Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision. Range of possible options can include changes or additions to one or more of the following:

  •  Use military force
  •  Use economic sanctions to discourage undesirable behavior
  •  Officially criticize actions
  •  Ignore the actions
  •  Support with military aid
  •  Support with economic and humanitarian aid
  •  Other response (explain)

1982, Iraq is now in the second year of war against Iran, its neighboring country. An Islamic revolution recently overthrew the Shah, the King of Iran, who was supported by the U.S. State Department and C.I.A. U.S. officials are concerned that if Iran begins to dominate the region, "anti-American extremist" Shiite-Muslim factions could spread to pro-U.S. oil-rich countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some U.S. officials are considering taking Iraq off the list of sponsors of terrorism, while many in Congress object. The U.S. might begin to sell weapons to Iraq in order to prevent Iranian power and influence in this region. What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision. Range of possible options can include changes or additions to one or more of the following:

  •  Use military force
  •  Use economic sanctions to discourage undesirable behavior
  •  Officially criticize actions
  •  Ignore the actions
  •  Support with military aid
  •  Support with economic and humanitarian aid
  •  Other response (explain)

1983, Donald Rumsfeld, President Reagan's special envoy (and who will later become Pres. G.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense), meets with Saddam Hussein. Rumsfeld knows that Saddam has been working on nuclear weapons. In 1984 Rumsfeld meets again with Saddam right after reports that the Iraqi military is using chemical gas almost everyday against Iranian soldiers. Iraq had been losing the war against Iran up until then. (The use of chemical weapons was outlawed by the 1925 Geneva Protocol as weapons of mass destruction.) Some members of the U.S. government want to allow Iraq to buy equipment including computers, dual-use chemicals, anthrax bacteria, and helicopters. They also consider giving satellite information to Iraq to aid them in their fight against Iran. How will the U.S. government respond to reports of chemical weapons?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision. Range of possible options can include changes or additions to one or more of the following:

  •  Use military force
  •  Use economic sanctions to discourage undesirable behavior
  •  Officially criticize actions
  •  Ignore the actions
  •  Support with military aid
  •  Support with economic and humanitarian aid
  •  Other response (explain)

1988, Saddam orders his military to drop bombs with poisonous mustard gas, sarin, vx gas and tabun against the Kurds (an ethnic minority group) in northern Iraq. Saddam's cousin in the government known as "Ali Chemical" says, "Who is going to say anything? The international community?" Many officials in Congress, the State Dept. and White House are concerned about Saddam's use of banned weapons. The U.S. Senate considers a resolution that proposes sanctions against Iraq. What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision. Range of possible options can include changes or additions to one or more of the following:

  •  Use military force
  •  Use economic sanctions to discourage undesirable behavior
  •  Officially criticize actions
  •  Ignore the actions
  •  Support with military aid
  •  Support with economic and humanitarian aid
  •  Other response (explain)

July 1990, Saddam Hussein accuses its neighbor, Kuwait of drilling $2.4 billion worth of Iraqi oil at the border between Iraq and Kuwait while it was locked in war with Iran and also bringing down the international price of oil by over-selling. Iraq argued that this practice caused its treasury to lose billions of dollars while it was desperately in debt from war. Saddam calls this an "economic war" and demands $10 billion in compensation, threatening to go war against Kuwait. The Kuwaiti government ignores these demands and Saddam amasses troops at the border. The U.S. government sees Kuwait as a friend in the region. Saddam checks to see what is the U.S. stance on his threat to invade Kuwait. The U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie told him "We're watching you. We're concerned about the bellicose statements that you've been issuing. But our fundamental feeling is that we have no direct vested interest in Arab-Arab disputes, including the dispute that you're having with the Kuwaitis over the mutual border that you share." Saddam is likely confused about whether the U.S. will take a stand on this dispute. Will the U.S. help settle the conflict to help maintain peace in the Middle East? Will they clearly warn Saddam not to invade? What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

After the final attempt at negotiation, the Iraqis walked out on talks when the Kuwaitis refused to meet their demands. On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invades Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council and the Arab League immediately condemned the Iraqi invasion. Four days later, in Resolution 661 the Security Council imposed an economic embargo on Iraq that prohibited nearly all trade with Iraq. Iraq responded to the sanctions by annexing Kuwait on August 8, prompting the exiled Kuwaiti monarchy to call for a stronger international response. With control of Kuwait, Saddam has control of one-fifth of the world oil supplies. If Saddam were to continue to invade into Saudi Arabia, he would have control of 40% of the world's oil. Saddam indicates that he would be willing to negotiate a withdrawal from Kuwait in exchange for his demands. Arab countries want a chance to mediate in order to resolve the conflict peacefully. Many American citizens are weary of another war, after the experience of Vietnam. There are many in Congress who also question the idea of going to war. Will the U.S. try to negotiate a diplomatic solution or prepare to go to war against the Iraq's invasion? What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

Jan. 17, 1991, the U.S. is leading the United Nations coalition in a war to make Saddam's troops retreat from Kuwait. Iraq's infrastructure for clean water, sanitation and electrical power is an essential life-support for the country. U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency considers the strategy of extensively bombing Iraqi infrastructure predicting a huge impact on Iraqi civilians with children being the most in danger of sickness and death from diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Comprehensive post-World War II government studies had concluded that "the dread of disease and hardships imposed by the lack of sanitary facilities were bound to have a demoralizing effect upon the civilian population," and that there was a "reliable and striking correlation between the disruption of public utilities and the willingness of the German population to accept unconditional surrender." Will the U.S. government attack Iraqi water and electrical facilities?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

Jan. 1991. The United States and Great Britain are preparing to attack Iraq in order to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait. There is a new and unbelievably powerful weapon at their disposal: tank and rocket shells made in part from depleted uranium 238, a metal 1.7 times more dense than lead. These shells can pierce armor - including tanks. In fact, they can cut through armor "like a hot knife through butter," as some have described it. The problem with the use of this weapon is that depleted uranium creates a fine aerosol-like radioactive and chemically toxic dust. And it doesn't ever go away; it has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. US military studies indicate that use of depleted uranium 238 on the battlefield could lead to cancers of the lung and bone, kidney damage, non-malignant lung disease, neurocognitive disorders, chromosomal damage and birth defects. Use of depleted uranium shells could not only contaminate Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi and Kuwaiti civilians, it could also poison the tens of thousands of U.S. and British troops who will attack the Iraqi military after depleted uranium shells have been used. Will the U.S. military use depleted uranium shells, warn the troops and equip them with special masks to avoid contamination? Will they use the shells but not warn their troops? Will they avoid use of depleted uranium weapons? What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

March 1991, Iraqi troops have now retreated from Kuwait. Shiites (a religious minority) in southern Iraq and Kurds in the north rebel against Saddam to overthrow him. If Shiites in Iraq gain power, they could join with Shiites Iran and strengthen their influence in a region that has 65% of the world's oil supply. The U.S. government considers returning captured helicopters and weapons to the Iraqi military controlled by Saddam. He might use these weapons against the rebels. What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

1998-2002, the U.S. and Britain (France withdrew from this coalition) without United Nations authority have been patrolling and bombing "No-Fly Zones" in Iraq. The U.S. and Britain say that they patrol these regions to protect the lives of minority groups that Saddam might threaten. The U.S. and Britain engage in almost daily attacks on Iraqi anti-aircraft emplacements and major bombing episodes, triggered by alleged major movements of Iraqi armor in border areas. U.S. and Britain allow pilots to strike any part of the Iraqi air defense system, not just those directly targeting U.S./British aircraft, by firing on them or by "locking on" radar detectors to U.S./British planes. The result is up to 5 tons of bombs dropped on Iraq per month with 144 civilians (members of minority groups in the region) killed and 446 injured in 1999 alone. Francis Boyle, professor of international law at University of Illinois College of Law has criticized the bombings: "It is the U.S. government that is violating the United Nations Charter. . . by using military force to allegedly 'police' these illegal 'no-fly' zones that have never been authorized by the U.N. Security Council or by the U.S. Congress, in right of self-defense under U.N. Charter article 51. The Bush administration has deliberately put U.S. pilots in harm's way in order to concoct a pretext for a catastrophic war of aggression against Iraq. The best way for the American people to protect the lives of our military personnel in the Persian Gulf is to bring them all home." Will the U.S. continue to enforce these "No Fly Zones?" What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Predict how the U.S. government will respond and explain the likely reasons for its decision.

1998 United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) releases a report indicating that the sanctions (started in 1991 to pressure Iraq to disarm weapons of mass destruction) have resulted in the deaths of over half-million Iraqi children (5000 per month) and that 250 Iraqis die each day as a result of the sanctions. After almost 8 years of sanctions, Saddam Hussein has not met all requirements to disarm. Iraq's national economy shrank to one-fifth of its size in 1979, but Saddam continues to rule and maintain his many palaces while Iraqi civilians suffer. Conditions in Iraq include untreated sewage, no clean water, shortage of food and medicine, and highly inflated prices for everything. According to the Geneva Conventions, civilians are not to be targeted in war or economic sanctions. What will the U.S. government do?

 

 

 

Spring 2003

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