and allied participation. The grounds for this would be the
initial UN resolution condemning Iraq, the subsequent resolutions, and
Article 51 of the U.N. charter, along with a request from the Emir of
Kuwait to intervene.
In the following few months up to January 15, 1991, the Bush
administration did nothing to violate the Haass’s plan. This
demonstrates the supreme importance of the roles played by experts in
making major policy decisions. Actually, the President and his
National Security Adviser lack the time to handle all vital issues
themselves. As a result, long-term problems, such as the Middle East
peace, receive scant attention from them.
The solution for this problem of delegating power to non-elected
experts is maintaining the “constitutional” system of checks and
balances. This requires the recruitment of adequate number of Arabists
in the administration to counterbalance the influence of pro-Israel
experts. The NSC, in particular, needs to be balanced because of its
supremacy over other government departments and agencies, as argued by
The fourth major influence on the war decision was from the
American military establishment. It saw the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
as a golden opportunity to achieve a major victory that would help it
recover from the Vietnam War Syndrome. Generals Colin Powell, Norman
Schwarzkopf, Chuck Horner, and John Yeosock, were profoundly marked by
the Vietnam War. As General Horner put it: “Before the war, we
started believing the newspapers which said we were incompetent. They
said that our equipment didn’t work, that our people were no good,
that our generals were stupid, we had to prove them wrong.”
Thus, when the crisis reached a serious stage on July 24, 1990, Colin
Powell asked Schwarzkopf to draw a contingency plan for a U.S.
response to an Iraqi crossing of the Kuwaiti borders.
On the eve of the invasion in August 1990, the Pentagon announced its
new military strategy for the 1990s, which aimed at addressing the
growth of the regional powers, especially in the Middle East.
The war also represented an invaluable opportunity to
demonstrate that the United States had become the only
superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. On February 8,
1991, Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, and Chairman of the
Joint-Chiefs-of-staff, General Colin Powell, arrived at Riyadh to
check preparedness for the ground war. After listening to Schwarzkopf
and other generals of the Central Command, Cheney addressed them
saying: “There has never been a time in the history of our nation
when the United States military has conducted a more successful or
professional operation.” Powell added: “I cannot believe the lift
that this crisis and our response to it have given our country. This
is the way the world’s only remaining superpower is supposed to
fifth major influence on the war decision was from the Department of
State, which did very little to resolve the crisis peacefully. The
invasion occurred when the Secretary of State and his advisors were in
Moscow. Because he was in his way to Mongolia, he left his aids Dennis
Ross and Bob Zoellick in the Soviet capital in order to discuss the
issue with their Soviet counterparts. Ross persuaded Tarasenko, his
Soviet counterpart, to agree to a joint statement that condemned the
invasion. The Soviet official was so cooperative that he agreed that
the statement be actually written by Dennis Ross and his assistant
In fact, the vast majority of what the State Department did was
giving Iraq ultimatums instead of negotiating a peaceful Iraqi
withdrawal from Kuwait. As demonstrated in Chapter VII, the
administration’s response to every single peace initiative was
rejection. No matter who was the author of a peace initiative, the
administration insisted on withdrawal without negotiations, or even a
face-saving promise to address other problems in the Middle East,
Once the war decision was made, the State Department started
its preparations for war through the adoption of a series of United
Nations resolutions. Resolution 660 was passed on August 2, condemning
the invasion and calling for the Iraqi immediate and unconditional
withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 6, Resolution 661 was adopted
imposing economic sanctions on Iraq. Between August 9 and November 29,
nine more resolutions were passed. None of them attempted a peaceful
resolution of the problem (Appendix VII.A).
The last was Resolution 678, which authorized the use of force
to secure Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait if it did not withdraw
before January 15, 1991. Even the Geneva meeting between Baker and
Aziz on January 9, 1991, was designed to avoid any peaceful
settlement. The letter that Baker carried to Aziz was an ultimatum,
which was so full of threats that Aziz could not accept. As a result,
all what the Department of State did was looking for ways to reinforce
the war decision rather than looking for peaceful solutions.
Thus doing, the State Department did not live up to what was
expected from it: using diplomacy to avert war. The decision not to
recruit Arab Americans to its staff and senior positions left
pro-Israel experts in a monopolistic position, as a 1986 self-study
This explains why the State Department did not do its job. Had there
been an adequate number of Arabists there, serious efforts to avoid
the war could have been done. Even about a decade after the Gulf War,
the State Department is still suffering, like the NSC, from the lack
of checks and balances among its staff and senior officials, as
represented by the lack of Arabists and Arab Americans there.
Finally, the British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, played
a unique role in pushing President Bush towards making the war
decision. The President spoke briefly to reporters, early in the
morning of August 3, 1990, the following day after the invasion. When
Helen Thomas of UPI asked him whether he was contemplating
intervention, he said he was not. In his diary, he wrote: “The truth
is, at that moment, I had no idea what our options were ... What I
hoped to convey was an open mind about how we might handle the
situation until I learned all the facts.” At the same time, the
British had declared the invasion a grave threat to regional peace.
They had made up their minds before their prime minister met President
Bush in Aspen, Colorado.
When Mrs. Thatcher met with the President later that day, she
observed that “George had been a bit wobbly” but she “had
fortunately been able to stiffen his resolve.” 
In fact, this observation lends support to the argument that the
President did not know what to do until he met with the “iron lady
(who was) not known for counseling half measures in time of
Thatcher’s position, on the other hand, was crystal clear. Britain
still looked at Kuwait as a colonial prize that could not be lost.
Therefore, having the United States on its side during the crisis was
essential for restoring Kuwait from Iraq. She continued arguing that
if Iraq won, no small state in the Gulf would be safe. The Iraqis
won’t stop in Kuwait, she warned. Therefore, “we must do
everything possible” to stop them, she added. Then she suggested
that President Bush call King Fahd to offer military assistance, which
King Fahd agreed, as a result, to receive 100,000 American troops
instantly in his country.
Thatcher also encouraged President Bush to go to war in order
to reverse the Iraqi action. She told him how she reversed the
Argentine seizure of the Falkland Islands, eight years earlier. As a
result, he followed her style of action and even used her own words at
that time. Thus, on August 5, he announced: “This will not stand,”
thus repeating her famous reaction to the Argentine move.
On August 6, the “Iron Lady” met with the President in the
White House. She urged him to invoke Article 51 of the U.N. Charter,
which allows member states the right of self-defense to protect their
national interests. The problem for President Bush was that such
national interests were never clear in the first place. The British
colonial interests, however, were very clear and well articulated.
Thatcher was “a charter member of a (colonial hawkish) school that
may be described as do what you must (do) now and worry about it
Not only Thatcher encouraged President Bush to take a stand
against the invasion but also encouraged him later, on October 17, to
go to action without the need for an Iraqi provocation. She argued
that it was better to go to war on her own terms rather than relying
on provocation. She was actually arguing for a specific time while
President Bush was not resigned to when to start the war. She reminded
him that a military option would be there only for a short time, that
is, during the cool months between November and March.
On October 18, the President agreed with her that they did not
have the luxury of waiting for sanctions to work. The Islamic holy
month of Ramadhan would come between March 17 and April 14. Then, it
would be followed by "Haj," pilgrimage to the holy sites in
Saudi Arabia. Following that, the heat would become so oppressive that
military operations would be all but precluded. These factors together
led him to agree with her on a period no later than January or
February to start the war.
All in all, the major players who had an influence on the
President opted for war from the beginning. As this was the case, most
of what they did after that was to explain their decision to the
public opinion. However, opting for war was consistent with the change
in the American policy toward Iraq from friendly to adversarial, which
had already occurred before the Iraqi invasion.
Policy toward Iraq
During the 1980-1988
Iran-Iraq war, the Reagan administration kept friendly relations with
Iraq, most of the time.
The relationship started to improve in 1983, after the Iraqi
government had asked Abu Nidal to leave. In return, the Reagan
administration removed Iraq from the list of nations engaged in
“state-sponsored terrorism,” a term usually used to refer to
countries that supported Palestinian armed struggle to end the Israeli
occupation. A year later, American-Iraqi diplomatic relations were
resumed after seventeen years. Throughout the Iran-Iraq war,
military intelligence was shared with the Iraqis, and in 1987, when
Iran began attacking oil tankers in hopes of denying Iraq critical
revenues from its oil exports, the United States reflagged Kuwaiti
tankers and deployed American warships to protect them.
This American intervention enabled Iraq to continue receiving oil
revenues through Kuwaiti sales.
Following that war, the U.S. policy towards Iraq started to
change. “Specialists” in various government agencies concluded
that Iraq had become of considerable concern for several reasons.
First, it harbored some Palestinian groups, which were still seen by
the administration specialists as “terrorists.” Second, it had
chemical and biological weapons and used chemical weapons during the
Iran-Iraq war. Third, it acquired intermediate-range ballistic
missiles. Finally, it attempted to build a nuclear-weapon capability.
Objectively speaking, these four reasons could not warrant a
change in the American foreign policy towards Iraq for the following
reasons. First, Iraq was not the only Arab state that supported
Palestinian resistance against the Israeli military occupation. If the
American foreign policy was conducted on basis of fairness, justice,
and using the same standards, then Israel should have been threatened
with the same adversarial relations with the United States. Israel has
been occupying Arab territories since 1967 without any signs of
observing the U.N. resolutions 242 and 338 that called for withdrawal
from them. Furthermore, Israel has occupied South Lebanon since 1982
and refused to withdraw in spite of the U.N. resolution 425 which
called for withdrawal from that area.
Second, Iraq was not the only state in the Middle East with
chemical, biological, and missile capabilities. Israel had these
capabilities, too. Third, the Israeli record of human rights
violations was the darkest in the region. Israeli troops killed and
injured Palestinian children on daily basis, tortured, and detained
without trial thousands of other Palestinians since 1967 and
particularly after the outbreak of the Intifadha, Uprising, in
Finally, Israel is the only state in the region with nuclear
capabilities and it has kept its monopoly on that since bombing the
Iraqi nuclear facilities in 1981. Actually, an established Israeli
policy is preventing Arab states from obtaining nuclear capabilities.
What is amazing is that the U.S. successive administrations, from
Johnson’s to Reagan’s, all covered up for and supported that
Israeli effort. Actually, in 1982, the U.S. withdrew from the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to protest the Agency’s
rejection of Israel’s membership credentials. The Agency was
protesting Israel’s 1981 bombing of the Iraqi nuclear facilities, as
Iraq was a signatory member state in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The U.S. returned to IAEA only after the Israeli credentials were
accepted. Indeed, the U.S. turned a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear
program in the 1960s, which allowed Israel not only to continue
building up its stockpile of nuclear weapons unimpeded, but also to
lay the basis for further advances in the 1980s.
Thus, if the Bush administration specialists had been the least
objective, they would have blamed Israel for the arm race in the
Middle East by insisting on its occupation of the Arab territories and
by introducing nuclear weapons to the region.
The real reason for the suggested change in the American
foreign policy towards Iraq, then, was the perception of some change
in the balance of power in the region. Yitzhak Rabin, who was the
Israeli Defense Minister, expressed Israel’s anxiety concerning the
Iraqi missile capabilities as early as March 1988. Directly following
the Iranian acceptance of the cease-fire in July 1988, which ended the
Iran-Iraq war, Shimon Peres expressed the Israeli fears that the Iraqi
army with its 50 divisions may pose a threat to Israel. The same
conclusion was reached by Dan Shomron, the Israeli Chief-of-Staff. On
July 21, 1988, Rabin warned Iraq not to use its missiles with chemical
war heads against Israel in the future. If this happens, Israel would
hit back 100 times harder, that is with nuclear weapons, he implied.
Thus, the Israeli government branded Iraq as a threat almost
two years before the Iraqi-Kuwaiti crisis. Pro-Israel specialists in
various U.S. government agencies and influential private institutions
got the Israeli message quickly. They started a diligent work to
change the American policy towards Iraq to suit the Israeli position.
This was reflected in the WINEP (1988) report, which was drafted by
Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk, and Richard Haass. That report became the
guiding reference of the U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, ever
Actually, the 1988 document was based on an earlier report written by
Ross and two other “specialists.” Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, and
Geoffrey Kemp prepared a study in 1979 in which they predicted that
Iraq would be the future threat to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Had there been an independent American foreign policy in the
Middle East, the whole Gulf crisis could have been avoided. Actually,
it is impossible to point to any other constant in the American
foreign policy towards the region other than following the interests
of Israel. The main factor that precludes the articulation of such
independent policy lies in the influential groups in the American
society, which decide what constitutes national interests. The
above-mentioned Iraqi developments did not threaten American national
interests simply because these interests were never articulated. Then,
what did Iraq do in particular to cause the fear of the Israelists in
the Bush administration?
In addition to the above-mentioned four factors, the pro-Israel
“specialists” added several more Iraqi developments, in early
1990, that were used to warrant a change in the American policy
towards Iraq. First, Iraq became the leader of the Arab
“rejectionist” camp, which opposed peace with Israel. Second, Iraq
started to denunciate the immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel. Third,
in April 2, the Iraqi President threatened to incinerate half of
Israel if it would attack Iraq again, as it had in 1981.
Fourth, the execution of an Iranian-born British journalist for spying
resulted in an anxiety toward what was going on in Iraq. Fifth, the
Iraqi President accused the U.S. of “meddling” in the Gulf.
Finally, Iraq built six missile launchers in the country’s western
desert within range of Israeli cities.
When analyzing these developments objectively, we find that
most of them are related to Israel. As a result, it is hard to show
that American interests were threatened. It is even harder to
understand how Iraq could be found at fault because of these
developments. First, Iraq was not the only Arab state that rejected
the Egyptian-Israeli treaty. Actually, almost all Arab states rejected
it as a bilateral deal that weakened the collective Arab effort to
liberate the Arab occupied territories from the Israeli military
occupation. Following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace
treaty, Egypt was expelled from the Arab League, which moved its
headquarters to Tunis instead of Cairo. To single Iraq out for blame
on that is both inaccurate and unfair. Moreover, Egypt was reinstated
in the Arab League and became one of the four members of the Arab
Cooperation Council with Iraq, Jordan, and Yemen, in 1989.
Second, concerning denunciations of the immigration of about
one million Soviet Jews to Israel, Iraq again was not the only Arab
state that denounced it. These Soviet Jews were denied visas to the
United States and other Western countries in an attempt to force them
to go to Israel. Arabs perceived this as a kind of support for the
expansionist policies of the Likude government, which did not show any
interest in peace. Instead, it intensified its efforts of building
more settlements for these immigrants in the Palestinian occupied
territories. At the same time, millions of Palestinians were (and are
still) denied the right to return to their homeland.
Third, the Iraqi President’s April 2 threat to burn half of
Israel was qualified by the stipulation that this would occur only
should Iraq first be attacked by nuclear weapons.
He wanted to warn the Israeli leaders not to launch another unprovoked
attack on Iraq. The execution of the British spy and the missile
launchers reflected an Iraqi anxiety and concern that Israel and the
West were plotting something against Iraq. But the threat, in
particular, was used as a pretext by the administration’s
“specialists” to change the U.S. policy towards Iraq.
Secretary of State, James Baker, related how two of these
specialists considered that statement a milestone after which the
policy towards Iraq had to change to an adversarial one. He said that
the day after the speech, Bob Kimmit and Dennis Ross remained after a
morning staff meeting to discuss this new development with him. They
told him that the “Burn Israel” speech could not be treated as an
isolated outburst. “Our policy is based on an illusion that we can
moderate this guy,” Ross said. “We can’t,” Kimmit echoed,
adding. “I’m not comfortable with the policy anymore. These are
tough guys. We have to deal with them toughly. Incentives haven’t
worked; it’s time to go to disincentives.” Secretary Baker agreed
with them that the policy should change, and approved kimmit’s
recommendation that the State Department request a meeting of the
Deputies’ Committee to consider “ratcheting” the policy up to
one of containment. He also decided that a demarche should be
delivered to the Iraqi Foreign Ministry. On April 11, Kimmitt cabled
this guidance to the American ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, to
pass on to the Iraqi officials. It read: “Iraq will be on a
collision course with the U.S. if it continues to engage in actions
that threaten the stability of the region, undermine global arms
efforts, and flout U.S. laws.”
The change in policy was, actually, a culmination of several
anti-Iraqi measures that started in early 1990. First the U.S.
government dropped the plan to extend insurance guarantees that aimed
at encouraging American grain sales to Iraq. Second, in March, the
administration blocked an Iraqi attempt to procure triggering devices
and furnaces, which could be used for nuclear weapons. Third, other
Iraqi efforts to procure parts for the Babylon super gun were also
blocked in the United States, Britain, and other European countries.
Moreover, several measures were taken to escalate
tensions with Iraq. First, on February 27, 1990, the President’s
National Security Advisor, General Brent Scowcroft, expressed the
President’s unhappiness with the Iraqi President’s criticism of
the United States. Second, American ambassadors in the Arab capitals
were instructed to highlight the differences with Iraq. Third, on
March 3, the State Department official, Skep Ghnehm, told the Iraqi
ambassador in Washington that Saddam’s statements were
“atrocious.” Fourth, the Deputies’ Committee decided to suspend
the second tranche of agricultural credit to Iraq and to create an
interagency committee to combat Iraq’s nuclear proliferation
activities. Finally, on May 29, the Deputies’ Committee decided to
suspend all economic credit programs for Iraq.
These measures corresponded with the escalation of the crisis.
On May 30, the Iraqi President denounced Kuwait for engaging in
economic warfare against his country. On July 25, he summoned
Ambassador April Glaspie to complain about the Joint American-U.A.E.
military maneuvers. He pointed that these maneuvers would encourage
Kuwait and the U.A.E. to ignore conventional diplomacy. At the end of
the meeting, he promised her not to do anything before the Jeddah
meeting and after that if Kuwaitis would give him some hope. When he
asked Ambassador Glaspie about the U.S. position towards the
Iraqi-Kuwaiti disputes, she told him: “as you know, we don’t take
a stand on territorial disputes.” 
She also told him:“we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab
conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait.” Then,
Ambassador Glaspie briefed the President about the meeting. In
response, he told her that his administration “continues to desire
better relations with Iraq,” which she conveyed to the Iraqi
The Iraqi President understood all this as an American green
light for an Iraqi action. The opportunity came when the Jeddah talks
collapsed as a result of Kuwait’s refusal to write off the Iraqi war
debts and to relinquish some border territory.
The meeting lasted only 105 minutes and ended with a Kuwaiti challenge
for Iraq to “ride its highest horses.” This is an Arab saying that
means: “do whatever you can do, I am not afraid.”
As the Jeddah talks collapsed, Saddam moved his troops to the
border. He thought that he had the green light from Ambassador Glaspie
and President Bush. However, the President changed his mind quickly
after the invasion. He could not take the heat from the anti-Iraq
“specialists” in the administration. Moreover, there were no
“Arabists” to counterbalance the overwhelming influence of these
President knew about the invasion at about 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday,
August 1 (August 2 in the Middle East), 1990. He was told about it by
his National Security Advisor, Brent Scowcroft, who had been briefed
about it earlier by Richard Haass, the NSC’s Middle East expert. Bob
Kimmit, also, called Scrowcroft during the meeting to report from the
State Department about shooting in downtown Kuwait City. Subsequently,
Scowcroft convened an interagency conference that agreed to recommend
taking several quick measures in response. These included moving
forces to the region, sending a squadron of F-15s to Saudi Arabia
after Saudi approval, and freezing Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets in the
United States. The President signed an Executive Order for that effect
at 4:30 a.m.
During that conference, Richard Haass suggested that the
administration adopt a two-track strategy: giving Iraq an ultimatum to
withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally and accelerating the American
military preparations. Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, expressed
his belief that sanctions would not work in the time frame that he
decided to accept, February to March. General Colin Powell echoed
saying that the “forces won’t be in place before 15 January,”
Thus, the goal was the use of force, not the Iraqi withdrawal
from Kuwait. Therefore, President Bush did not hide his fear that if
Iraqi troops withdrew partially, their withdrawal would deprive him
the excuse to use force. He wrote: “Saddam might simply pull back
partially and try to manipulate world opinion to make sure we
couldn’t get a second resolution - or might believe that he could
draw out the process long enough to break the coalition.” 
On November 19, President Bush told Gorbachev that he needed a
U.N. resolution that would combine two ideas. The first part would
contain a deadline for an ultimatum. The second part would say “all
necessary measures” can be used. Gorbachev, of course, agreed to the
adoption of such resolution and to the mid-January date for the start
of the war.
On November 29, the U.S. Secretary of State, James Baker,
chaired the U.N. Security Council vote on Resolution 678. Twelve
members voted in favor, Cuba and Yemen voted against, and China
abstained. “The resolution authorized all member states cooperating
with the government of Kuwait, unless Iraq on or before January 15,
1991 fully implements [the resolutions], to use all necessary means to
uphold and implement [all those resolutions] and restore international
peace and security to the area.” Thus, the Security Council had
voted to authorize the U.S.-led coalition to go to war against Iraq.
However, the vote did not represent the free will of member states.
Rather, it was a demonstration of how the Bakerian politics of
diplomacy worked. In order for the Bush administration to secure
approval of the majority in the Security Council, member states were
manipulated, bribed, harassed, or threatened. The other similar U.N.
vote in memory was also secured by the same methods on November 29,
1947, which created Israel.
The Senate Republican leadership wanted to go ahead and draft a
resolution that would support the use of force. However, they were
worried that Republicans were being branded as the ”war party.” As
a way out, they hoped to push Democrats to take the same position.
Republicans succeeded in their effort and Congress supported
the use of force. On January 13, top defense and national security
officials met in the White House. They decided that the time of attack
would be 3:00 a.m. on January 17 Gulf time, 7:00 p.m. January 16 in
Washington. They also finalized the selection of major Iraqi strategic
targets that would be destroyed in the air campaign, such as
electricity, bridges, and refineries.
a further attempt to justify opting for war, President Bush started to
link the Iraqi president with Hitler, as early as August 8, 1990. The
similarity was that Hitler simply defied the Treaty of Versailles and
marched into neighboring countries.
However, Saddam defied no treaty by marching into Kuwait. It was,
actually, his threat to Israel that was intended from the analogy.
President Bush was not the first to use the Hitler-Saddam
analogy. In fact, followed the lead of some Israelists. One of those
was Barry Rubin who wrote, just before the invasion, with reference to
the Iraqi President that "Aggressors thrive on appeasement. The
world learned that at tremendous cost from Munich agreement of 1938.
How could the German generals oppose Hitler once he had proven himself
successful?" Then, Rubin argued that the U.S. policy towards
Iraq's ambitions should be decisive in order to discourage its
aggressiveness against U.S. allies.
Again, during the September 9, 1990 meeting, between Bush and
Gorbachev, the Soviet President suggested to give Saddam some hope by
giving the impression that he was not on his knees. President Bush
quickly rejected that suggestion using the Hitler analogy despite
The comparison between Saddam and Hitler was not only
inaccurate but it also personalized the crisis. This made it easier
for President Bush to announce several times that the United States
had no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Rather, the quarrel was with the
This was simply not true. It was the Iraqi people who suffered deaths,
injuries, destruction, and deprivation not only during the war but
also for the following decade.
Starting from October 28, President Bush went around the
country in support for Republican candidates. In his speeches, then,
he kept mentioning the Saddam-Hitler analogy.
On December 24, President Bush wrote in his diary that he was thinking
“of the Iraqi babies, and yet, ... of this man. He has to not only
be checked, but punished, and then we worry about how we handle our
relations with the Arab countries.”
It is beyond comprehension to understand how can one person be
punished by killing hundreds of thousands of people and by causing the
death of hundreds of thousands of children after the war?
War Hawks in the NSC and Congress
President Bush was surrounded by a group of war hawks, who
did not contemplate any peaceful solutions for the crisis. To the
contrary, they kept pushing him towards the war option from the
beginning to the end.
During the August 2 meeting of the NSC, Secretary of Defense,
Dick Cheney, pointed that sooner or later it would come to force.
General Colin Powell wanted to be sure that there were sufficient
troops on the ground and then the freedom of action to do the job
once the political decision had been made. Powell also mentioned
that the Joint-Chiefs-of-Staff and Central Command were preparing
military options for weeks. General Schwarzkopf added that there was
a rehearsed plan for defending the Saudi Oil region, using forces in
When Powell wondered, during that meeting: “if it was worth
going to war to liberate Kuwait.” Larry Eagleburger, who attended
the meeting as the Deputy Secretary of State, responded firmly with
a yes. He urged that the U.S. “ought to go for Chapter 7 from the
UN (Charter), which would authorize military force and economic
The President’s national security advisor, General Brent
Scowcroft, opted for confrontation from the beginning of the crisis.
He suggested an embargo of Kuwaiti and Iraqi oil purchases.
President Bush agreed saying that “we should press to put the heat
on Saudi Arabia and the others ... Let’s get the U.S. (unilateral)
sanctions in place before noon.”
In spite of these tough reactions, Scowcroft did not like the
tone in that meeting. It was not hawkish enough for him. He spoke to
the President of his concerns and asked him that he speak first
during the following Council meeting “outlining the absolute
intolerability of this invasion to US interests.” The President
It was Scowcroft, also, who first suggested the plan of the
ground war. He was unhappy with the military briefing of October 11,
which concentrated on an attack straight up through the center of
the Iraqi army. He suggested instead an envelopment to the west and
north around and behind the Iraqi forces in Kuwait to “cut them
Moreover, Scowcroft was not enthusiastic about the idea that
James Baker would go to Baghdad and Tariq Aziz would come to
Finally, he was wary of an Arab solution, fearing that it might end
up in a compromise with Saddam.
The position of the Secretary of State, James Baker, was a
little bit different. He was reluctant to contemplate the use of
force at the beginning. He believed that diplomacy and sanctions
should be given a chance to get the job done and that force had to
be the last resort. However, he joined the hawks later by making
diplomacy in service of war. He mentioned that the change in his
role started on November 29 as a result of the U.N. vote. His role
“as a diplomat would no longer be to try and achieve a political
solution and thereby prevent war, but to help wage war and win
This was an admission from Secretary Baker that his task in the
Geneva meeting with Aziz was anything but preventing war. Actually,
he never tried to achieve a political solution before that date. The
evidence was the continuous rejection of peace initiatives, as
demonstrated in Chapter VII.
New World Order
In another attempt to justify the war, President Bush tried
to emphasize the global impact of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In a
speech that he gave in mid-August 1990, he argued that the invasion
threatened economies of the industrial societies through the Iraqi
control over much of their oil supplies. As a result, the U.S. could
not afford allowing Iraq to maintain its control over these
On November 13, Secretary of State, James Baker, attempted to
explain the U.S. involvement by further elaboration on the same idea
saying that the issue was “jobs, jobs, jobs.” He expected oil
prices to become higher which would create global economic downturn
and a recession in the U.S. Thus, it would mean the loss of tens of
thousands of American jobs.
Apparently, the President and his Secretary of State believed
the instigative reports of the “experts” inside and outside the
administration. Some of these warned that oil prices would soar to
more than $100 per barrel. The World Bank expected a price of $65
per barrel and the New York Times warned that the high costs of the
“oil shock” would deepen the American recession and speed its
In spite of these attempts, the Bush-Baker explanation was
still insufficient to warrant a war. At best, it was a hypothetical
and a very simplistic viewpoint. Iraq would ultimately sell oil in
big quantities in order to use the revenues for reconstruction. The
laws of supply and demand, not political will, would decide oil
prices at the end of the day. After all, Iraq would have controlled
20 percent of the world oil reserves, an equivalent of what Saudi
Arabia controls. Finally, there are still many other oil producers
who would sell their oil, too.
Then President Bush landed on a new theme that helped him
explain the global impacts of the invasion better than the
“control over much oil” argument. It was his vision of a New
World Order that would emerge from the end of the Cold War. He
thought that regional conflicts could be better managed as a result
of stopping Soviet support to Third World countries.
During their meeting of September 9, 1990, in Finland,
President Bush told the Soviet President Gorbachev that there was a
New World Order emerging as a result of ending the Cold War. He
added that this would lead to cooperation between the U.S. and the
Soviet Union to solve problems of the Middle East.
In his September 11, 1990 speech before the Congress, President Bush
displayed a romantic view of his new world order. He described it as
"a new era -- free from the threat of terror, stronger in the
pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace. An era
in which the nations of the world, East and West, North and South,
can prosper and live in harmony... A world where the rule of law
supplants the rule of the jungle. A world in which nations recognize
the shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the
strong respect the rights of the weak."
A decade later, the just peace has not reached the Middle
East. Israel was still occupying the Arab territories that it
occupied by force in 1967. In retrospect, the Soviet cooperation
with the U.S. was called for only to end the Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait. Once this goal was achieved, the U.S. returned to its
traditional role in the Middle East, which is represented by
following the Israeli policy. The U.S. did nothing after the war to
pressure the Israeli government even to observe its own agreements
with the Palestinian authority. During its entire stay in power
between June 1996 and May 1999, the Netanyahu government kept
delaying withdrawal from the Palestinian territories and suspended
talks with Syria and Lebanon. The U.S. administration exerted
absolutely no pressure on Israel even to observe its own Wye River
agreement with the Palestinian Authority. The whole world had to
wait until the Israelis themselves changed their government in May
1999 when they elected the Labor Party candidate as a Prime
Thus, ending the Cold War has not produced a New World Order,
as President Bush argued. In fact, the 1991 Gulf War demonstrated
the continuation of the Old World Order that started at the end of
World War I. The victorious allied powers of that war, the U.S.,
Britain, and France, have been in control of the world system ever
since. The German, Soviet, and Iraqi attempts to challenge this
Western alliance have failed.
By turning to the use of force, instead of sanctions, the
Bush administration failed to grasp the golden opportunity to start
a new peaceful world order. As Senator Bob Kerry of Nebraska put it:
It “is a mistake because it forsakes the potential for a new world
order in favor of the tactics of the old order. Rather than relying
on diplomacy, cooperation, and multilateral regulation of arms
flows, (the U.S.) will revert primarily to reliance on U.S. troops
and U.S. arms sales.”
President Bush’s quick decision to go to war against Iraq
was facilitated by recommendations from pro-Israel experts in the
administration. These experts succeeded in changing the American
policy towards Iraq into adversarial one well before the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait. These experts occupy the most prominent
positions in various government agencies and private institutions.
Their view of the world is explained by the realpolitik theory that
places great emphasis on winning wars, irrelevant of whether wars
are necessary or not. Thus, going to war against Iraq was the main
objective, not ejecting Iraq from Kuwait as the administration
claimed throughout the crisis.
Economic sanctions were not given any chance to work. In
handling the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, representatives of the power
elite opted for the use of force, rather than sanctions, for several
reasons. First, the destruction of Iraq would remove the second
major Arab power from the confrontation with Israel, after the
removal of Egypt through the Camp David Accords. This would leave
the Palestinian people in a weaker position during negotiations for
the final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover,
it would leave Israel with a hegemonic status as the only nuclear
power in the region. Second, the war would benefit the American
military industry by demonstrating the need for continuous military
spending in the post-Cold War era (Chapter V). Third, the
destruction of Iraq would weaken, if not end, the influence of Arab
nationalists and strengthen the position of the ruling elite within
sovereign states. Thus, Arabs would continue as disunited and weak
in dealing with Western powers that exploit them (Chapter IV).
For these reasons, Iraq was denied any opportunity to withdraw from Kuwait without war. This explains why all peaceful initiatives to end the crisis were rejected by the administration, as will be demonstrated in the following chapter (VIII).
Security Council Resolutions
On August 2, 1990, Resolution 660 was passed condemning the Iraqi invasion and demanding unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 7, Resolution 661 was passed imposing economic sanctions and ordering a total embargo against Iraq and Kuwait. Resolution 662 was passed on August 9. It declared Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait null and void. Resolution 664 was passed on August 18 demanding the immediate departure from Kuwait and Iraq of all foreign nationals. Resolution 665 was passed on August 25. It outlawed all trade with Iraq by any means and authorized the military enforcement of the trade embargo and economic sanctions. On September 16, Resolution 667 was passed condemning Iraqi acts of violence against diplomatic missions in Kuwait. On September 19, Resolution 669 established a sanctions committee. On September 25, Resolution 670 was passed extending sanctions against Iraq to cover all means of transport, including aircraft. On October 25, Resolution 674 asked states to document financial losses and human right violations resulting from the invasion. On November 28, Resolution 677 asked the U.N. Secretary-General to safeguard a smuggled copy of Kuwait’s pre-invasion population register. On November 29, Resolution 678 was passed authorizing all necessary means (force) to ensure that Iraq withdraws from Kuwait.
 Baker (1995: 274).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 306); Baker, 1995: 263); Timmerman(1991:
 Baker (1995: 265-66).
I am coining the term "Israelists" to refer to
the individuals who occupy prominent positions in various
government agencies and private institutions, who adopt viewpoints
of the Israeli government, and who think of American and Israeli
national interests as one and the same. The need for such a term
is necessary to counterbalance the use of the term "Arabists."
 Mills (1956); Domhoff (1990; 1998).
 McCormick (1995: 13-15).
 Tucker and Hendrickson (1990: 137).
 Baker (1995: 276).
 Brzezinski (1988: 681).
 Marullo (1993: 78).
 Morgenthau (1985).
 Silverstein and Holt (1989); Marullo (1993: 108).
 Silverstein and Holt (1989).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 427).
 Powell (1995: 495).
 Lubbadah (1991: 44-45).
 The Guardian (April 19, 1991).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 427).
 Bin Sultan (1995: 316).
 Powell (1995: 459).
 Thomas Dine, Chairman of the American-Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), the most influential pro-Israel lobbying organization, hired Martin Indyk to work with him, during the first Reagan administration. Indyk was still an Australian citizen. Most of what he did was publishing policy papers focusing on Israel’s strategic value to the United States. Then, he cofounded WINEP together with Dennis Ross, in 1985. The two of them share the same mindset concerning various Middle Eastern issues with Richard Haass, who became the Middle East expert in the National Security Council, during the Bush administration. The three of them were and still are among the most influential people in Washington. They drafted several pro-Israel policy papers together, as early as 1981, focused on the need for a strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. (Christison, 1999: 219-220, 247-253).
 The Institute’s “Study Group,” which produced the WINEP (1988) report, was chaired by Walter Mondale and Lawrence Eagleburger. The Group’s final report, “Building for Peace,” was a key planning document for the Bush administration and six Study Group members went on to senior government positions (WINEP, 2000). Lawrence Eagleburger became Deputy Secretary of State. Dennis Ross was the principal drafter of the report. He had been Bush’s foreign-policy adviser during the election campaign. He was appointed Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, thus becoming Baker’s principal policy adviser. Richard Haass, another principal drafter of the report, was Robert Dole’s campaign adviser and was named Director of Middle East affairs on the National Security Council Staff (Christison, 1999: 247-248).
In 1992, the Institute hosted a commission on U.S.-Israeli relations. Eleven signatories to the group’s final report, “Enduring Partnership,” were named to senior positions in the Clinton Administration. This included the appointment of Anthony Lake as Clinton’s National Security Adviser, Madelein Albright as a UN Ambassador then a Secretary of State, Stuart Eizenstat as Undersecretary of Commerce, and Les Aspin as a Secretary of Defense (WINEP, 2000). More important was that Dennis Ross was elevated to the U.S. Envoy to the Middle East, in a rare arrangement that allowed a senior policy maker in a Republican administration to continue in his job in the successive Democratic (Clinton’s) administration. Martin Indyk and Aaron David Miller also stayed in the Satate Department and Daniel Kurtzer became ambassador to Egypt, in 1997. Of the group, only Richard Haass left the government after the Bush defeat. He became actively involved in the Brookings Institution (Christison, 1999: 336).
 Domhoff (1990: 114).
 Domhoff (1990: 107-153).
 Domhoff (1990: 115).
 Domhoff (1990: 114-115).
 Marullo (1993: 45).
 Ajami (1989).
 Hunter (1989: 149).
 Nye (1989: 58).
 Sorensen (1990: 17).
 Rubin (1990: 142).
 The survival of the U.S. as a free and independent nation, with its fundamental values intact and its institutions and people secure; a healthy and growing U.S. economy to ensure opportunity for individual prosperity and a resource base for national endeavors at home and abroad; a stable and secure world, fostering political freedom, human rights, and democratic institutions; and healthy, cooperative, and politically vigorous relations with allies and friendly nations (Nunn, 1990: 42).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 256).
 Clarke (1992: 95).
 McCormick (1995: 8).
 Bin Sultan (1995: 312).
 Powell (1995: 460).
 McCormick (1995: 247).
 Schwarzkopf (1995: 435).
 Baker (1995: 6, 10).
 Clarke (1992: 88).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 315).
 Bin Sultan (1995: 261).
 Baker (1995: 2).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 319-320).
 Baker (1995: 278).
 Powell (1995: 467); Baker (1995: 279).
 Baker (1995: 279).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 382-384).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 385).
 The exception was when the pro-Israel lobby succeeded in selling American weapons to Iran in the mid 1980s, in an attempt to prolong the war, or at least to defeat Iraq. This became known as the Iran-Contra affair (Chapter V).
 Baker (1995: 262).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 305).
 Levrani (1997: 164).
 Smith (1989).
 Reich (1990).
 Washington Institute for Near East Policy (1988); Christison (1988).
 Dennis Ross became Secretary Baker’s director of policy planning, Paul Wolfowitz became Undersecretary of Defense for policy planning, and Geoffrey Kemp became a Middle East analyst in the Reagan’s National Security Council (Gordon and Tailor, 1995: 6).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 307).
 Baker (1995: 267).
 Levrani, (1997: 67).
 Baker (1995: 268-69).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 307).
 Baker (1995: 268-271).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 310-311).
 Powell (1995: 462).
 (Bush and Scowcroft, 1998: 313).
 Hilal (1991: 79).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 303-304).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 393-395).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 404).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 408-409).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 414-415).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 422).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 446-447).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 340).
 Rubin (1990: 144-145).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 467).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 371).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 388).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 434).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 316, 354).
 Powell (1995: 464).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 317).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 318).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 381).
 (Bush and Scowcroft, 1998: 381)
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 319).
 Baker (1995: 346).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 399).
 Baker (1995: 336).
 McCormick (1995: 248).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 355).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 363-364).
 Bush and Scowcroft (1998: 370).
 Baker (1995: 349).
 Pimlott and Badsy (1992: 275); Allen, Berry, and Polmer, (1991: 70).
Table of Contents, Gulf War: Overreaction & Excessiveness, By Hassan A El-Najjar