American Funding & Pakistan’s Double Cross on Global Islamic Jihad

Image source: theday.co.uk
It’s the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America’s enemies.

The country not chosen was India, which “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pakistan became America’s protégé, firmly supporting its fight to contain Communism. The benefits that Pakistan accrued from this relationship were quickly apparent: in the nineteen-sixties, its economy was an exemplar. India, by contrast, was a byword for basket case. Fifty years then went by. What was the result of this social experiment?

American money began flowing into Pakistan in 1954, when a mutual defense agreement was signed. During the next decade, nearly two and a half billion dollars in economic assistance, and seven hundred million in military aid, went to Pakistan. After the 1965 Pakistan-India war began, the U.S. essentially withdrew aid to both countries. Gradually, U.S. economic aid was restored, but the Pakistani military was kept on probation.

When, in 1979, U.S. intelligence discovered that Pakistan was secretly building a uranium-enrichment facility in response to India’s nuclear-weapons program. That April, the military dictator of Pakistan, General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, hanged the civilian President he had expelled from office, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; he then cancelled elections. U.S. aid came to a halt. At the same time, Zia began giving support to an Islamist organization, Jamaat-e-Islami, the forerunner of many more radical groups to come. In November, a mob of Jamaat followers, inflamed by a rumor that the U.S. and Israel were behind an attack on the Grand Mosque, in Mecca, burned the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad to the ground, killing two Americans and two Pakistani employees. The American romance with Pakistan was over, but the marriage was just about to begin.

The very next month, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. President Jimmy Carter, in a panic, offered Zia four hundred million dollars in economic and military aid. Zia rejected the offer, calling it “peanuts”-the term often arises in Pakistani critiques of American aid, but it must have rankled the peanut farmer in the White House. Zia was smart to hold out. Under Carter’s successor, Ronald Reagan, U.S. aid nearly quintupled: about three billion dollars in economic assistance and two billion in military aid. The Reagan Administration also provided three billion dollars to Afghan jihadis. These funds went through the sticky hands of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the spy branch of the Pakistani Army. Starting in 1987, the I.S.I. was headed by General Hamid Gul, a cunning and bitterly anti-American figure. The I.S.I. became so glutted with power and money that it formed a “state within a state,” in the words of Benazir Bhutto, who became Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 1988. She eventually fired Gul, fearing that he was engineering a coup.

Milton Bearden, a former C.I.A. station chief in Pakistan, once described Gul to me as having a “rococo” personality. In 2004, I visited Gul - a short man with a rigid, military posture and raptor-like features - at his villa in Rawalpindi. He proudly asked his servant to bring me an orange from his private grove. I asked Gul why, during the Afghan jihad, he had favored Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, one of the seven warlords who had been designated to receive American assistance in the fight against the Soviets. Hekmatyar was the most brutal member of the group, but, crucially, he was a Pashtun, like Gul. As I ate the orange, Gul offered a more principled rationale for his choice: “I went to each of the seven, you see, and I asked them, ‘I know you are the strongest, but who is No. 2?’ ” He formed a tight, smug smile. “They all said Hekmatyar.”

Later, Gul helped oversee the creation of the Taliban, reportedly using mainly Saudi money. The I.S.I. openly supported the Taliban until September 11, 2001. Since then, the Pakistani government has disavowed the group, but it is widely believed that it still provides Taliban leaders with safe harbor in Quetta, where they stage jihad against Western forces in Afghanistan.

In 1990, President George H. W. Bush cut off military aid to Pakistan. Ostensibly, this was in response to Pakistan’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, but it’s also true that, after the Soviets were pushed out of Afghanistan, in the late eighties, the U.S. lost interest in Pakistan. U.S. assistance, directed almost entirely toward food and counter-narcotics efforts, fell to forty-five million dollars a year, and declined further after 1998, when Pakistan began testing nuclear weapons.

After the September 11th attacks, Pakistan abruptly became America’s key ally in the “war on terror.” Under President George W. Bush, the U.S. gave billions of dollars to Pakistan, most of it in unrestricted funds, to combat terrorism. Pervez Musharraf, who served as President between 1999 and 2008, now admits that during his tenure he diverted many of those billions to arm Pakistan against its hobgoblin enemy, India. “Whoever wishes to be angry, let them be angry, why should we bother?” Musharraf said in an interview on the Pakistani television channel Express News. “We have to maintain our security.” Since Musharraf left office, there has been little indication that U.S. aid $4.5 billion in 2010, one of the largest amounts ever given to a foreign country is being more properly spent.

The main beneficiary of U.S. money, the Pakistani military, has never won a war, but, according to “Military Inc.,” by Ayesha Siddiqa, it has done very well in its investments: hotels, real estate, shopping malls. Such entrepreneurship, however corrupt, fills a gap, as Pakistan’s economy is now almost entirely dependent on American taxpayers. In a country of a hundred and eighty million people, fewer than two million citizens pay taxes, and Pakistan’s leaders are doing little to change the situation. In Karachi, the financial capital, the government recently inaugurated a program to appoint eunuchs as tax collectors. Eunuchs are considered relentless scolds in South Asia, and the threat of being hounded by one is somehow supposed to take the place of audits.

In 2008, Pakistan’s government made the dramatic announcement that it was placing the I.S.I. under the control of its Interior Ministry a restructuring that was revoked within hours by inflamed military leaders, who effectively vetoed the government. That November, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist organization that has reportedly received backing from the I.S.I. to wage jihad in Kashmir, carried out attacks on tourists in Mumbai. According to American indictments, an I.S.I. officer directed the surveillance of suitable targets. Those sites included the Taj and Oberoi hotels, the train station, the Leopold Café, and the Chabad House, a Lubavitch outpost run by an American rabbi and his pregnant wife. According to Sebastian Rotella, who has written extensively for ProPublica about the attack, “They were going out of their way to kill Americans.” At the hotels, the attackers sorted through passports, looking for American and British citizens. In the end, a hundred and sixty-six people were killed, but only six were Americans. The Pakistani government denied any involvement, although it eventually conceded that the attacks had been planned in Pakistan.

Ali Soufan, a former F.B.I. special agent who interrogated many of the Al Qaeda members captured in Pakistan, told me that “the majority of them said that Lashkar-e-Taiba had given them shelter.” After the battle of Tora Bora, he added, the Al Qaeda members who fled to Pakistan including top leaders were greeted by Lashkar operatives and taken to safe houses. Some Pakistanis worry that Lashkar may become the new Al-Qaeda.

A number of investigative reports have suggested that the I.S.I. diverted American money designated for fighting terrorism to the Taliban. According to a 2007 document released by WikiLeaks, U.S. military interrogators at Guantánamo implicitly acknowledged this problem when they placed the I.S.I. on an internal list of “terrorist and terrorist-support entities.”

As much as half of the money the U.S. gave to the I.S.I. to fight the Soviets was diverted to build nuclear weapons. The father of Pakistan’s bomb, A. Q. Khan, later sold plans and nuclear equipment to Libya, North Korea, and Iran. A month before 9/11, Pakistani nuclear scientists even opened a secret dialogue with Al Qaeda. The government of Pakistan has denied knowledge of what Khan and his associates were doing.

In February, 2009, the Pakistani government announced that it had “dismantled the nuclear black market network.” There is no way of knowing if this is true. Neither the U.S. nor the International Atomic Energy Agency has been allowed to interview Khan. According to a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, the “current status of Pakistan’s nuclear export network is unclear.” Meanwhile, American policymakers have been paralyzed by Pakistan’s nuclear capability. They have repeatedly expressed the worry that, if Pakistan is alienated, its nuclear secrets and materials might get into the wrong hands. But that has already happened.

Not only has American military aid been wasted, misused, and turned against us; it may well have undermined the Pakistani military, which has feasted on huge donations but is far weaker than its nemesis, the Indian military. If the measure of our aid is the gratitude of the Pakistani people and the loyalty of their government, then it has clearly been a failure. Last year, a Pew Research Center survey found that half of Pakistanis believe that the U.S. gives little or no assistance at all. Even the Finance Minister, Hafiz Shaikh, said last month that it was “largely a myth” that the U.S. had given tens of billions of dollars to Pakistan. And if the measure of our aid is Pakistan’s internal security, the program has fallen short in that respect as well. Pakistan is endangered not by India, as the government believes, but by the very radical movements that the military helped create to act as terrorist proxies.

Within the I.S.I., there is a secret organization known as the S Wing, which is largely composed of supposedly retired military and I.S.I. officers. “It doesn’t exist on paper,” a source close to the I.S.I. told. The S Wing handles relations with radical elements. “If something happens, then they have deniability,” the source explained. If any group within the Pakistani military helped hide bin Laden, it was likely S Wing

The American Funding & Covert support for Afghan Jihad training Mujahideen by importing Saudi Brand of Wahabi Islam created the monster called Al-Qaida as we know today, Bin Laden & the Mujahideen were then hailed as liberators against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Post 9/11 Al Qaida has not been banished as was proclaimed in ‘War On Terror’ launched by America post 9/11; rather it has mutated in various forms like a Hydra across continents from Af-Pak to Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria-Iraq, Nigeria, Mali etc. Groups like ISIS, Ansar Al Shariya, Jabhat Ul Nusra, Boko Haram, Taliban, AQ are all manifestation of the same radical Ideology of Islam. Irony is that those who created these monsters & used them as a tool to strategic policy are themselves preaching human rights while claiming to fight these very groups.

War on Terror as launched by USA is an endless war where there is a start like 9/11 but there is no end. Groups after Groups spring up across Middle east to North Africa; enemies are created, nurtured before they are used to justify the means to a war. The Equation is simple - Create a Problem, Generate a Reaction from Public using Servile Media & offer the solution which you wanted to impose any way. The use of Media to Justify War on Terror, the Drone Campaign & Private Mercenary armies are the means to an end in this never ending war on terror.

Global Islamic Jihad - The Afghan Encounter







































While Iraq-Iran war was going on, it was the events in Afghanistan that would change the history of the world forever. The world would never be the same. The Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan was the moment that the western powers used to create the Frankenstrien Monster called Al-Qaida & Taliban; who were hailed as Freedom Fighters against the Soviets till these very Jihadis turned upon the west in the Late 1990s culminating into 9/11. It is imperative to know that what Global Jihad in form of Radical Islam as we see today first originated in the Modern Era in Afghanistan in 1980s. 

Waging Jihad to Counter the Soviet Union

In his fine book Ghost Wars, Steve Coll, a former Washington Post journalist and the current dean of Colombia University's School of Journalism, describes in great detail the close relationships between the CIA, the Saudi royal family, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and the Afghan Mujahedin. Coll states that they were "blood brothers" from November 1979, when U.S. intervention in Afghanistan entered its practical stage, leading to the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union, to February 1989, when the Soviets left that country.

The initial efforts of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan were devoted to provoking the Soviet Union, which had a close relationship with the Afghan government. In his book Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope, Chalmers Johnson (1931-2010), a professor emeritus at the University of California in San Diego, a veteran of the Korean War, and a consultant to the CIA, wrote:

It should by now be generally accepted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by the United States. In his memoir published in 1996, the former CIA director [and Defense Secretary in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations] Robert Gates made it clear that the American intelligence services began to aid the mujahidin guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it. In an interview [in 1998] with Le Nouvel Observateur, President Carter's national security adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, proudly confirmed Gates's assertion. "According to the official version of history," Brzezinski said, CIA aid to the mujahidin began during 1980, that's to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan. But the reality, kept secret until now, is completely different: on 3 July 1979 President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And on the same day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained that in my opinion this aid would lead to a Soviet military intervention.

Asked whether he in any way regretted these actions, Brzezinski replied: "Regret what? The secret operation was an excellent idea. It drew the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? On the day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, saying, in essence: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.'"

The Nouvel Observateur's reporter then asked Brzezinski, "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?"

Brzezinski responded, "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

Johnson continues:

Even though the demise of the Soviet Union owes more to Mikhail Gorbachev than to Afghanistan's partisans, Brzezinski certainly helped produce "agitated Muslims," and the consequences have been obvious. Carter, Brzezinski and their successors in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, including Gates, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Armitage and Powell, all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees and 10 million unexploded land-mines that followed from their decisions.

To President Carter and Brzezinski, the end justified the means. The end goal was the collapse of the Soviet Union, and to achieve it, Islamist fundamentalists had to be used. Osama bin Laden and people like him were dispatched to Afghanistan to fight the "godless" communists. It was during this time that the Quran's surah on jihad attracted attention. It was then that Brzezinski went to Pakistan and told the jihadist forces:
We know of [your] deep belief in God, and we are confident that [your] struggle will succeed. That land over there [Afghanistan] is yours. You will go back to it one day, because your fight will prevail and you'll have your homes and your mosques back again, because your cause is right and God is on your side.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told Congress that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are the results of the seeds that the United States sowed in the past and is now harvesting. She said:

“We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan. I mean, let's remember here: The people we are fighting today we funded 20 years ago. And we did it because we were locked in this struggle with the Soviet Union. They invaded Afghanistan, and we did not want to see them control central Asia, and we went to work, and it was President Reagan, in partnership with the Congress, led by Democrats, who said, "You know what? Sounds like a pretty good idea! Let's deal with the ISI and the Pakistani military, and let's go recruit these Mujahedin! That's great! Let's get some to come from Saudi Arabia and other places, importing their Wahhabi brand of Islam, so that we can go beat the Soviet Union!" And guess what? They retreated, they lost billions of dollars, and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. So there's a very strong argument, which is: It wasn't a bad investment to end the Soviet Union, but let's be careful what we sow, because we will harvest. So we then left Pakistan. We said, "OK, fine. You deal with the Stingers that we've left all over your country. You deal with the mines that are along the border. And by the way, we don't want to have anything to do with you. In fact, we're sanctioning you." So we stopped dealing with the Pakistani military, and with ISI, and we now are making up for a lot of lost time.

At that time it was the United States that, together with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Pakistan, dispatched the jihadists to Afghanistan. Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia played a key role in those operations, with Saudi Arabia providing the key financial, military and human support for them. The kingdom encouraged its citizens to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet army. One such citizen was Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia agreed to match, dollar for dollar, any funds that the CIA could raise for the operations.
The U.S. provided Pakistan with $3.2 billion, and Saudi Arabia bought weapons from everywhere, including international black markets, and sent them to Afghanistan through Pakistan's ISI.

Osama Bin Laden was a close friend of Prince Turki al-Faisal, who was chief of Saudi Arabia's intelligence services from 1977 - 2001, and his chief of staff, Ahmed Badeeb. Years later Turki claimed bin Laden was not a professional Saudi intelligence operator, and that he met bin Laden several times in Saudi embassy in Pakistan, but that they were only passing encounters with no consequences. But Badeeb has described "an active, operational partnership between GID [the Saudi intelligence service] and bin Laden." He was not a paid agent, because he was wealthy man. In his book [p. 87] Coll quotes Badeeb saying, "I loved Osama and considered him a good citizen of Saudi Arabia."

When the war began in Afghanistan, the ISI asked Prince Turki to send a member of the Saudi royal family to Pakistan to head the secret war in Afghanistan. The funds for the religious schools in Pakistan - the madrasahs - were being provided by Saudi Arabia, and Wahhabism was being taught by them. Turki did not send a royal member, but dispatched instead bin Laden. He arrived there just when Brzezinski, turban on head, was there, greeting him and telling him, "Allah is on your side."

During this period bin Laden met regularly with senior Saudi officials, including Turki and Prince Naif, the Minister of Interior who "liked and appreciated him [bin Laden]," according to Baddeb. Bin Laden was shuttling back and forth between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, and "developed strong relations with the Saudi intelligence and with our [Saudi Arabia's] embassy in Pakistan," Coll reported Badeeb saying in his book (page 88). "We were happy with him (bin Laden). He was our man. He was doing all what we ask him," Badeeb has said.

But, most interestingly, the United States and the CIA did not really have an intricate plan for the war, other than wishing to kill as many Soviets as possible at all cost, without apparently thinking about the aftermath of the war. As Coll writes (page. 55), Howard Hart, the CIA's chief of station in Islamabad from 1981-1986, understood that his orders from CIA were, "You're a young man; here's your bag of money (to recruit spies and fighters), go raise hell. Don't fuck it up, just go out there and kill Soviets, and take care of the Pakistanis and make them do whatever you need to make them do." Coll also writes that (page 173) Milton Bearden, CIA's chief of station in Islamabad from 1986-1989, said years later, "Did we really give a shit about the long-term future of Nangarhar (a province in eastern Afghanistan)? May be not. As it turned out, guess what? We didn't." This lack of vision, other than killing, would of course come back to hurt the United States.

Up until 1989, when the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the CIA still had a positive view of bin Laden, viewing him as a wealthy Saudi Arabian who had fought with the Soviets in Afghanistan and had defeated them, and who must be greeted as a hero upon his return to Saudi Arabia. Sen. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee that made those decisions, was reported saying that he would make the same call again today, even knowing what bin Laden would do subsequently. "It was worth it," he said, adding, "Those were very important, pivotal matters that played an important role in the downfall of the Soviet Union."

Bin Laden was a civil engineer and a member of a wealthy Saudi family, which was not, however, a part of the Saudi royal family. He recruited 4000 Saudi citizens and took them to Afghanistan. Altogether, 100,000 fighters were recruited and taken to Afghanistan, who were funded, armed and trained by CIA and Saudi Arabia. The high level of civilian casualties that the war would certainly entail was considered by the Carter administration, but was set aside. One senior official of the Carter administration said, "The question here was whether it was morally acceptable that, in order to keep the Soviets off balance, which was the reason for the operation, it was permissible to use other lives for our geopolitical interests." Representative Charles Wilson, a Texas Democrat, said that Carter's CIA director  Stansfield Turner said, "I decided I could live with that [high civilian casualties]."

But, the United States did not stop there. Meeting in 1985 with the Mujahideen leaders at the White House, Ronald Reagan referred to them as the "moral equivalent of America's Founding Fathers." Think about it for a moment: Bin Laden and other hardline Muslim fundamentalists and leaders of the Mujahideen, such as GulbuddinHekmatyar and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, were moral equivalent of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other founding fathers. In the same meeting with the Jihadists, Reagan said, "We have here six Afghanistan freedom fighters. There is a man here whose wife was killed in front of his two children. Another one [is here] who lost his brother in a town, village, in which 105 people were massacred. One lost a brother who was the mayor of that village. They are here to tell the outside world, the free world, what is really going on in Afghanistan." Earlier in 1982, Reagan had dedicated the space shuttle Colombia to what he called freedom fighters in Afghanistan. "This is Colombia lifting, representing man's finest aspirations in the field of science and technology, so too the struggle of the Afghan people represents man's highest aspirations for freedom. I am dedicating on behalf of the American people the March 22 of Colombia to the people of Afghanistan," he said.

Reagan was one of the most popular American presidents. It was through the use of such popularity and the CIA-Saudi Arabia-Pakistan axis that Al-Qaeda and Taliban were born and grew. Many years later, in 1998, the same forces attacked the U.S.Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania, and the Clinton administration attacked their camps in Afghanistan and Sudan.

In his memoirs, My Life, Bill Clinton wrote (page 799) that he did want to tell Pakistan that the US was going to use its airspace to attack Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, but was concerned that the Pakistani government might think that the flying missiles were coming from India. So, he sent General Joseph Ralston, vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Pakistan to inform them just a few minutes before the attacks were to begin, so that there would not be any time for Pakistan's ISI to inform Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Then, we had the catastrophic attacks on the U.S. on 11 September 2001 that killed close to 3000 people. Of the 19 terrorists that took part in the attacks 15 were Saudi Arabian citizens, two from the UAE, and one each from Egypt and Lebanon, with the first three nations being staunch allies of the U.S. The U.S. occupation of Afghanistan in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks has not wiped out either Taliban or Al-Qaeda.

It was this Afghan Jihad against the soviets that started the never ending War on Terror; a demon was created which would decades down the lane put more countries into chaos. It is ironical that while afghan jihad began in 70-80s; simultaneously the same tactics were being used against India in Punjab & later Kashmir. It is imperative world realizes that there cant be good terrorist & bad terrorist; while the root of the problem resides in Pakistan where all this began in 79-80 as part of American-Pakistani & Saudi collaboration. 

The Genesis of Israel - Palestine Dispute

The Middle East was already on the Boil with the Sectarian Clashes between Assad Regime & the Sunni rebels in Syria, where as per latest UN Estimates over 1 lac people have died. After a lull of years after American Troops pull out in 2011 winter Iraq has once again gone in the crisis as the blowback of Syrian War engulfs the Iraq with Sunni Militant Group ISIS against the Shia Dominated Iraqi Govt lead by PM Maliki. While the heat was on in Syria-Iraq; the most old conflict in the region between Israel & Palestine once again erupted a few backs leading to Invasion of Gaza by Israel. The dominant narrative around the world is Israel is the culprit of illegal occupation & war crimes and that the Palestinians are the victims. This is one conflict, which has always divided the world sharply with opinions mostly loaded in favour of Palestine in Arab states & some parts of Asia as well. The imbalance of the narrative was visible even during UNHRC Resolution dt 23.07.2014 where 29 Countries voted against Israel, with US voting against it & most EU nations abstaining from the vote. But the overwhelming sense of the meeting was Israel must stop its aggression in Gaza and come to peaceful solution.

There are always two sides of a coin, every incident or dispute cannot be one sided but has to have other perspectives as well. The imbalance of narrative against Israel is what intrigued me to look into what’s the issue all about. Are the dominant views that we hear that Israel is the Occupier, the aggressor true ? Why is there so much anti semitism that is used as rallying point in many countries specially arab & Islamic states?. On being confounded with these questions, with full sympathy to the innocent Palestinians who are caught in the cross-fire; one must hear the objective view & time line of Jewish History and the Palestinian dispute.

History of Jews in Israel & Palestinian Dispute:

Israel has been holy land of Jews for over 3300 years beginning in 2nd Millennium BCE under Various Kingdoms & Kings beginning from the time of Abraham. The People of Israel trace back their origin to King 'Abraham' who established the belief that there is one god the creator of the universe (Torah). Abraham his son Yitashak (Issac), Grandson Jacob (Israel) are Patriarchs of people of Israel who lived in Land of Canaan or Israel as we know. Jewish people shared same language, culture shaped by Jewish Heritage & religion passed through Generations of Founding Father Abraham from 1800 BCE. The Descendants of Abraham Crystallised as a Nation in 1300 BC, after Exodus from Egypt under leadership of Moses (Moshe). After 40 years in Sinai Desert, Moses lead them to the Current State of Israel, that is Cited in Bible as land promised by God to its people.

The Rule of Israel starts with Conquest of Joshua in 1250 BC. Period between 1000 - 587 BC is known as "Period of the Kings"(i.e David, Solomon). King David (1010-970 BC) established Jerusalem as Capital of Israel & King Solomon (970-931 BC) built first temple as stated in Old Testament. In 587 BC, first time Jews were Driven out by Babylonian Army & the first temple was destroyed. This started period of Conquest on this area. Many armies invaded Jewish land from Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Hellenstine, Roman, Bazyentine, Islamic, Christian, Ottoman & British Empire. Jews returned from Exile from Babylon in Persian Rule (538-333 BC) & constructed 2nd Temple, which was desecrated during Alexander Rule. In 70 CE Roman Army lead by Titus invaded & Jews were exiled again; 2nd Temple was destroyed. Then Arabs (633-1099 AD) lead by Caliph Abd-el-malik built a Dome of Rock on foundation of Temple. Then Crusaders from Europe  (1099-1291 AD) conquered the holy land and persecuted the non christian population. After that during the reign of Sultan suliman of Ottoman Empire (1516-1918 AD) walls of the Old City of Jerusalem were re-built where the jews settled. Finally British Colonial rule from 1917 to 1948 over this area which was later partitioned under UN Guidance and separate State of Israel was created along with a Palestinian state giving homeland to the Arabs living there.

Not to forget that in WWII the Holocaust in Nazi Germany where Hitler Massacred Million of Jews & deported equal no of jews. Hence Many jews after facing persecutions during the Holocaust & elsewhere returned back to Israel after it gained Independence in 1948. Jews have been one community that have been exiled & persecuted many times by Arabs, Christians etc & yet despite hostile neighborhood their self determination to exist as nation has been incredible. Unfortunately in highly imbalanced narrative against Israel, these facets are never brought to light & discussed.

Arab States attacked Israel on Independence where it managed to survive, thereafter in 1964 Arab League Setup PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation)  targeting Palestinian Independence of occupied territories militarily & technically rejecting the Israeli claims as per the partition plan of UN. From 1949-1967, it was Egypt that controlled Gaza & Jordan controlled West Bank including East Jerusalem. Then there was the famous 6 day Arab-Israel war in 1967. In the 1967 War, Israel defeated 9 Arab Armies & captured Sinai Peninsula & Gaza from Egypt, and when peace overtures failed with Jordan it captured West Bank from Jordan. Israel later Captured Golan Heights from Syria. Meanwhile the UN resolutions in November 1967 called on Israel to vacate the Conquest Territories according to Partition Plan approved in 1948. 

PLO setup by Arab League in 1964 was lead by Yaseer Arafat (an Egyptian) till the time of his death in 2005, PLO was first was against the existence of Jewish State of Israel & rather aimed for a Military Solution. It was for this reason that PLO was designated as Terrorist Organization by many countries in West & Israel. PLO finally gave in when in 1988 Charter it Promised to Recognize Israel. The year 1988 was the Turning Point when PLO turned to Political Authority & Offered to Recognize State of Israel that lead to talks with US and finally resulted in Oslo Accord down the years in 1993. Secret Talks between Israel & PLO facilitated by the west lead to Oslo Accord in 1993 when Yaseer Arafat wrote to Israel recognizing it as State & Shunning violence as a means to which Israel reciprocated in similar sense. Meanwhile Hamas (a militia group) was formed in 1987 which Disagreed with PLO on Political Recognition of Israel and believed that Jews were the occupiers leading to suicide bombings from mid 90s that mainly originated from Gaza. Hamas's charter Article-7 Clearly states that destruction of jewish state is the will of the almighty & we shall fulfill it. Therefore negotiations with Hamas be it 2009 2012 or 2014 have always failed. 

After the failed conference Henry Kissinger started conducting shuttle diplomacy, meeting with Israel and the Arab states directly. The first concrete result of this was the initial military disengagement agreement, signed by Israel and Egypt on January 18, 1974. The agreement commonly known as Sinai I had the official name of Sinai Separation of Forces Agreement. Under its terms, Israel agreed to pull back its forces from the areas West of Suez Canal, which it had occupied since the end of hostilities. Moreover, Israeli forces were also pulled back on the length of the whole front to create security zones for Egypt, UN and Israel, each roughly ten kilometres wide. Thus Israel gave up its advances reaching beyond the Suez canal, but it still held nearly all of Sinai. It became the first of many such Land for Peace agreements where Israel gave up territory in exchange for treaties.

Another Egyptian-Israeli disengagement agreement, the Sinai Interim Agreement, was signed in Geneva on September 4, 1975, and was commonly known as Sinai II. This agreement led Israel to withdraw from another 20–40 km with UN forces buffering the vacated area. After the agreement, Israel still held more than two thirds of Sinai, which would prove to be a valuable bargaining chip in the coming negotiations. A peace agreement between Israel and Egypt was finally reached in September 17, 1978 in the famous Camp David Accords after negotiations hosted by President Jimmy Carter. In accordance with the treaty, Israeli forces withdrew gradually from Sinai with last troops exiting on April 26, 1982. Israel also struck Peace deal with Jordan in 1994.

After Death of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the peace process of Oslo received a deadly blow. Violence by Hamas Escalated later in 2000s despite the peace efforts by US in Camp David. In 2000/01 During the Camp David Summit held in US mediated by the  Bill Clinton almost came to a negotiated settlement on the lines of 2 state theory. Israel accepted all the Clinton Parameters which stated that 94-96% of West Bank & Full Gaza would go to sovereign Palestine state. In East Jerusalem Israel would get jew dominated areas in swap for arab dominated areas to Palestine. Israel has reservations over the Temple Mount & wanted to retain sovereign right of it, also that it would not accept any more refugees. There will be an International Monitoring Force on Jordan/Palestine border. These broad terms were accepted Israeli Cabinet & endorsed by Saudi Arabia as well; the Palestinian Liberation Authority headed by Yasser Arafat rejected the Terms. This was termed by Clinton & many other as historical blunder as two sides were close to achieving sovereign Palestine state & a peaceful Israeli nation. Arafat once called said "You are a Great Man", Clinton replied, "I am not a great man but a failed person & you made me one".

In 2005 Israel finally left Gaza to end its occupation but Sea & Air Blockade continued which was partially relaxed years later. After death of Yaseer Arafat, PLO factions Fatah Ruled West Bank under Prez Abbas with Hamas Capturing Power in the Elections held in Gaza in 2006. This is the History of Israel Palestine dispute running from ancient times. There has been twice Invasions of Gaza by Israel in 2008/09 & 2012, which were preceded by Rocket Fire Provocations of Hamas just like 2014. Meanwhile there are Disputed Territories in West Bank near Jerusalem & Ors are matter that can be sorted out with talks but not on gun point by Hamas which not only continues to fire rockets in Israel but also put lives of innocent Gazans in Peril by such provocations. In the latest Conflict in 2014, Hamas has fired more than 1650 Rockets into Israel in last 15 days most of them were intercepted by the Missile defence of System of Israel called "Iron Dome". 'Iron Dome' has been instrumental in limiting the casualties in Israel to minimal.

It is no one's case that occupation of areas in West Bank & Gaza by Israel is Justified. It is equally condemnable the actions of Hamas a designated terrorist organization whose aim is not peaceful coexistence of Gaza but mainly destruction of State of Israel. No country can live under continuous barrage of Rocket Fire, Terror Tunnels which are used by Hamas to infiltrate into Israel for terrorist attacks. To stop these illegal activities when Israel acts in its Legitimate Right to self defense, then Hamas uses places like schools, hospital to arms, ammunition & rockets; putting the ordinary Gazans in peril using them as human shields - Hamas's Human Shield war. Even the Correct & Balanced approach of International Law on Israel-Palestine Conflict would indite Hamas for provocations by Firing Rockets & then using Human Shields when Israel acts in Self Defense. This is double war crime by Hamas.

Any war or military conflict does not only affect the military or armies but there is always collateral damage which in the present case seems to be Innocent Ordinary Citizens of Gaza who are caught in this cross fire. This is unfortunate and condemnable but then blame can not be only put on Israel for Dis-propionate use of Force but rather should fall equally on Hamas for provocating Israel & putting Ordinary Gazans in peril for its objectives. Some References are - Gaza conflict takes toll on Hamas rocket stocks and tunnels , UNRWA condemns placement of rockets for a Second time in One of its Schools. Gaza’s underground: A vast tunnel network that empowers Hamas. 

Israel Palestinian conflict have had the complexities of Jews vs Arabs in the regions but the Dynamics have changed over last few decades & years. Israel brokered peace in exchange of land with Egypt in 1981 & a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994 which has been honoured till date. Furthermore, even Saudi Arabia has hinted making peace with Israel given the common threat of Iran perceived by both the nations. Meanwhile Egypt tried to strike ceasefire between Israel & Hamas a week back, which was promptly accepted by Israel and had the Backing of UN & US but was rejected by Military Wing of Hamas. It is amply clear that an incident of Kidnapping of 3 Israeli youths snow balled into a armed conflict started by Hamas Barrage of Rockets  & later lead to Invasion of Gaza by Israel to disrupt the terror activities & network of Hamas. Another facet of this long dispute is Iran's tacit support to Hamas arming it with Rockets just like it created Hezbollah in Lebanon to target Israel via Proxies. 

The dispute between Israel & Palestine is an old one but it is also a fact that the State Of Israel & Jews who have been persecuted & exiled many times over from their land have full right to existence in as much as the Palestinians have right to co-exist; and as stated by many countries only a negotiated settlement between the parties on the lines of 2 States Formula can bring peace in the region but groups like Hamas never wants to Recognize State of Israel or believe in the 2 State Formula. Hamas doesn't wish to live in peace else after Israel left Gaza in 2005, if properly governed Gaza would have become Singapore but Hamas's main objective is destruction of Israel based on anti semitism for which it invested Billion of $ of aid in creating Terror infrastructure & tunnels to target Israel and not for the welfare of Gazans. Hence the demand of Israel for demilitarization of Gaza looks justified and the blockade of gaza can be lifted once the threat of armed militia like Hamas & Palestinian International Jihad wanes out. No country can live under constant threat of gun put to its head. There has to be assurance that territory of Gaza will not be used directly or indirectly by outside players for attacks against Israel only then can Israel trust Opening up Gaza blockade fully leading to final settlement.

Further given the fact that Israel lives in a Hostile Neighborhood & the constant threat to its existence from groups like Hamas and countries like Iran, Israel claim of systematic targeting of it by vested interest in Middle East is not unfounded. This gives further legitimacy to Israel's Right to Self Defence for its peaceful existence in wake of these threats. Unfortunately the history of Jews & their legitimate rights have never been told correctly in highly one sided narrative against it, though giving rightful coverage to the Justiciable Rights of the Palestinians.

The Geo-Politics in Persian Gulf

The Sino-Soviet Bloc and Three Central Strategic Fronts by Zbigniew K. Brzezinski in his Book in 1997.
Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan were in an area called the “Northern Tier” by American strategists. This area was believed to be the region from which the Soviet Union could breakout of Eurasia by reaching the Persian Gulf. It was also considered to be the area bordering the Soviet Union’s most sensitive area. It was from here that a game of expansion, containment, and penetration was being carried out. A balance of power was very important in this regard.

One country above all others was vital for the balance of power and that was Iran. If the Soviets overran Iran, they would have direct access to the Persian Gulf and if American or British troops were in Iran they would be directly on the southern and sensitive borders of the Soviet Union.  The status quo had been, since the time of the so-called “Great Game” between Britain and Czarist Russia, that Iran would be a military buffer zone. While Iran was an ally of the U.S. and NATO before 1979, there were also restrictions on it in the context of a longstanding bilateral relationship with the Soviet Union. 

Iran severed its military alliance with the United States after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. This was seen as a geo-strategic victory by the Soviet Union. Although the Soviets were concerned about the ideology of the new government in Iran, they were relieved that Iran was no longer colluding with the U.S. and its partners. Nonetheless, there was still a state of mistrust between Moscow and Tehran. The Americans could not intervene militarily in Iran with a view to gaining control over Iran’s oil fields.  A bilateral treaty between Iran and the Soviets had allowed the Soviet Union to intervene in Iran if forces of a third party operating within Iran were perceived as a menace to Soviet security. Naturally, Moscow would perceive any American invasion of Iran, on the direct borders of the U.S.S.R., as a threat and invoke the bilateral treaty. 

This is where Iraq, a Soviet ally, became useful against Iran. Before the Iraq-Iran War there existed no diplomatic relations between the Iraqi and U.S. governments. Iraq had gravitated outside of the Anglo-American orbit in 1958, after a revolution ousted the Iraqi branch of the Hashemite Dynasty and in 1967 Baghdad cut its ties with America. In 1972 the Soviets and Iraqis had also signed a Friendship Treaty that resulted in large Soviet weapon deliveries to the most independent-minded Arab country in the Arab World, which became a real threat to U.S. and Israeli interests.

A real match of geo-strategic chess was being played. According to Henry Kissinger, Iraq was the single most radical Arab country that posed the greatest danger to U.S. interests during the Nixon era. Furthermore, the U.S. was afraid that if Iraq was not neutralized that the Soviets would take the geo-strategic initiative of penetrating into the Middle East and overwhelming Iran. If one remembers Afghanistan also had a pro-Soviet government too. In Henry Kissinger’s words, “The Soviet Union would try to squeeze Iran between [a pro-Soviet] Afghanistan and its Iraqi client.”

Under these circumstances, it was to keep their socialist allies in power in Kabul and to prevent the destabilization of Soviet Central Asia via Afghanistan that Soviet troops entered Afghanistan, in context with the 1978 Soviet-Afghan Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Good Neighbourliness.

Henry Kissinger has written in regards to the danger from Iraq, “Though not strictly speaking a Soviet satellite, once fully armed with Soviet weapons Iraq would serve Soviet purposes by intimating pro-Western government, such as Saudi Arabia; simultaneously, it would exert pressure on Jordon and even Syria, which while leaning to the radical side was far from being a Soviet puppet.” The Americans and their British allies were intent on neutralizing an independent Iraq and an Iran steaming with revolutionary fervor. Also, the other goal of the U.S. and Britain was to regain the lost oil fields of both Middle Eastern countries. The Iraq-Iran War was America’s chance to recover the lost oil fields of Iraq and Iran.

Close to the start of the Iraq-Iran War, the Soviet government, after talks with the revolutionary government in Tehran, was notified that Iran was terminating Moscow’s right to militarily intervene in Iran, and by extension in the Persian Gulf, under the 1921 Treaty of Friendship signed between the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic (S.F.S.R.) and Iran.

The Soviets objected to Tehran’s decision, but were reluctant and bogged down in Afghanistan. Eventually and with time they tacitly accepted the Iranian decision.

It was this agreement between the Soviets that kept the U.S. from invading Iran. It is also because of this agreement that the British did not try to invade Iran, but created an internationally illegal military blockade that prevented Iranian trade and the export of oil when the government of Dr. Mossadegh, the prime minister of Iran, nationalized Iranian oil in 1951.

“The southern rim of Asia - Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan - is a region of the world that may seem remote and strange to Americans, and yet it is a pivot of the world’s security. Within a few years of my 1973 journey, it became an area of upheaval. From the Iranian revolution to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the Iran-Iraq war, events dramatized the vulnerability of the Persian Gulf - the lifeline of the West’s oil supply. The vital importance of that region had been one of the themes of the shrewd strategic analysts I was to visit next: Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai.” - Henry Kissinger (Years of Upheaval, 1982)

By 1980 America had systematically created an arc of volatility and instability from the borders of Soviet Central Asia and Afghanistan running through Iran and Iraq to the Persian Gulf; in the process four nations (the Soviet Union, Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq) on the doorstep or gateway into the core of Eurasia were weakened. America was also using all four nations to destabilize one another. In retrospect it can be argued that the ground was being prepared for future operations in these areas.

It should be noted that the Soviet Union disengaged itself from Afghanistan in 1988, the same year that the Iraq-Iran War ended. In 1988, the Soviet effort to stabilize the Soviet economy was also underway. After the Iraq-Iran War ended in 1988, the U.S. tried to sabotage and to further destroy the devastated economies of Iraq, Iran, and the Soviet Union by deliberately getting Saudi Arabia and the Arab Sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf to lower the price of oil.  The Soviets, the Iraqis, and the Iranians were planning on making the most of their vast energy resources, but their programs were stopped or obstructed in their tracks by the deliberate manipulation of petroleum markets. Washington D.C. was cleverly “killing several birds with one stone,” so to speak. 

In February 1990, Saddam Hussein asked Saudi Arabia to honour the limits on oil production rates or quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Arab countries like Kuwait and the U.A.E. were deliberately breaching the quotas set by OPEC in coordination with the White House. The Iranians also sided with Iraq and in addition blamed the Arab Sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf of conspiring with the U.S. against Iran too.  Oddly, the U.S.S.R. appears to have kept silent. In May of 1990, Saddam Hussein finally gave a summit of Arab leaders in Baghdad a warning that the continued violation of OPEC production rates by fellow Arab nations represented a de facto declaration of war against Iraq, but Kuwait and the U.A.E., encouraged by the U.S., continued to violate their OPEC quotas.

“The Gulf War is an historic moment. We have in this past year made great progress in ending the long era of conflict and cold war. We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a ‘New World Order” - George H. Bush Sr., 41st President of the United States (January 16, 1991)

Finally Iraq was entrapped into invading Kuwait in August of 1990 with what Baghdad believed was an okay from President George H. Bush Sr. and the White House through April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq. The transcripts of the discussion between Ambassador Glaspie and Saddam Hussein confirm that Iraq was ensnared by the Bush Sr. Administration. U.S. officials in Washington D.C. also made it appear that the U.S. believed that the invasion of Kuwait was an “Arab-Arab issue.” The Iraqis also claimed that they invaded Kuwait to stop Kuwait from permanently damaging the Iraqi economy by flooding the global market with more oil.

John Kelly, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, testified to the U.S. 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,” on July 31, 1990, two days before the Iraqi Army marched into Kuwait Margaret Tutweiler, the U.S. State Department spokeswoman, also told the international press on July 26, 1990 that the U.S. government had no objections or diplomatic message to Iraq about the mobilization of 30, 000 Iraqi troops that appeared to be planning an invasion of Kuwait. The U.S. was aware that the Iraqis would be monitoring Washington D.C.’s responses to Iraqi mobilization and Baghdad’s plans to invade Kuwait. Iraq was clearly led on by the U.S. government.

The Clinton Administration had also crafted the invasion plans for Iraq. In fact it was the economic sanctions and the Anglo-American bombing campaigns under the Clinton Administration that softened Iraq for a ground invasion under the Bush Jr. Administration. Iraqi air defences were also seriously eroded by the time Iraq was invaded in 2003. The no-fly zones over pre-2003 Iraq, that were declared by the U.S., British, and French governments were also not internationally recognized or de jure (legal).

The Persian Gulf was militarized over a long period of time through three successive wars: the Iraq-Iran War (1980-1988), the Persian Gulf War (1991), and the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq (2003). After the British left the Persian Gulf, the area was militarized by the U.S. through the arguable necessitation of foreign ships being present to protect oil shipments and maritime traffic. This position was further endorsed during the Iraq-Iran War when the U.S. Navy flagged Kuwait oil tankers and fought against the Iranian Navy.

The invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent American-led war with Iraq allowed the U.S. to establish bases in Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf in a second phase of militarization. A third phase of militarization started in 2003. This third phase involved the transfer of American and British assets into Iraq and the establishment of permanent super-bases starting in 2003/2004. NATO has also signed agreements with Arab states in the Persian Gulf littoral as the Franco-German entente becomes more involved in the management of the Middle East.

Aside from Iraq’s global importance as an energy supplier, Iraq’s geographic location is also central to the whole Middle East. With a central footing in Iraq the U.S. could spread out or control the rest of the Middle East and the head of the Persian Gulf. The Middle East, in addition to the Indian sub-continent, is also sandwiched between America’s Eurasian bridgeheads, Europe, and the Far East. Additionally, Iraq serves as a gateway of entry into Iran and as a natural barrier between Iran and the rest of the Arab World and debatably even the Persian Gulf. On the other hand, Iran serves as a geographic gateway into the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea, and Central Asia. Establishing a footing in Iraq is a logical step in containing the spread of Iranian influence in the Arab World and pushing inwards into Central Asia. Therefore the invasion of Iraq would be vital in a drive towards Central Asia, through securing Iran, and ultimately encircling Russia and China.

Dismantling Saddam: American Foreign Policy in 1980s

After The Coups by CIA in Iraq & amp; Iran in 50s, 60s. The situation changed as Iraq Gravitated towards Soviets due to Arab Israel war in 1967 while Iran continued to be under the influence of US under the Monarchy of Shah of Iran till 1979 Revolution of Iran. The US faced a serious situation where one side you had saddam’s Iraq & on the other side ayatollah Iran both gravitating away from western influence, given the fact that both countries large amount of oil reserves & strategically located as gateways to Central Asia & Persian Gulf. The prospect of Soviets influence perculating down to Iran & Iraq posed a serious challenge to American Strategic Policy in the Oil rich Gulf Region. 

This is when after 1979 Iranian Revolution the US policy of Covertly Supporting Saddam’s Iraq against Iran started in early 80s along with creation of Al Qaida & afghan jihad to bleed the Soviets in Afghanistan. The decade long war between two soviet friends Iraq & Iran proved mutually destructive economically for Iraq & Iran; which was compounded by bogged down Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

US Covert Support to Iraq in Iraq-Iran War:

The Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) was one of a series of crises during an era of upheaval in the Middle East: revolution in Iran, occupation of the U.S. embassy in Tehran by militant students, invasion of the Great Mosque in Mecca by anti-royalist Islamicists, the Soviet Union's occupation of Afghanistan, and internecine fighting among Syrians, Israelis, and Palestinians in Lebanon. The war followed months of rising tension between the Iranian Islamic republic and secular nationalist Iraq. In mid-September 1980 Iraq attacked, in the mistaken belief that Iranian political disarray would guarantee a quick victory.

The international community responded with U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for a ceasefire and for all member states to refrain from actions contributing in any way to the conflict's continuation. The Soviets, opposing the war, cut off arms exports to Iran and to Iraq, its ally under a 1972 treaty (arms deliveries resumed in 1982). The U.S. had already ended, when the shah fell, previously massive military sales to Iran. In 1980 the U.S. broke off diplomatic relations with Iran because of the Tehran embassy hostage crisis; Iraq had broken off ties with the U.S. during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.

The U.S. was officially neutral regarding the Iran-Iraq war, and claimed that it armed neither side. Iran depended on U.S.-origin weapons, however, and sought them from Israel, Europe, Asia, and South America. Iraq started the war with a large Soviet-supplied arsenal, but needed additional weaponry as the conflict wore on.

Initially, Iraq advanced far into Iranian territory, but was driven back within months. By mid-1982, Iraq was on the defensive against Iranian human-wave attacks. The U.S., having decided that an Iranian victory would not serve its interests, began supporting Iraq: measures already underway to upgrade U.S.-Iraq relations were accelerated, high-level officials exchanged visits, and in February 1982 the State Department removed Iraq from its list of states supporting international terrorism. (It had been included several years earlier because of ties with several Palestinian nationalist groups, not Islamicists sharing the worldview of al-Qaeda. Activism by Iraq's main Shiite Islamicist opposition group, al-Dawa, was a major factor precipitating the war stirred by Iran's Islamic revolution, its endeavors included the attempted assassination of Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz.)

Prolonging the war was phenomenally expensive. Iraq received massive external financial support from the Gulf states, and assistance through loan programs from the U.S. The White House and State Department pressured the Export-Import Bank to provide Iraq with financing, to enhance its credit standing and enable it to obtain loans from other international financial institutions. The U.S. Agriculture Department provided taxpayer-guaranteed loans for purchases of American commodities, to the satisfaction of U.S. grain exporters.

The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this country's official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East.

One of these directives from Reagan, National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 99, signed on July 12, 1983, is available only in a highly redacted version (Doc). It reviews U.S. regional interests in the Middle East and South Asia, and U.S. objectives, including peace between Israel and the Arabs, resolution of other regional conflicts, and economic and military improvements, "to strengthen regional stability." It deals with threats to the U.S., strategic planning, cooperation with other countries, including the Arab states, and plans for action. An interdepartmental review of the implications of shifting policy in favor of Iraq was conducted following promulgation of the directive.

By the summer of 1983 Iran had been reporting Iraqi use of using chemical weapons for some time. The Geneva protocol requires that the international community respond to chemical warfare, but a diplomatically isolated Iran received only a muted response to its complaints. It intensified its accusations in October 1983, however, and in November asked for a United Nations Security Council investigation.

The U.S., which followed developments in the Iran-Iraq war with extraordinary intensity, had intelligence confirming Iran's accusations, and describing Iraq's "almost daily" use of chemical weapons, concurrent with its policy review and decision to support Iraq in the war (Doc). The intelligence indicated that Iraq used chemical weapons against Iranian forces, and, according to a November 1983 memo, against "Kurdish insurgents" as well (Doc).

What was the Reagan administration's response? A State Department account indicates that the administration had decided to limit its "efforts against the Iraqi CW program to close monitoring because of our strict neutrality in the Gulf war, the sensitivity of sources, and the low probability of achieving desired results." But the department noted in late November 1983 that "with the essential assistance of foreign firms, Iraq ha[d] become able to deploy and use CW and probably has built up large reserves of CW for further use. Given its desperation to end the war, Iraq may again use lethal or incapacitating CW, particularly if Iran threatens to break through Iraqi lines in a large-scale attack" (Doc). The State Department argued that the U.S. needed to respond in some way to maintain the credibility of its official opposition to chemical warfare, and recommended that the National Security Council discuss the issue.

Following further high-level policy review, Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) 114, dated November 26, 1983, concerned specifically with U.S. policy toward the Iran-Iraq war. The directive reflects the administration's priorities: it calls for heightened regional military cooperation to defend oil facilities, and measures to improve U.S. military capabilities in the Persian Gulf, and directs the secretaries of state and defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to take appropriate measures to respond to tensions in the area. It states, "Because of the real and psychological impact of a curtailment in the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf on the international economic system, we must assure our readiness to deal promptly with actions aimed at disrupting that traffic." It does not mention chemical weapons (Doc).

Soon thereafter, Donald Rumsfeld (who had served in various positions in the Nixon and Ford administrations, including as President Ford's defense secretary, and at this time headed the multinational pharmaceutical company G.D. Searle & Co.) was dispatched to the Middle East as a presidential envoy. His December 1983 tour of regional capitals included Baghdad, where he was to establish "direct contact between an envoy of President Reagan and President Saddam Hussein," while emphasizing "his close relationship" with the president (Doc). Rumsfeld met with Saddam, and the two discussed regional issues of mutual interest, shared enmity toward Iran and Syria, and the U.S.'s efforts to find alternative routes to transport Iraq's oil; its facilities in the Persian Gulf had been shut down by Iran, and Iran's ally, Syria, had cut off a pipeline that transported Iraqi oil through its territory. Rumsfeld made no reference to chemical weapons, according to detailed notes on the meeting (Doc).

Rumsfeld also met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, and the two agreed, "the U.S. and Iraq shared many common interests." Rumsfeld affirmed the Reagan administration's "willingness to do more" regarding the Iran-Iraq war, but "made clear that our efforts to assist were inhibited by certain things that made it difficult for us, citing the use of chemical weapons, possible escalation in the Gulf, and human rights." He then moved on to other U.S. concerns (Doc). Later, Rumsfeld was assured by the U.S. interests section that Iraq's leadership had been "extremely pleased" with the visit, and that "Tariq Aziz had gone out of his way to praise Rumsfeld as a person" (doc) and (Doc).

Rumsfeld returned to Baghdad in late March 1984. By this time, the U.S. had publicly condemned Iraq's chemical weapons use, stating, "The United States has concluded that the available evidence substantiates Iran's charges that Iraq used chemical weapons" (Doc). Briefings for Rumsfeld's meetings noted that atmospherics in Iraq had deteriorated since his December visit because of Iraqi military reverses and because "bilateral relations were sharply set back by our March 5 condemnation of Iraq for CW use, despite our repeated warnings that this issue would emerge sooner or later" (Doc). Rumsfeld was to discuss with Iraqi officials the Reagan administration's hope that it could obtain Export-Import Bank credits for Iraq, the Aqaba pipeline, and its vigorous efforts to cut off arms exports to Iran. According to an affidavit prepared by one of Rumsfeld's companions during his Mideast travels, former NSC staff member Howard Teicher, Rumsfeld also conveyed to Iraq an offer from Israel to provide assistance, which was rejected (Doc).

Although official U.S. policy still barred the export of U.S. military equipment to Iraq, some was evidently provided on a "don't ask - don't tell" basis. In April 1984, the Baghdad interests section asked to be kept apprised of Bell Helicopter Textron's negotiations to sell helicopters to Iraq, which were not to be "in any way configured for military use" (Doc). The purchaser was the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. In December 1982, Bell Textron's Italian subsidiary had informed the U.S. embassy in Rome that it turned down a request from Iraq to militarize recently purchased Hughes helicopters. An allied government, South Korea, informed the State Department that it had received a similar request in June 1983 (when a congressional aide asked in March 1983 whether heavy trucks recently sold to Iraq were intended for military purposes, a State Department official replied "we presumed that this was Iraq's intention, and had not asked.") (Doc)

During the spring of 1984 the U.S. reconsidered policy for the sale of dual-use equipment to Iraq's nuclear program, and its "preliminary results favor[ed] expanding such trade to include Iraqi nuclear entities" (Doc). Several months later, a Defense Intelligence Agency analysis said that even after the war ended, Iraq was likely to "continue to develop its formidable conventional and chemical capability, and probably pursue nuclear weapons" (Doc). (Iraq is situated in a dangerous neighborhood, and Israel had stockpiled a large nuclear weapons arsenal without international censure. Nuclear nonproliferation was not a high priority of the Reagan administration - throughout the 1980s it downplayed Pakistan's nuclear program, though its intelligence indicated that a weapons capability was being pursued, in order to avert congressionally mandated sanctions. Sanctions would have impeded the administration's massive military assistance to Pakistan provided in return for its support of the mujahideen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.)

In February 1984, Iraq's military, expecting a major Iranian attack, issued a warning that "the invaders should know that for every harmful insect there is an insecticide capable of annihilating it whatever the number and Iraq possesses this annihilation insecticide" (Doc). On March 3, the State Department intervened to prevent a U.S. company from shipping 22,000 pounds of phosphorous fluoride, a chemical weapons precursor, to Iraq. Washington instructed the U.S. interests section to protest to the Iraqi government, and to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that "we anticipate making a public condemnation of Iraqi use of chemical weapons in the near future," and that "we are adamantly opposed to Iraq's attempting to acquire the raw materials, equipment, or expertise to manufacture chemical weapons from the United States. When we become aware of attempts to do so, we will act to prevent their export to Iraq" (Doc).

The public condemnation was issued on March 5. It said, "While condemning Iraq's chemical weapons use. The United States finds the present Iranian regime's intransigent refusal to deviate from its avowed objective of eliminating the legitimate government of neighboring Iraq to be inconsistent with the accepted norms of behavior among nations and the moral and religious basis which it claims" (Doc).

Later in the month, the State Department briefed the press on its decision to strengthen controls on the export of chemical weapons precursors to Iran and Iraq, in response to intelligence and media reports that precursors supplied to Iraq originated in Western countries. When asked whether the U.S.'s conclusion that Iraq had used chemical weapons would have "any effect on U.S. recent initiatives to expand commercial relationships with Iraq across a broad range, and also a willingness to open diplomatic relations," the department's spokesperson said "No. I'm not aware of any change in our position. We're interested in being involved in a closer dialogue with Iraq" (Doc).

Iran had submitted a draft resolution asking the U.N. to condemn Iraq's chemical weapons use. The U.S. delegate to the U.N. was instructed to lobby friendly delegations in order to obtain a general motion of "no decision" on the resolution. If this was not achievable, the U.S. delegate was to abstain on the issue. Iraq's ambassador met with the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Jeane Kirkpatrick, and asked for "restraint" in responding to the issue - as did the representatives of both France and Britain.

A senior U.N. official who had participated in a fact-finding mission to investigate Iran's complaint commented "Iranians may well decide to manufacture and use chemical weapons themselves if [the] international community does not condemn Iraq. He said Iranian assembly speaker Rafsanjani [had] made public statements to this effect" (doc).

Iraqi interests section head Nizar Hamdoon met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State James Placke on March 29. Hamdoon said that Iraq strongly preferred a Security Council presidential statement to a resolution, and wanted the response to refer to former resolutions on the war, progress toward ending the conflict, but to not identify any specific country as responsible for chemical weapons use. Placke said the U.S. could accept Iraqi proposals if the Security Council went along. He asked for the Iraqi government's help "in avoiding embarrassing situation[s]" but also noted that the U.S. did "not want this issue to dominate our bilateral relationship" (Doc).

On March 30, 1984, the Security Council issued a presidential statement condemning the use of chemical weapons, without naming Iraq as the offending party. A State Department memo circulating the draft text observed that, "The statement, by the way contains all three elements Hamdoon wanted" (Doc).

On April 5, 1984, Ronald Reagan issued another presidential directive (NSDD 139), emphasizing the U.S. objective of ensuring access to military facilities in the Gulf region, and instructing the director of central intelligence and the secretary of defense to upgrade U.S. intelligence gathering capabilities. It codified U.S. determination to develop plans "to avert an Iraqi collapse." Reagan's directive said that U.S. policy required "unambiguous" condemnation of chemical warfare (without naming Iraq), while including the caveat that the U.S. should "place equal stress on the urgent need to dissuade Iran from continuing the ruthless and inhumane tactics which have characterized recent offensives." The directive does not suggest that "condemning" chemical warfare required any hesitation about or modification of U.S. support for Iraq (Doc).

A State Department background paper dated November 16, 1984 said that Iraq had stopped using chemical weapons after a November 1983 demarche from the U.S., but had resumed their use in February 1984. On November 26, 1984, Iraq and the U.S. restored diplomatic relations. Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz, in Washington for the formal resumption of ties, met with Secretary of State George Shultz. When their discussion turned to the Iran-Iraq war, Aziz said that his country was satisfied that "the U.S. analysis of the war's threat to regional stability is 'in agreement in principle' with Iraq's," and expressed thanks for U.S. efforts to cut off international arms sales to Iran. He said that "Iraq's superiority in weaponry" assured Iraq's defense. Shultz, with presumed sardonic intent, "remarked that superior intelligence must also be an important factor in Iraq's defense;" Tariq Aziz had to agree (Doc).

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