INSIDE SADDAM'S IRAQ
To understand how Saddam has remained for 20 years firmly entrenched as Iraq's
leader despite wars, sanctions, coup and assassination attempts, read this
government memo issued in 1992. It details ways for Saddam's security
apparatus to tighten control of the population and crush opposition. Offering a
clear view into Saddam's Orwellian police state, it also shows how in many ways
his regime parallels the Soviet police state of Joseph Stalin, the leader
Saddam most admires.
An excerpt from Saddam Hussein - The Politics of Revenge by Said K. Aburish. It chronicles how, after the Gulf War ended, Saddam methodically and brutally set about imposing greater control on the Army and security apparatus as well as his own personal protection system in order to thwart coup attempts.
Mark Bowden's May 2002 cover story in The Atlantic magazine draws on the
extensive literature about Saddam, as well as numerous interviews with Iraqi expatriates who
worked close to him, to offer a richly detailed, in-depth portrait of Saddam and what has shaped
IRAQ AND TERRORISM
A summary of what international weapons inspections during the 1990s revealed
about Iraq's biochemical and nuclear weapons capability. In 1998, Iraq blocked
the weapons inspection agencies, UNSCOM and IAEA, from conducting further
This crude drawing is by an Army officer and defector who describes in his
FRONTLINE interview how the area of Salman Pak on the outskirts of
Baghdad contained a highly secret installation where, he claims, Iraq conducted
terrorist training for Islamic militants from other countries.
Published in The National Interest (Winter 1995/96), this article by
Laurie Mylroie argues that the convicted 1993 World Trade Center bomber,
Ramzi Yousef, was an Iraqi intelligence agent. Mylroie claims that the Justice
Department narrowly focused on prosecuting Yousef for the crime to the
detriment of tracing possible state sponsorship behind the attack.
Iraq is one of the seven countries that the U.S. has designated state sponsors
of terrorism. This excerpt from the U.S. State Department's "Patterns of Global
Terrorism 2000" report links Iraq to Palestinian and Iranian terrorist
organizations, but states that "The regime has not attempted an anti-Western
terrorist attack since its failed plot to assassinate former President Bush in
1993 in Kuwait."
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Saddam Hussein has written three open letters
addressed to "Western nations and their governments." In the first
letter, released on Sept. 15, he wrote, "We say to the American peoples, what happened
on Sept. 11, 2001 should be compared to what their government and their armies
are doing in the world." In his second letter, released
on Sept. 18, Saddam accused the U.S. of having made "assumption tantamount to
conclusive verdict, namely that Islam, with Arabs in the lead of Moslems, are
enemies of the U.S." In the third letter, released on Oct. 29, he
criticized U.S. military actions in Afghanistan: "The world now needs to abort
the U.S. aggressive schemes, including its aggression on the Afghan people,
which must stop."
THE DEBATE OVER TARGETING SADDAM IN THE WAR ON TERRORISM
In January 1998, the Project for the New American Century, chaired by William
Kristol, sent a letter to President Clinton that argued the removal of Saddam
Hussein from power "needs to become the aim of American foreign policy." The
letter, sent to Clinton just before he was to give his annual State of the
Union Address, was signed by many current Bush administration officials,
including, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense
Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, and Under Secretary
of State for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton. Richard
Perle and R. James Woolsey also signed the letter.
Many of those who are pushing the U.S. to include Iraq in the war against
terrorism argue that the U.S. should support the attempts of Iraqi opposition
groups to topple Saddam Hussein. However, this April 2001 article from
Foreign Policy In Focus calls the Iraqi opposition "feckless" and urges
the U.S. to "halt its efforts to arm the opposition and foment a coup in Iraq"
and instead "work with the United Nations to enforce international treaties and
This RAND analysis of U.S.-Iraq confrontation since the Gulf War reveals that
although post-Gulf War U.S. policy toward Iraq is widely viewed as a failure, a
closer study shows success when U.S. actions threatened Saddam's relationship
with his power base. The authors argue that in dealing with Iraq, policymakers
must take into account an understanding of which changes they cannot affect
through coercive tactics, as well as how to integrate coercive actions into a
This flashback from The Atlantic Monthly contains two opposing essays on
whether fighting Iraq in the Gulf War was in the U.S. national interest.
Christopher Layne argues that "Since the end of the Second World War, most
recently in the Gulf, the United States has chosen to exaggerate minor threats
to its security ... and to equate its safety with the maintenance of world
order." However, Joseph Nye counters this argument by writing, "In a world of
interdependence Americans cannot afford to define the national interest in
domestic or international terms alone."
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