THIS MODERN-DAY WAR OVER IRAQ, OIL, ISRAEL
AND CONTROL OF ARABDOM GOES BACK TO 1913
"Until the first World War Iraq and Kuwait had both been
part of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, Kuwait, with its tiny land
surface of just over 10,000 square miles, had been part of
the Iraqi vilayat (administrative district) of Basra. In 1913,
while the rumblings of war were growing louder in Europe,
the British and the Turks had signed an agreement making
Kuwait an autonomous district."
MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - April 13, 2003: Americans have very short attention spans and even shorter historical memories. Trying to explain to them that the brutal subjugation of the Palestinians, the intrigues and coups of the CIA, the betrayal of the Kurds, the duplicitous 'peace process', and constant chicanery of American (and of course British) diplomats...that all of these historical antecedents have led to today's situation is a daunting task. Trying to explain that 9/11 wasn't an out-of-nowhere attack on the United States but rather a kind of historical blowback, some would say payback, for events of the past few decades which can be enumerated and explained -- and with millions already dead in a very convoluted ongoing war -- is quite an undertaking.
In the specific case of Iraq, the story of today's war really goes back at least to 1913 -- to LONDON, to Churchill (yes the same!), and to what the British Empire was doing at that time in the region. Then the story goes to the PARIS Peace Conference which came at the end of World War I -- now aptly nicknamed the "Peace to End all Peace". And then, in more recent times, the story shifts primarily to WASHINGTON -- and the 'strategic
To understand the historical backdrop which has lead to today's historical moment there are two excellent books I highly recommend:
PEACE TO END ALL PEACE - The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern
David Fromkin (Owl Books - October 2001)
DOSSIER - The
Hidden Agenda Behind the Gulf War
Pierre Salinger and Eric Laurent (Penguin Books 1991)
MER ARCHIVE Articles - http://www.MiddleEast.Org/archives/iraq.htm
relationship' established between the U.S. and Israel which was formalized and greatly expanded beginning in the Reagan years.
The following passage is from the second much shorter and much more journalistic book -- an insightful account of the events that took place in 1990 that lead to the sending of large number of American troops to Saudia Arabia and the Gulf...and which then led to 9/11. The first book -- far more detailed and historical, indeed a classic of tremendous scope and importance -- really makes the period of history summarized in this short passage below come vibrantly alive.
In a personal discussion I had with the author of this book, a former White House Press Secretary, Salinger told me in 1995 that he considered what happened at the time of the Gulf War a "plot" largely perpetrated on Iraq by the United States. His book, by the way, was a best-seller in Europe -- more than a million copies -- but it was essentially black-balled in the U.S. where it quickly went into obscurity after a small initial print run of 25,000.
THE ORIGINS OF IRAQ, KUWAIT, AND TODAY'S CONFLICT
"Until the first World War Iraq and Kuwait had both been part of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, Kuwait, with its tiny land surface of just over 10,000 square miles, had been part of the Iraqi vilayat (administrative district) of Basra. In 1913, while the rumblings of war were growing louder in Europe, the British and the Turks had signed an agreement making Kuwait an autonomous district. In the middle of the war, with the Turks fighting on the side of the Germans, London recognized the Emirate and its borders as totally independent of the Ottoman Empire.
This partition, which gave the British an important strategic ally, was never accepted by the Iraqis, who felt frustrated at being denied access to the Gulf and at losing an area of land that, as far as they were concerned, had never had an independent existence.
Iraq, which became a British mandate in 1918, had another cause for resentment. In 1925 the government in Baghdad was forced to sign an agreement with a giant oil consortium, the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC). The agreement stipulated, in particular, that the company should remain in British hands, that its managing director should be a British subject, and that the concession should remain in force until the year 2000. The IPC had carte blanche to exploit the most fantastic petroleum deposits in the history of the oil industry as it saw fit and to make colossal profits.
In point of fact, in a region where the borders were very imprecise Iraq was just as much of an artificial creation as Kuwait. Following the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, which [secretly] divided the spoils of the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France, Iraq had been formed out of three former Turkish provinces: Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. This state of affairs has been summed up brilliantly in one sentence: "Iraq was created by Churchill, who had the mad idea of joining two widely separated oil wells, Kirkuk and Mosul, by uniting three widely separated peoples: The Kurds, the Sunnis and the Shi'ites."
Perhaps because of this difficult and uncertain birth, modern Iraq has had a consistently violent history. In 1958 the pro-Western monarchy was overthrown, King Faisal was murdered, and his Prime Minister, Noury Said, was stoned to death by a mob. Two years later the new leader, General Kassem, narrowly escaped an assassination attempt. Among the would-be-assassins was a twenty-two-year-old named Saddam Hussein who, although wounded, managed to escape to Syria.
In 1963 Kassem's head was paraded through the streets on a pike
by an angry mob. In 1968 the Ba'ath Party came to power..." (pp 12-14)
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