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The Conflict Did Not Start on August 2, 1990 

By Hassan El-Najjar

Al-Jazeerah, August 2, 2005


On August 2, 1990,  Iraq invaded Kuwait. The Western capitalist powers, led by the US, assembled their armed forces and invaded the Middle East, using the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as an excuse. When they evicted Iraqi forces from Kuwait the following year, they did not withdraw their forces (as friendly liberators would be expected to do), despite the fact that they destroyed the Iraqi economy, military power, and infrastructure. They have stayed in an actual military occupation of the Arabian Peninsula ever since, which triggered resistance to evict them, more known in the Western corporate media as terrorist attacks. These included attacks on Khober, US embassies in Uganda and Tanzania, first attack on the World Trade Center, and finally the September 11, 2001 attacks. 

Instead of admitting that this resistance was due to the US-UK military occupation of Arabia, the ruling elite and their propagandists, the so-called neo-cons, started attacking Islam, Muslims, and even the secular Iraqi regime as responsible for the resistance. And instead of withdrawing US-UK forces from Arabia, the Western invasion of the Middle East extended to Iraq in 2003, which has triggered more fierce resistance than ever before.

It has been a wrong policy, based on wrong argument, and has led to wrong results. If there is still any sanity among the Empire rulers as well as rulers of the US-UK nation states, they should withdraw from Iraq, Arabia, and Afghanistan as soon as possible. US military basis all over the world should be closed and US forces should come home to protect the US as a nation state, not as an Empire. Failure to do that will lead to the continuous drain on financial, military, economic, and intellectual resources of the US. China, India, and Europe will be the winners and the US will be the loser at the end of the conflict.

Arabs and Muslims should be treated as trade partners and friends, not as slaves under occupation, if there is a desire to end this conflict. The first step is ending the US-UK-NATO occupation of the Middle East.

But why did the Iraqi President Saddam Hussain decide to invade Kuwait on August 2, 1990, which triggered the sequence of events mentioned above? My entire book The Gulf War was an attempt to answer this question, which means that it is impossible to give a comprehensive answer to it in an article like this one. 

What is clear is that the history of the current conflict did not start on September 11, 2001 or on August 2, 1990. The conflict started when the capitalist European powers decided to invade Asia and Africa, including Arab and Muslim lands. The conflict was given a corner stone when European Zionists held their first conference in 1897 and decided to colonize Palestine and evict its people. It started when Britain, France, Italy, and Spain invaded and occupied the Arab homeland in north Africa and Arabia, starting from the 19th century. The conflict was intensified when Israel was established on the ruins of Palestine in 1948, denying the Palestinian people their right to live in their homeland, in which their ancestors had lived from time immemorial. In all of this, Arabs were not aggressors. They did  not invade Europe or persecute Jews there. To the contrary, they were the invaded victims who were on the receiving end of continuous hits by the European occupying powers. 

With regard to the direct causes of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, several factors can be mentioned. First, there was a special relationship between Iraq and Kuwait that goes back to the fact that Kuwait was officially part of Iraq until the break out of World War I. There were several attempts by successive Iraqi government to restore Kuwait before 1990. These were in 1901, 1902, 1937-39, and 1961. All of them were stopped by Britain, the imperialist "protector" of the oil-wealthy chiefdom. Second, the Kuwaiti government was accused by the Iraqi government of working against Iraqi interests. It contributed to lowering oil prices, stole oil from the border Rumaila oilfield, refused to accommodate Iraqi demands for larger access to the Arabian Gulf, and demanded Iraq to pay back the Iran-Iraq war debt while Iraq was defending Kuwait. Third, the position of the US towards the Iraqi-Kuwaiti dispute encouraged Iraq to invade Kuwait. The US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, demonstrated during a Congressional hearing that she conveyed to the Iraqi President that the US has no position on inter-Arab disputes. She conveyed that position to him according to instructions she received from President Bush, Sr., and his Secretary of State, James Baker, III. The US position in effect was a green light for the Iraqi government to invade Kuwait.

This is what is missing from the daily feed by the Western corporate media and the Empire politicians, which has resulted in disinforming people in order to maintain their support for the Western imperialist policies towards the Arab and Muslim worlds. 

It's time for the Western power elites to allow the truth to be told to the people. Maybe then, the people can help them to get out of their imperialist quagmire. 

There is no conflict of civilizations or of religions. There is a wrong policy, and there is a wrong ideology that you can maintain a state of permanent war against the world, while maintaining your humanity and prosperity.

Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 Apartheid Wall

The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.