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The United States and Iraq at cross purposes a historic overview

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The United States and Iraq have alternately been good friends and enemies. In the 1980s, after the overthrow of Iran's Shah, the United States encouraged Iraq to wage war against the Islamic Republic. This was followed by arms, intelligence information and money. When the IranIraq war ended, tensions between Baghdad and the Arab states increased. Some Arab states, especially Kuwait, demanded that Hussein should repay the wartime loans. Iraq argued that the money was not loaned but a gift to help fight the Persians. The United States was apparently neutral until Iraq invaded Kuwait. Alarmed by the loss of Kuwaiti oil and perhaps even the fall of the Saudis, the United States launched the 1991 Gulf War. This was followed by 12 years of sanctions against Iraq and the Second Gulf War in 2003. For the last 5 years, the war on Iraq has resulted in the destabilization of the Middle East. The author draws attention to the report of George McGovern and William Polk and agrees with its conclusions. Withdrawal of US armed forces from Iraq, positioning of an international police keeping force, reconstruction aid and the closing down of detention centres. Also, the author believes that there will be no peace in the Middle East until there is a resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict.
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Keywords: 1991 Gulf War; Afghanistan; Ayatollah Khomeini; Baker report; IranIraq treaty on international borders; Iraq; Islamic Republic of Iran; Palestine/Israel conflict; Saddam Hussein; Second Gulf War; United States; foreign policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Eastern Michigan University.

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies is a new peer-reviewed, tri- annual, academic publication devoted to the study of modern Iraq. In recognition of Iraq's increasingly important position on the world stage, the time is right for a new journal dedicated to scholarly engagement with the country.
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