[FoRK] Powell says Iraq may have no WMDs

Ian Andrew Bell fork at ianbell.com
Tue Jan 27 23:13:20 PST 2004

On 27-Jan-04, at 9:22 PM, Gordon Mohr wrote:
> It is clear your "vivid recollection" has been warped, because you
> originally misrepresented the exchange as "Tariq Aziz" having "asked...
> permission to invade." Even reading the *Iraqi* transcript doesn't
> provide ANY support for that point of view.

A quote from the transcript:

"HUSSEIN: Brother President Mubarak told me they were scared. They said 
troops were only 20 kilometers north of the Arab League line. I said to 
him that regardless of what is there, whether they are police, border 
guards or army, and regardless of how many are there, and what they are 
doing, assure the Kuwaitis and give them our word that we are not going 
to do anything until we meet with them. When we meet and when we see 
that there is hope, then nothing will happen. But if we are unable to 
find a solution, then it will be natural that Iraq will not accept 
death, even though wisdom is above everything else. There you have good 

He is referring to about 100,000 troops massed, with their armor, 20km 
north of Kuwait City.  The US had seen this buildup via satellite and 
it was being actively reported in the media.  Hussein and Aziz were 
particularly open about their claims in the media throughout June and 
July.  I'm not sure how much plainer Saddam Hussein needed to be about 
his intentions with the Kuwaitis:  Negotiate with us, or we will annex 
you to save ourselves.  It was not even specific demands he was 
threatening against -- he was just trying to get the Kuwaitis to the 

Yet in the transcripts April Glaspie said nothing to deter Iraq, in 
fact expressing general support.  A week before Iraq's invasion of 
Kuwait, James Baker's spokesperson, Margaret Tutwiler and Assistant 
Secretary of State John Kelly both stated publicly that "the United 
States was not obligated to come to Kuwait's aid if it were attacked."  
My how things were different 9 days later.

Apparently the Kuwaitis were too busy fox hunting in Buckinghamshire to 
care.  Their one meeting, on the 31 of July ended completely 
fruitlessly.  While Mubarak and Saudi Arabia struggled to get them to 
the table to talk with Iraq, the Kuwaitis maintained a consistent 
position:  we will not negotiate.

I won't bother to justify the root of Iraq's specific quarrel with 
Kuwait.  We say that Germany was predisposed to start the first world 
war as a landlocked nation, we say that the reparations and economic 
sanctions then led to the grassroots support allowing a dictator to 
seize the nation and lead Germany again to the battlefield, and we say 
that Japan invoked a war with the US because it was being starved of 
resources.  Each of these is common wisdom and each is applicable to 
Iraq in 1990.  This excerpt does a better job than I could:


I will say this:  Kuwait and OPEC were already waging economic war on 
Iraq, dropping the price of oil to an unprofitable $12 per barrel, and 
preventing Iraq from using oil revenues to rebuild after the end of its 
war with Iran.

If war is the failure of diplomacy then I think you'd be hard-pressed 
to find a better example of this sort of breakdown.


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