Is it US/UK Policy to create Arab martyrs?

Seems like it to me. Just saw the news that US and British planes have struck Baghdad and areas around the capital. North of the “no-fly” zone. 1 dead, nine injured according to the Iraqi media. Saddam doing his best “See? See who the real villains are?” bit. Bush Jr looking like a sock puppet at the press conference, like he rehearsed his lines real well to get his lollipop reward.

What is the point of the airstrikes? I put this to GD rather than GQ because if there are any replies it could get political – please excuse me if I’ve muffed it.

There is some speculation that the Administration (which in the case of this President need not refer directly to him) feels that Clinton is still getting more attention than the sitting president and therefore LambChop was told to pull the focus back onto the present White House rather than its immediate predecessor. The Iraqi bombings are believed, in some circles, to be a tactic to make this happen.

It’ll be interesting if this is a case of “Wag the Dog” to see how the Congressional Republicans react, considering the way they piled onto Clinton for supposedly doing the same thing.

Heh, heh.

Thank you, jayjay, That’s a great description for him. He seemed to me to be someone who really didn’t want to be out there trying to defend the indefensible. That is, if he had the intelligence to know the difference …

However, this doesn’t answer why the UK are still in tight cahoots with the US government regarding Iraq policy like this case. Are there strings above Tony Blair and co which we cannot ordinarily see?

Sorry, Ice Wolf. On UK politics, I can name the two major parties but other than that…

[hijack of my own thread]

Last I heard, there were three major parties in the UK: Conservative, Labour, and the other lot trying desperately not to get themselves involved in sex scandals.

[end hijack]

S’okay, jayjay. I really appreciate you giving this thread the attention you have.


Targeting radar systems that were being used to keep an eye on US/UK planes patrolling the No-Fly zone.

According to the “official reports” or something.

I suppose to Saddam Hussain the loss of a few of his citizens is worth the value of publicity and sympathy that he gains from the Arab world, sort of - look at those big bullies they beat up on me again.

He must surely be familiar with US/UK air tactics and rules of engagement by now so I only assume that this is a deliberate ploy on his part.

As to the lifting of sanctions, well that is the whole point about what Saddam Hussain is all about at the moment, wether sanctions should be in place is another matter entirely.

I had the same reaction as Ice Wolf when I heard the news. In the headlines at the beginning of the hour (i.e. just before the program started) it said that Iraq had been bombed. My immediate reaction was “Oh, God, tell me the US didn’t do it.” And of course, they did. My thoughts: “What are they thinking and what are they hoping to accomplish??”

The news here (UK) reports, “Allied warplanes hit radar installations used to control Iraq’s air defences. … The targets were all directly linked to the increased Iraqi threat to allied air crews, the MoD said.” (This is from Sky News’ digital text page.)

Apparently they felt that their planes were at high risk for being attacked. Furthermore, it reports that Britain and the US are ready to strike again.

I’d like to say this was a standard new President making a mark thing but, unfortunately, I do think it’s slightly more complicated that that. From what I understand this is the position at the moment:

· We collectively flew around 7,000 missions over the zone last year and there was more Iraqi ‘counter-measures’ activity in January this year than in the whole of year 2000
· Saddam has recently developed a few new tactics to lure aircraft into traps including setting something up worthy of our interest and then using the novel idea of firing missiles before switching on the guidance system thus giving the pilots even less time to take avoidance action
· Bush has been under pressure from the UK to do something as the role of the no-fly zone has lost it’s original purpose and is waiting for the Marsh Arabs / Shiites / Kurds to form some kind of coherent opposition that can be protected. The policy is drifting and no one is happy with risking lives for no clear objective, the Brits are even less happy probably because the changeover in Washington naturally put the issue on hold within the Administration.
· The fact that Saddam chose January to up the ante ain’t no coincidence. Jan 20th was also an important day for the world ’s crackpots – wouldn’t be right if you didn’t test the new guys mettle.
· Despite his unfortunate stuttering public address style, Bush is determined to restrict Saddam and to send a clear message that the US remains stalwart.

So, in part – but only in part - the purpose of the raids was to take some of the growing pressure off the operational air-crews and, by so doing, making the ill defined current role of the zone more palatable for London. But the main issue remains unresolved.

Of course, the policy – originally designed (do we also mention close level surveillance ?) to prevent Saddam’s Air Force pounding the opposition - is a little tricky to justify when our NATO ally Turkey does the exact same thing to the Kurds in Turkey. And bombing Iraq only strengthens Saddam within the country.

But, hey, such is the nature of international relations.

8 years.
That is how long Clinton had to change the status in Iraq. Is it a horror to you that Bush is keeping the status quo?
If anyone has a policy of turning arabs into martyrs, it’s a handful of arab leaders.

What exactly do we have to fear from Iraq? Is there anything specific? Germ warfare? Possible petroleum embargo? Why drop bombs on them? For the same reason that a dog licks his <ahem> testicles–because he can? Are we back to the “domino theory” again? Just more imperialist posturing? Or what? I really wanna know, 'cause evidently I missed the part where Saddam Hussein threatened to come over to my house and shoot my husband and rape my daughter and kill my dog and eat all the food in my refrigerator.

In a word, “huh?”

And P.S. In the Where will Bush start a war first? thread, looks to me like rjung called it, on 1-17-2001:

So, CuriousGeorge, what does he win? :smiley:

This is really pretty much SOP. It’s almost traditional that those nations that have serious issues with the United States and/or Britain try pushing the buttons of a new leader.

Recall that Hussein tried to torque Clinton when he took office, despite Poppy using much of his post-election day time to lay some serious smack down on Iraq. I suspect that a similar situation probably occurred when Tony Blair stepped up to PM.

Incidents in the no-fly zone are a regular occurence. Most of them go unreported. What was exceptional about this particular act was that a) it targeted command-and-control systems in the vicinity of Baghdad; and b) it is Shrub’s first military response in what no doubt will be a long line of (hopefully) minor incidents.

Otherwise, it’s just business as usual in the fucked up Arab world. And I wouldn’t be suprised if all the major players rather enjoy it. Hussein only gets good press at home when this sort of thing happens, and it allows him to keep his grip on Iraq by posturing as a leader of a country in a state of war. The USAF and the RAF probably secretly loves the situation because it allows for a steady rotation of pilots through a training-wheel combat zone. The Baathists in Syria like seeing their most dangerous rival–the other wing of the Baath Party–getting stomped, while Iran gets to worry less about their large and difficult to defend border with Iraq. And the oil-rich nations have one less competitor.

It’s not pretty, but I’ll bet that it’s going to be a very difficult situation to change.

U.S. and British warplanes patrolling the zones have often attacked targets in the south and north since Baghdad started to challenge the aircraft in December 1998.

Being targeted by enemy radar is considered an offensive/agressive military move (some military jar head back me up here please). The proper military response is to knock out said radar stations.

It is also a violation of certain agreements that Saddam signed onto at the end of the Gulf war. You beakum agreements, we dropum bombs on your targeting radar.

What Saddam may or may not lose in hardware, he gains in prestige. Even the Saudis no longer support the embargo. And because he’s taking on “the west”, he is like Nasser reborn to terrorist cells all over the place …

Okay, so why have the no-fly zones? To protect the minorities below them? I doubt that this is the real reason, or even in the top ten. The US and UK in the 20th century had a fond habit of picking up minorities for a while, then dropping them when the Cold War suited. It suits the allies to have two zones of Iraqi airspace where they say “no-fly, no-radar”. It’s a punishment. It makes the allies look good to oil-producers they want to keep sweet.

It’s a stupidity. It makes heroes and martyrs for all the wrong reasons.

Yeah. Israel. Dinky little target, that just happens to have a treaty with the US. We can’t go around breaking our agreements, now, could we?

Dude started a war. Dude gets punished. That simple.

Now, whether or not it’s time to lift sanctions (or at least lighten 'em) is a whole 'nother debate.

Agreed. Targeting someone with a tracking radar is the equivalent of putting someone in the sights of your rifle. Not a friendly act.

I don’t think this is right. My recollection is that Saddam agreed not to fly fixed-wing aircraft in the southern no-fly zone. The northern no-fly zone was wholly created by Americans later, and the southern no-fly zone was unilaterally expanded by the Americans. Further, I do not believe that radar locks, etc., were mentioned at all in the cease-fire agreements. Dropping bombs on the radar is justified only by self-defense.


Hey Spoofe…

I hate to do this to you…

But do you have a cite for that?
I never knew we had a treaty with Israel.

No, SPOOFE, it isn’t that simple. Argentina started a war over the Falklands – any no-fly zone there? Any sanctions? How strange.

It reminds me very much of the British Empire, all this “gunboat diplomacy” going on. And on. And on. How desperate is America, that they need to have a “bad guy” out there in the world in order that their politicians feel justified in their pointless rhetoric?

And Sofa King gets a gold star for “Best Mental Image”. :smiley: LOL!

I’m just pissed because Dubya didn’t bomb earlier in the week. I would have won the office pool on his first military action. Instead, I got stiffed.

I have a hard time seeing this as anything more than rattling his saber. I imagine him as a dog, eagerly jumping up and down at the front door, waiting for someone to let him out - in this case, Cheney and Powell saying, “Ok, Georgie, you can bomb just this ONE DAY.”