Yet another "war with Iraq" thread

The US government claims it is committed to “regime change” in Iraq. Why?

This is an issue we have debated many, many times here and we’ve come up with various different reasons including:

  • Iraq may be in breach of their terms of surrender if they do not allow the UN inspectors back in

  • Iraq, if left alone, may develop WMD and then use them against Israel and other western allies

  • Iraq will acquire long range North Korean missiles in 5/10 years time

  • Saddam is an evil tyrant who oppresses his people

  • Iraqi intelligence may be connected to, and a sponsor of, al Qaeda

But I just wanted to propose another theory to you. See what you think of it:
The whole thing is about oil and maintaining a stable price for it and as much control as possible over the middle east as a whole. The best situation for America is an Iraq that is in complete and total poverty so that Iraqi oil can be kept off the market for a while (keeping oil prices from slipping below $20) but making sure that in the long run it will be firmly under the control of the US so that when oil prices start to rise (like now for example) the US can bring Iraqi oil back into production on a large scale.

The Gulf war was planned by the US as a means of destroying the Iraqi army which at the time was the 4th largest in the world and a threat to US interests in the long run. The US supported Kuwait in a process of economic warfare against Iraq which was focused around oil. Kuwait overproduced oil and used slant-drilling techniques to tap into Iraqi oil reserves all of which was a deliberate attempt to provoke Iraq into an invasion.

When Iraq invaded it was receiving assurances from the US that it would not involve itself in what it described as a ‘regional issue’. When Iraq did invade the US started to claim that Iraq was planning an invasion of Saudi Arabia, even though neither the Saudi government nor anyone else believed that this was really possible. America claimed that over 300,000 Iraqi troops were massing on the border though Russian commercial satellite photographs show that there was no such mobilisation.

Under immense pressure from the US the Saudi government agreed to let the US to put a ‘protective’ force along the Saudi/Kuwaiti border, a force of over 500,000 personnel (the largest deployment of troops since the 2nd world war). As a response Iraq sent as much of its military as it could to defend the border, but was very badly prepared. the Russian satellite photographs show that the scale of Iraqi mobilisation was minimal in comparison to that of the US.

The US gave Iraq an ultimatum to leave Kuwait or face the consequences and when the deadline passed the US forces launched a complete attack on the Iraqi army and the whole of the Iraqi infrastructure. The aim of this operation was not to force the Iraqi army to retreat from Kuwait, but rather to destroy the whole of Iraq as a viable force in the middle east.

The following sanctions were simply a continuation of the same process, making sure that Iraq cannot receive the money from its oil reserves to either rebuild its economy or its military capabilities, either of which would threaten US domination of the middle east. The rule of the Ba’ath party was an essential part of this plan because it ensured political stability combined with complete poverty which is the basis of American control in the Middle East in general.

The US did not ‘stop short’ of overthrowing Saddam because this was never one of its aims. It helped to suppress the uprising of shi-ite muslims in the south by denying access to abandoned Iraqi equipment and allowed the Iraqi government to drop kerosine all over the shi-ite forces and then set light to it whilst all the time US planes were flying overhead.

The current situation is probably something along the lines of this:

  • oil prices are rising and Iraqi oil is seen as a way of solving this problem. it is now seen as the right time to launch another war in the middle east to replace saddam hussain with a different leader whose loyalty the US can expect. Whatever happens the Iraqi people will see no more freedom when saddam is replaced. US oil companies will sign contracts to rebuild Iraq’s oil pumps and gain dominance over oil production in the country.

  • a massive ‘investment’ programme will be announced where American companies move in to take over the previously public industries of Iraq and another country will be brought into the fold of the neo-liberal global community. This investment programme will be hailed as if it were actually humanitarian aid, something which it most certainly will not be. Britain, along with other european nations, will take part in this entire process.

This is a report by former US Attorney General, Ramsey Clarke, among others which gives more detail. I don’t know if all this is the ‘truth’, but it is certainly worth investigating.

As part of the conclusion of this report he calls on people around the world to attempt the same process that he and others have done and to investigate the US account of the Gulf war.

Did America deliberately help Iraq put down potential coups (from the shi-ites in the south, among others) in order to keep Saddam in power?

1/ During the negotiations between Saddam’s generals and the US army in Safwan, the Iraqi side requested exemption from the no fly zone for their helicopters. The US agreed. It was Saddam’s helicopter gunships that defeated the uprising.

2/ People who took part in the uprising, who are now in exile, gave eyewitness accounts of American fighter planes blowing up Iraqi army munitions dumps before the rebels could get to them.

3/ Bush senior made a speech proclaiming that “the break up of Iraq” was not in anyone’s interest. It is clear that the USA did not want Saddam toppled at the time, they actively worked against the Iraqi people’s uprising.

4/ In 1996 the USA protected Saddam again, by foiling a coup against him, as this article shows.

Guardian link

5/ Today Bush is not talking about democracy in Iraq, all what he has said is : “Saddam must go.”

Something for you to chew on anyway. So, gnaw away.

The central problem with your theory is that you assume that US foreign policy is a coordinated effort that anticipates changes in the political and economic climate. It is not. US foreign policy in the face of a potential crisis is mostly haphazard and reactionary.

How did the US support this?

Iraq never received such assurances, rather it interpreted a rather muted reply from a US official as a sign that the US would probably not get involved. (Help finding a cite from any side of the issue would be appreciated.)

The assigned strength of Iraqi troops was believed to be 547,000. These divisions were actually understrength by 185,000, placing 362,000 troops in the Kuwait theater. (Note, that Republican Guard units that were engaged were actually in Iraq). While these numbers are lower than orginally estimated, I would not count them as “minimal”.

This info can be found buried in this long droning report:

In any case, I fail to see why fears that Saddam may gain access to nuclear weapons is an insufficient reason for a little saber rattling. I’d feel much better about the entire situation if we had better intelligence on whether this fear of Saddam having nuclear weapons is justified or not.

I do apologize, but I automatically ignore anything written by Ramsey Clark. Should he receive a big certificate from any therapist of renown that says “I am sane.” than perhaps I’ll give him another chance. Come to think of it, I could use one of those certificates.

"Also on March 3, Allied military commanders and Iraqi military commanders met at a captured Iraqi airbase, at Safwan, to arrange terms of a formal cease-fire. Not included in the demands was the deliverance of Saddam Hussein to stand trial at the world court. In bargaining with the Iraqis, General Schwarzkopf, assented to the Iraqis being allowed to fly their helicopters. The Iraqi generals told Schwartzkopf that they needed them to transport wounded soldiers and other tasks. Later, Schwartzkopf was to say that he had been “suckered.” "


Unlikely. The US can hit a supply dump from an altitude that eyewitnesses would not be able to see the aircraft. The Iraqis likely blew their own dumps that were in danger of being over-run.

This was more a fear that the Kurdish uprising would give way to a new power that was aligned with Iran and would cause trouble to our ally Turkey.

Sorry, broken link.

I think his advisors just prefer if he sticks to simple phrases. :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m a registered Republican! I can make fun of him if I want!

It’s not just sabre rattling. The US is committed to regime change.

Fixed Guardian link

I’d feel a hell of a lot better if I thought there were some more fundamental reason involved than the holdovers from Bush 1.0 feeling like it was a mistake not to have finished the job in 1991.

Iraq is a nasty situation, yes, but it’s contained and reasonably stable, and there are few nasty situations in the world about which that can be said.

The US is committed to a regime change in Cuba too.

It remains to be seen if the US is really intent on action or simply hoping Saddam will get nervous and play ball again with UN inspectors.

The Guardian article doesn’t make a lot of sense. I wonder if perhaps they trusted the Iraqi source’s version of events a little too much. Why would the Iraqi opposition stop just because the US said so? The US would accept any change once made if the new regime was friendlier. And the idea of keeping Saddam around just to keep prices low sounds a bit too much like petroleum company conspiracy theory. I thought the idea was to accuse the US for its involvement in the region because we wanted to keep our gas prices low. Everytime gas prices raise too much here, the voters make all of the elected officials damn nervous. Hearings are held and loud boisterous speeches are given about keeping our energy prices low. If the US wanted higher oil prices, we could have just let Iraq keep Kuwait and continue to threaten Saudi Arabia.

Did you ever think that the U.S. breaking up Iraq wouldn’t be so smart? The U.S. didn’t topple Saddam because:

  1. They didn’t know who would take his place, or what kind of person would take his place. Saddam is much more predictable than some rogue rebel that would seize power. Having someone predictable in power makes things much, much easier.

  2. If we had broken up Iraq, who would be left to maintain order? The U.N.? Some. Most of the occupying forces would be American and British. It wouldn’t be good to have a strung out military.

America is not the police of the world. The Gulf war was clearly a defensive measure. We were protecting our vital oil interests in the area.

When a bully comes around, just bloody his nose really good. Don’t obliterate him. All you need to do is get the point across that you want to be left alone. Some circumstances exist or have existed in the past. Perhaps it was a mistake not finishing Saddam off the first time. Even so, we’ll probably get another crack at him. Perhaps we won’t be so “friendly” the second-go-round.


I just saw Senator Fred Thompson on CNN. He said that they have Iraqi intelligence showing that Saddam has enough enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs right now. His search for more enriched uranium and design of a bomb is proceeding at a ‘frantic’ pace.

This is the scenario he envisioned - Saddam finished a bomb, while gathering material for a few more. He then ‘tests’ the bomb to let the world know without question that he has the bomb, and then ‘he’s got us’. With nuclear weapons and the willingness to use them, Saddam can run the middle east. He can threaten Israel, he can threaten entire U.S. carrier groups or large military bases. And he can divert a bomb to a terrorist group for use against the U.S. mainland.

Thompson described Iraq as a ‘grave’ threat to the United States, and said that it’s important that we act as soon as possible.

That’s about the way I’ve been seeing it, too. Saddam has to go ‘sooner or later’, but if we wait until he’s got the bomb, the job will be infinitely harder, and attacking Saddam will probably result in a nuclear explosion somewhere in the Middle East.

This is the problem with your whole theory, Sam. We have no real evidence for any of this apart from the say-so of a few war-mongering senators.

When the weapons inspectors left Iraq, they were as sure as they could be that Iraq was nowhere near nuclear capability. Saddam couldn’t even deliver chemical or biological weapons, never mind nuclear.

Right-wing politicians tend to overestimate the Iraqi threat.

In the extremely unlikely event that he managed to concoct some sort of “nuke”, it would be an amateurish thing. Cobbled-together with sticky tape. It would be as likely to blow up on the launch pad as reach it’s target. Even if it reached it’s target, the nuclear section of it probably wouldn’t work.

It takes an atomic explosion just to detonate a hydrogen bomb.

So we’re left with this scenario:

  • it’s extremely unlikely he’s anywhere near building a nuke

  • even if he built one, it’s extremely unlikely it would work

  • even if it worked, it’s extremely unlikely he would use it since he would be annihilated the following morning

Over-reacting much?


I too am suspicious of conspiracy theories but when it comes to oil companies I think we start to move out of the realm of imaginary “bad guys” and into the realm of huge multi-national companies who really do exert huge degrees of power over the decision makers in government.

Particularly, those government decision-makers who hail from Texas.

Jojo: Where are you getting this from? Do you have any idea how sophisticated Saddam’s research is?

For what it’s worth, Saddam’s chief nuclear scientist defected some years ago, and HE says that Saddam will have the bomb soon. In fact, he says that Saddam was only about six months away from having nukes before he invaded Kuwait. He made a horrible mistake invading when he did, because the U.S. wiped out much of his bomb-making capability. But he has been rebuilding it as fast as he can.

I also saw an interview with the head inspector of Iraq’s WMD programs, and HE says that Saddam will likely have a nuke within 2 or 3 years.

And who said anything about a hydrogen bomb? Saddam isn’t building a hydrogen bomb. He doesn’t have that capability. The best guess is that he’ll come up with a few low-yield fission bombs, probably in the 20-50kt range. That’s plenty big enough. Ask the residents of Hiroshima.

And no, he’s not going to unilaterally launch a nuke at someone for no reason. That would be suicide. What he WILL do is detonate one in the desert somewhere as a ‘test’. Then once we all know for SURE that he has the bomb, he’ll start dictating terms to us, to Israel, and to other Arab countries.

And of course, once he has the bomb it will be very difficult to attack him if we need to, because once Saddam believes that he IS going to be deposed, he WILL launch a weapon at Israel or the U.S. carrier fleet in the area, or at a major U.S. military base.

That’s the real threat. Not that one day Tel Aviv will vanish, but that the mere existence of the bomb in Saddam’s hands will greatly complicate the U.S.'s war plans. How can the U.S. build up a concentration of soldiers in the Middle East while knowing Saddam could wipe them all out? How can the U.S. project power with a carrier group, knowing it’s vulnerable to a nuke?