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The United States of America direct war on Iraq that was aimed at fighting terrorism started in the year 2002. This was the year after the 2001 September attacks on America by the Al-Qaeda. The tension and differences between the two countries however, can be traced to a longer time in the past. These two nations have confronted each other in other wars before, and mostly in the gulf region. Saddam Hussein, the Iraq leader was a powerful and dictatorial leader who throughout his time was possessed with a desire to acquire more power and influence, he went to wars with neighboring countries so often and whenever resolutions were made to end the war, he quickly turned back and violated the very resolutions. Saddam was increasingly becoming a threat to world peace and the United States of America was becoming increasingly annoyed by his acts of forcing countries in to war, not honoring treaties and resolutions and his presumed cooperation with terror groups. The United States felt that he was a tyranny and someone needed to end his rule to bring peace to the people of Iraq, to the neighboring countries and the world at large. They felt that Saddam Hussein was making weapons of mass destruction and needed to be stopped. The essay is a discourse analysis of both the historical background of the war, and the events that ignited the war.
The strained relationship between the two countries was fueled by border disputes; after which the two countries signed an agreement that defined their borders and territory in the year 1975. The agreement was brokered in Algiers and is referred to as the Algiers treaty. On November 3, 1779 the Iraqi administration resolved not to honor the treaty it had signed. This was made known when the Iraq ambassador in Buret warned that the strained relationship between the two countries would only be solved by reviewing the 1975 treaty in regard to shut al-Arab and giving independence to Kurd, Baluchi and Arabic minorities in Iran and the withdrawal of Iranian army from Abu Musa islands and Tonb. Saddam Hussein made his resolution not to maintain peace in the region when in April 1980, he addressed a gathering in northern Iraq and harshly attacked Iranian leadership, and he warned that Iraq was ready for war with Iran to settle its disputes as well as reaffirming Beirut’s calls. Iran had observed the terms of the treaty and Iraq seemed not to want to maintain peace. According to Article four of the treaty, the terms of the treaty were inviolable, permanent and unalterable. The Iraqis now wanted it altered and finally wanted it dismissed. Iraq is seen as an enemy to peace on 22 September 1980, Iraq made attacks both aerial and on the ground on Iran.
Saddam Hussein’s attack was considered a miscalculation as he hoped to take advantage of the chaotic revolutions in Iran which took place at that time.The war resumed in 1984 and went on for further six years (Karsh, 2002). During this period, the two nations tried means and ways of claiming victory. Iraq sensing defeat tried to do everything to make sure they did not lose. Saddam Hussein tried to convince his Iranian counterpart to come to a negotiating table. He tried to prevail upon the United States and United Nations to come and help end the war. In 1980s, Soviet Union resupplied weapons to Saddam Hussein. They supplied war tanks and helicopters, which Iraq used to redeem itself. Iran who received some arms from the United States was becoming powerful and captured two oil rich fields which had been under control of Iraq. In return, Iraq tried to weaken Iran economically so as to stop the war by increasing troops and building killer zones.(Kaplan ,2003)Iraq wanted to force Iran out by any mean. In 1988, the superpowers recorded their interests on ending the war urging that its effects were becoming unbearable to the region as well as the world. The Soviet Union state secretary and the United States of America counterpart separately made trips to these states to seek ways of ending the war. The United States involvement was viewed with suspicion and critics as it had previously provided arms to Iran.
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By the time the war came to an end, it is worth noting that Iraq started to make better and sophisticated weapons. The most notable are the G-series and H-series nerve agents. These major discoveries changed the fortunes of Iraq (Willett, 2004). The Iraqis had gotten some help through weapons supply from the Soviet Union while the United States facilitated Iran. The war finally came to end on the 20th August 1988 when the United Nations security council through united Nations Council Resolutions 598 brokered a deal to end the war. The two countries agreed to stop the war and exchange prisoners while their soldiers agreed to return to their countries. The use of Iraqi Kurds received some condemnation from the United Nations Security council, they issued a statement to acknowledge and condemn the use of chemical weapons during the war. It, however, did not specify who used them but there were clear referring to Iraq as its user. This war did not resolve the perceived causes as border issues remained unresolved. Saddam by this time was concerned with improving Iraq’s army and weapons. These were perhaps the start of strained relationship between Iraq and the United States of America (Genest, 2004).
The First Persian Gulf War
By 1990, Kuwait who had supported Iraq in the war with Iran had fallen out with Saddam Hussein, accusing him of being ungrateful. The strained relationship and Saddam Hussein’s determination to assert his authority over the Middle East countries caused the war. In August1990, the second Gulf War begun. This is the war commonly known as the Persian Gulf War. On that day, Iraq attacked and seized Kuwait. Though the American government had no direct involvement in the first war, they would not sit and watch this time. Within some few days after Iraqis attacks on Kuwait, they joined the United Nations Security Council in demand from Iraq for withdrawal of its troops from Kuwait. Iraq did not agree and within that week the United Nations and the United States of America sent troops to Saudi Arabia and the nations within the gulf region. The United States government officials had sort audience with Iraq in its attempts to use diplomacy to end the war (Genest, 2004). These attempts failed to yield fruits and on 16 January 1991, the United Nations, the United States of America and other allies’ forces started bombing Iraq as well as the army in Kuwait (Ritchie, 2007).
The attacks inside Iraq meant to destroy Iraqis infrastructure and hurt civilians. This according to United States and its allies would switch the focus of Iraq from the war with Iran. It would also create a dilemma within Iraqis army on whether to attack Kuwait or defend its territories. Saddam then decided to order launching of SCUD missiles on Israel and Saudi Arabia. Saddam Hussein attempt to launch missiles at Israel was done to provoke retereatory attacks. His thought that if Israel reiterated, the Arab nations will split from the anti-Iraq forces coalition and support him (Genest, 2004). This is because of the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the Arab nations. This did not work as Saddam Hussein had planned as the United States of America government under the leadership of President George Bush promised to protect Israel and its cities from the SCUDs. The United States of America forces deployed the United States missile batteries in Israel to counter the SCUDS (Genest, 2004).
On 23 February when the United States of America and the United Nation forces launched ground attacks on Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s forces in Kuwait were already defeated. Few soldiers were willing to continue fighting with the allied forces. About three days later, the United States and its allies had taken control over Kuwait. On 27 February, the United States president ceased the war and allowed the surviving Iraq soldiers to return back to their country. On third march, Saddam Hussein and Iraq accepted the terms set by the United States and the allies. These conditions were “no fly zones” over Iraq and its territories as well as an inspection of the country’s weapons by the United Nations inspection team. This caused trade and economic sanctions against Iraq. The defeat of Saddam Hussein was also a setback to his push for control over the gulf region. The no fly zones over Iraq aimed at stopping further attacks of anti-Saddam Hussein civilians in Iraq (Genest, 2004).
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It is after this war that the already straining relationship between America and Iraq continued to worsen. Saddam Hussein and his government had agreed to cooperate with the United Nations concerning its inspection of the weapons of mass destruction. He however was not willing to honor the agreement and is seen to have signed it to bring an end to a war he was losing. The United Nations special commission had realized that the Iraq government was ordering the weapons of mass destruction be hidden from the inspectors. The commission was alarmed that Iraq could be hiding them and still continuing with the production. The main reason straining relationship between Iraq and the United Nations over this period was the extent and continued inspections of weapons by the United Nations. The United Nations claimed that Iraq was not cooperating with the United Nations inspection team and was still making weapons of mass destruction. The United States and United Nations claimed that Iraq was just using delay tactics and was not ready for giving the United Nations time and space it needed to carry out the inspection. Saddam Hussein continued to plea for the United States and United Nations to leave Iraq as there was no weapons of mass destruction. In the year 1996, Saddam Hussein claimed that United States and United Nations inspection team were interfering with the country’s independence and using the claims that it was hiding the weapons of mass destruction and continuing to produce more as a justification for continuation of inspection and maintained sanctions on Iraq by the United Nations. In the year 1997, Saddam Hussein decided not to cooperate again with the inspectors. His refusal came at a time when there were mounting international pressures to end the sanctions on Iraq, as well the United States oil for food program had started. The war of words continued and at times, the United States dared to bomb Iraq if they continued to resist (Genest, 2004).
In December 1998, Saddam Hussein’s government forced the United Nations inspection team (UNSCOM) out of the country. Saddam Hussein urge to maintain power and influence was evident throughout this period. He did not want to be seen as the looser and even when he was believed to be destroying weapons of mass destruction and denying his involvement in their production to the United Nations agencies, he was bragging about them to international supporters and his close political supporters.
Operation Desert Fox
The United States government and its allies were getting frustrated on trying to use diplomacy in resolving the issue. Iraq on the other hard had continued with the tread of not honoring treaties and resolutions. It had failed to comply with the United Nations Security Council resolutions by interfering with the United Nations special commission (UNSCOM). In November 1998, President Clinton of the United States of America warned Iraq that force would be used if it continued to resist the inspection of weapons by the UNSCOM and December 16, 1998, the United States government and its allies launched attacks on Iraq. The attacks took for days and were focused on Iraqis military bases with an aim of destroying Iraqis weapons of mass destruction (Milroy, 2001)
On 29 December of the same year, the United States and Britain forces responded to Iraqis attacks by destroying its Iraqi air defense battery. Two days later, on 30 December, Iraq injects all United Nations inspectors which was against the United Nations security council resolutions with Iraq. By this time, intelligence reports from major powers in the world like chins, United States, and Britain believed that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction and will be able to use them within seven years (Bush, 2010)
In the year 1999, United States of America and its allies prevailed upon the United Nations Security Council to establish a new United Nations weapons inspection team. This was to replace the one that was forced out of Iraq. This stormed another controversy with Iraq insisting on its liberal rights. All indications were that a war was on the line (Anderson, 2011).
Saddam Hussein was adamant that the United States of America was behind Iraqis sufferings and he believed that besides the war on terror, the united government had other motives. Saddam Hussein tried to mend ties with Islamic states like Syria to prevent formation of a coalition among them as it had happened during earlier wars with the United States and the United Nation and their allies from the western countries. He came up with a theory that the United States wanted to use the crisis to siphon oil. The United States President described Iraq and North Korea as “the axis of evil” in one of his speeches on the Iraq (Mylroie, 2001).
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On 22 September 2001, there were co-ordinate attacks on America claimed three thousand lives and properties were destroyed. The events of that day are now referred to as the 9/11. It was one of the biggest attacks on the United States inside its territories. Four hijacked planes crashed the World Trade Centre in the New York City. Though no one claimed responsibility immediately, the attacks were linked to al-Qaida under the leadership of Osama bin Laden who latter claimed responsibility and cited the continued presence of troops in Saudi Arabia, the support of United States government to Israel and the sanction given to Iraq as the cause for his attack (Ritchie, 2007) The United States and its allies declared war on terror. To prevent future attacks on America, its government vowed to make the world safe. America became like a wounded lion and wanted to hit back to its attackers and enemies. The assertion by Osama bin laden that the involvement of America in the war on Iraq was a major reason for its attacks on America pointed at an alliance between Iraq and al-Qaida. On 18 march 2003 The United States government through President George bush declared that its diplomatic approach to the disarming of Iraq had failed and the congress had overwhelmingly voted for use of military to disarm Iraq. Throughout the speech, Bush stressed on the following reasons as to why it had finally decided to go to war with Iraq.
ü Iraq was a threat as it posses weapons of mass destruction
ü Iraq had continued to violate the United Nations resolutions for 12 years since 1991-2003
ü Saddam Hussein was a dictator and the Iraq people were not enjoying their democratic space
ü Saddam Hussein and the Iraq government were oppressing its people
ü The government of Iraq under Saddam Hussein had used torture on his people
ü Iraq was destabilizing the middle east regions by continued wars with its neighbors
He also acknowledged that the United Nations could not be used as some countries had made known that they will not vote for use of force in Iraq.
When the United Nations Security Council sat to decide on whether to use force in disarming Iraq, two countries with veto powers refused to endorse the action. Governments condemned the plans across the world. In the Middle East, only Israel felt that such a move was necessary. This, however, would not deter the United States and Britain. President of the United States George Bush gave Iraq 48hrs ultimatum to disarm. Iraq failed to comply and its then that United States of America together with Britain claimed they had enough allies to disarm Iraq. The United States and its allies finally struck Iraq on 18th march 2002. They first targeted Saddam Hussein and top government officials by bombing Baghdad. They claimed that Saddam Hussein was dead but latter he was seen on Iraqis television. The Arab nations were against these attacks and demonstrations near United States embassies in different countries were organized (Pitt, 2002).
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The United States and Britain were gaining control over Iraq and by 9 April, they were in control of Baghdad. The United States and Britain had some sympathizers in Iraq who felt that Saddam was to blame for the war. When Saddam Hussein was defeated, a theory of conspiracy advanced to explain the defeat by claiming that United States used nuclear weapons to eradicate the Iraq soldiers in Baghdad. There were claims also that a senior commander of the Iraqi army had corroborated with the United States army. Claims that United States allowed large amounts of explosives and nuclear weapons to disappear also surfaced. The site where those explosives and nuclear weapons were kept was left without proper security. After the war, the United States continued to stay in Iraq. Even those who had initially supported the United States were growing restless over the United States long-term stay in Iraq. People would chant “no to Bush. No to Saddam” (Pitt, 2002). By the 23rd of April, there was relative calm in Iraq that Muslims were able observe their traditional pilgrim mage at Karbala shrine. The pilgrims who had stayed without the ceremony for many years celebrated their freedom and cursed Saddam for their woes. They, however, did not appreciate the United States of America efforts in making them free (Genest, 2004).
By this time, those initially opposed to the war started to criticize the United States of America and Britain for waging war on Iraq. France and Germany for instance did not support the approach by Bush and the United States government. On Iraq while they had supported the war on Afghanistan. Other countries as noted by the United States president George Bush had opposed the war on Iraq from the beginning even promising to veto it (Gordon, 2004). Complained that no evidence of mass destruction weapons was found. This development nullified the United States reason for waging war on Iraq. The United States continued to look for the alleged weapons. They only found clues and suggestive equipments. Several reports determined that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The United States of America only found aluminum tubes and materials bought from Ukraine for making an atomic bomb (Genest, 2004).
These findings showed that the United States governments could have not been so rational in its decision to attack Iraq based on their claim on weapons of mass destruction. This made critics of war conclude that Americans either had relied on false information or had other reasons rather than fighting terror. Most Arabic countries like Syria became hostile towards the United States and its allies. Though the Americans had failed to support their claims, they found secondary reasons for the attacks on Iraq. They had found mass graves of people believed to have been victims of Saddam Hussein’s brutal and corrupt regimes (Willett, 2004).
The United States would not leave Iraq until there was a new government. People were getting tired of the United States continued stay in Iraq. Iraqis wanted to enjoy their independence once again. They had suffered enough and felt that time to rebuild their country had come. The internal differences in Iraq were making it hard to form an interim government. By June 2003, the United States announced it was getting frustrated and was giving up on Iraqis ability to form an interim government. In August 23, there emerged evidence that the United States of America and Britain had distorted intelligence reports to have grounds for attacking Iraq (Willett, 2004).
Resistance to formation of governments was also caused by the fact that Iraqis felt that Saddam Hussein was still their leader and, hence, did not need another government. The capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 did not change the situation much. When Americans failed to prevail upon Iraqis to form interim governments, it handed over to the United Nations. The United Nations appointed Lakhdar Brahmin on 1 Jan 2004 to mediate. He prevailed by helping them come up with an interim constitution that was agreeable to both Saddam Hussein’s sympathizers and those were against his rule. Criticism was growing against Americas continued stay in Iraq both within America and in other nations outside the United States of America. There were sustained attacks on the United States troops. These attacks attributed to pro-Saddam Hussein’s elements and soldier (Ritchie, 2007). In December 2011, United Nations president Barrack Obama, called for end to Iraq war and recalled all American troops to the United States. Iraq was a free country once again. They were left to rebuild their country, which was now in ruins after years of war. The United States residents were part of the world that celebrated end to the war. The war had claimed many United States soldiers and everyone looked forward for the end to war. Americans were also concerned with the continued use of resources on the war. They were concerned that Iraqis were also hostile towards their troops and wanted an end to the war (Genest, 2004).
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Critics view on the war
After the war, it became clear that United States of America’s principle reason for war was indeed not true. Ropper and Baylis in their book titled “The United States and Europe: beyond the neo-conservative divide” knots that indeed efforts by the inspection teams to find weapon of mass destruction had failed and only biological weapons and missiles whose range were against the united nations requirements were found (Baylis and Ropper, 2006). Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. They only found equipments linked to formation of nuclear bomb. These are the facts which caused so many nations to appeal for cease-fire and removal of the United States troops In Iraq (Genest, 2004).
The said links between Saddam Hussein and Osama or al-Qaida could not be verified. The war on terror can in better words be explained as a war on terror for the Iraqis. Rather than make the lives of Iraqis better, the critics argue that the United States simply made the lives of Iraqis unbearable (Genest, 2004). They argued that United States completely destroyed a country on pretext of war against terrorism. Millions of people suffered the consequences of war forever, many lost their lives and others lost their livelihood.
The critics of this war were convinced that the United States government abused international relations laws by directly attacking Iraq. They argued that the effects of the war would have been avoided and accuse the United States of America of committing the same offences they were accusing Saddam Hussein of. They felt that civilians suffered the brutality melted on their country. They put the intelligence agencies of the United States on the sport for not having established the claims on weapons of mass destruction.
United States view
The United States and United Nations felt that they had achieved their goal. The United States of America felt that it had succeeded in bring democracy to the people of Iraq, on 21 October 2011, the United States president Barrack Obama when declaring the end to war on Iraq gave said that Iraq was now a democratic country and all that was left was for the Iraqis to engage in rebuilding their nation. He stressed that the United States was committed to working with Iraq as sovereign states and partners. (Mcneal, 2010)
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They felt that Iraq had plans to make weapons of mass destruction and had links with the al-Qaida. They felt that the world was now safer and they had given the people of Iraq freedom at last. The American government claimed victory when Saddam Hussein was captured and dethroned. The United States felt that the war on terror had gained ground. They were also celebrating a milestone of ensuring that the gulf region would become peaceful as Saddam had more than one time provoked war with his neighbors.
Not everyone in the United States of America was of that opinion. The war on Iraq had received mixed reactions in the United States and while some were supporting the war it is worth noting that Even in America there were people opposed to the war. There was a backrush against the government as the people of America felt that the continued stay of the America troops in the Middle East was not just straining United States of America economically, but also made their young men die for no good reason. They rationale behind America's attack was questioned as was the reasons behind it (Willett, 2004).
Response on the paper
The United States of America is one of the major world nations that have been in the forefront to promote liberalism in the entire globe. Liberalism is a notion that emerged in the world a few centuries ago. Its ideas are that every individual should have rights equal to his neighbor and all the other people that relate to him. The declaration of the United States war on terrorists, especially on Iraq terrorists is a clear effort in the reinforcement of liberalism in the nation and the world. Iraq and some countries world at large have had oppressive leaders. These leaders curtail the right of citizens, leading to death and suffering among citizens. The efforts of the United States in collaboration with other countries such as Britain have ensured that there is liberalism in the globe. These efforts have been praised by many and on the other hand, they have been criticized by citizens and world leaders that are of the view that these actions are a forceful invasion in the internal affairs of these countries. However, it would be of great significance to note that these efforts have good intentions and since they aim at promoting equal rights among all people, preventing terrorism in the world and ensuring that oppressive leaders are charged for their cruel acts.
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The United States war on terror in the Iraq is one that was fought for years; one that claimed so many lives and a war that gave freedom to the people of Iraq. The Middle East region peace that was always stirred by the Iraq government has remained peaceful ever since Saddam was removed from power. Saddam Hussein made the country suffer a lot, as a result of his will and determination to rise was the major cause of war. He is one person that gives credit to the proverb “pride comes before a fall”. He made the world believe he had manufactured weapons of mass destruction while he had not, he refused to honor treaties and resolutions which was the cause for his removal. He succeeded more in making the lives of Iraqis unbearable and today without him, Iraq, the Middle East and the world enjoys much more peace.
It is my view that sociological causes gave rise to this war. The economic, political and social factors affecting both Iraq and United States gave rise to this war. Historical reasons like manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction and the wars of Iraq were used as a mare excuse for this war. Like all cases of sociological causes of war, these were the reasons put behind, but in reality, America was determined to stem out Saddam and were looking for a reason to do that. They wanted to find ground upon which to attack Iraq. Indeed Americans themselves failed to get any of such weapons in Iraq. It is the rise of Saddam’s regime and his determination to cling to power that formed the basis of attacks. I feel that economic stability in Iraq was the reason for Saddam’s ability to sustain wars throughout the years, which eventually lead to his dethroning. I also believe that, the United States, therefore, used the wrong reasons and means to get good results. Saddam Hussein in himself was a threat to the world. He used his power and arms to go for war with his neighboring countries and eliminated those against his regime. One will wonder what he would have done if he possessed the dreaded weapons of mass destruction. Peace has prevailed in the Middle East since the war and the world a much safer place. However, it is realistic to conclude that even though the United States might have used crude and unjust means to bring Saddam Hussein under the law, these efforts did bear fruits. The success of the efforts of the United States can be witnessed in modern day Iraq; which has pulled its efforts to better its already deteriorated conditions.