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US involvement in Iraq 80-91

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Arming Iraq and the Path to War, by John King



2003-03-31 | This is an accurate chronology of United States' involvement in the arming of Iraq during the Iraq-Iran war. It is a powerful indictment of the current bush administration attempt to sell war as a component of his war on terrorism. It reveals our ambitions in Iraq to be just another chapter in the attempt to regain a foothold in the Mideast following the fall of the Shah of Iran.


A crisis always has a history, and the current crisis with Iraq is no exception. Below are some relevant dates.


September 1980. Iraq invades Iran. The beginning of the Iraq-Iran war. (8)


February 1982. Despite objections from Congress, President Reagan removes Iraq from its list of known terrorist countries. (1)


December 1982. Hughes Aircraft ships 60 Defender helicopters to Iraq. (9)


1982-1988. Defense Intelligence Agency provides detailed information for Iraq on Iranian deployments, tactical planning for battles, plans for air strikes and bomb damage assessments. (4)


November 1983. A National Security Directive states that the U.S would do "whatever was necessary and legal" to prevent Iraq from losing its war with Iran. (1) (15)


November 1983. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro of Italy and its Branch in Atlanta begin to funnel $5 billion in unreported loans to Iraq. Iraq, with the blessing and official approval of the U.S. government, purchased computer controlled machine tools, computers, scientific instruments, special alloy steel and aluminum, chemicals, and other

industrial goods for Iraq's missile, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs. (14)


October 1983. The Reagan Administration begins secretly allowing Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Egypt to transfer United States weapons, including Howitzers, Huey helicopters, and bombs to Iraq. These shipments violated the Arms Export Control Act. (16)


November 1983. George Schultz, the Secretary of State, is given intelligence reports showing that Iraqi troops are daily using chemical weapons against the Iranians. (1)


December 20 1983. Donald Rumsfeld, then a civilian and now Defense Secretary, meets with Saddam Hussein to assure him of US friendship and materials support. (1) (15)


July 1984. CIA begins giving Iraq intelligence necessary to calibrate its mustard gas attacks on Iranian troops. (19)


January 14 1984. State Department memo acknowledges United States shipment of "dual-use" export hardware and technology. Dual use items are civilian items such as heavy trucks, armored ambulances and communications gear as well as industrial technology that can have a military application. (2)


March 1986. The United States with Great Britain block all Security Council resolutions condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons, and on March 21 the U.S. becomes the only country refusing to sign a Security Council statement condemning Iraq's use of these weapons. (10)


May 1986. The U.S. Department of Commerce licenses 70 biological exports to Iraq between May of 1985 and 1989, including at least 21 batches of lethal strains of anthrax. (3)


May 1986. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade botulin poison to Iraq. (7)


March 1987. President Reagan bows to the findings of the Tower Commission admitting the sale of arms to Iran in exchange for hostages. Oliver North uses the profits from the sale to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. (17)


Late 1987. The Iraqi Air Force begins using chemical agents against Kurdish resistance forces in northern Iraq. (1)


February 1988. Saddam Hussein begins the "Anfal" campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq. The Iraq regime used chemical weapons against the Kurds killing over 100,000 civilians and destroying over 1,200 Kurdish villages. (8)


April 1988. US Department of Commerce approves shipment of chemicals used in manufacture of mustard gas. (7)


August 1988. Four major battles were fought from April to August 1988, in which the Iraqis massively and effectively used chemical weapons to defeat the Iranians. Nerve gas and blister agents such as mustard gas are used. By this time the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency is heavily involved with Saddam Hussein in battle plan assistance, intelligence gathering and post battle debriefing. In the last major battle with of the war, 65,000 Iranians are killed, many with poison gas. Use of chemical weapons in war is in violation of the Geneva accords of 1925. (6) (13)


August 1988. Iraq and Iran declare a cease fire. (8)


August 1988. Five days after the cease fire Saddam Hussein sends his planes and helicopters to northern Iraq to begin massive chemical attacks against the Kurds. (8)


September 1988. U.S. Department of Commerce approves shipment of weapons grade anthrax and botulinum to Iraq. (7)


September 1988. Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary of State: "The US-Iraqi relationship is... important to our long-term political and economic objectives." (15)


December 1988. Dow chemical sells $1.5 million in pesticides to Iraq despite knowledge that these would be used in chemical weapons. (1)


July 25, 1990. U.S. Ambassador to Baghdad meets with Hussein to assure him that President Bush "wanted better and deeper relations." Many believe this visit was a trap set for Hussein. A month later Hussein invaded Kuwait thinking the U.S. would not respond. (12)


August 1990. Iraq invades Kuwait. The precursor to the Gulf War. (8)


July 1991. The Financial Times of London reveals that a Florida chemical company had produced and shipped cyanide to Iraq during the 80's using a special CIA courier. Cyanide was used extensively against the Iranians. (11)


August 1991. Christopher Droguol of Atlanta's branch of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro is arrested for his role in supplying loans to Iraq for the purchase of military supplies. He is charged with 347 counts of felony. Droguol is found guilty, but U.S. officials plead innocent of any knowledge of his crime. (14)


June 1992. Ted Koppel of ABC Nightline reports: "It is becoming increasingly clear that George Bush, Sr., operating largely behind the scenes throughout the 1980s, initiated and supported much of the financing, intelligence, and military help that built Saddam's Iraq into [an aggressive power]." (5)


July 1992. "The Bush administration deliberately, not inadvertently, helped to arm Iraq by allowing U.S. technology to be shipped to Iraqi military and to Iraqi defense factories... Throughout the course of the Bush administration, U.S. and foreign firms were granted export licenses to ship U.S. technology directly to Iraqi weapons facilities despite ample evidence showing that these factories were producing weapons." Representative Henry Gonzalez, Texas, testimony before the House. (18)


February 1994. Senator Riegle from Michigan, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, testifies before the senate revealing large U.S. shipments of dual-use biological and chemical agents to Iraq that may have been used against U.S. troops in the Gulf War and probably was the cause of the illness known as Gulf War Syndrome. (7)


August 2002. "The use of gas [during the Iran-Iraq war] on the battle field by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern... We were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose." Colonel Walter Lang, former senior U.S. Defense Intelligence officer tells the New York Times. (4)


This chronology of the United States' sordid involvement in the arming of Iraq can be summarized in this way: the United States used methods both legal and illegal to help build Saddam's army into the most powerful army in the Mideast outside of Israel. The U.S. supplied chemical and biological agents and technology to Iraq when it knew Iraq was using chemical weapons against the Iranians. The U.S. supplied the materials and technology for these weapons of mass destruction to Iraq at a time when it was known that Saddam was using this technology to kill his Kurdish citizens. The United States supplied intelligence and battle planning information to Iraq when those battle plans included the use of cyanide, mustard gas and nerve agents. The United States blocked U.N. censure of Iraq's use of chemical weapons. The United States did not act alone in this effort. The Soviet Union was the largest weapons supplier, but England, France and Germany were also involved in the shipment of arms and technology.


So what do these events have to do with the current conflict?


Just this: If we do go to war with Iraq, it is important to know why! War will not really be about terrorism! Twenty years ago the United States threw its support behind Saddam Hussein in a geopolitical bid for enhanced access to oil. The trajectory given him by our support lead directly to the Gulf War and to the current crises. War, after all, will be about a history of misdeeds and miscalculations. And war will not be about morality. War will be about cynicism, deceit and a thirst for oil that knows no boundaries.


John King

Long Prairie, MN, USA.


(ED. Note: Although this article was written before the attack began, the analysis still rings true.)




1. Washingtonpost.com. December 30, 2002

2. Jonathan Broder. Nuclear times, Winter 1990-91

3. Kurt Nimno. AlterNet. September 23, 2002

4. Newyorktimes.com. August 29, 2002

5. ABC Nightline. June 9, 1992

6. Counter Punch, October 10, 2002

7. Riegle Report: Dual Use Exports. Senate Committee on Banking. May 25, 1994

8. Timeline: A walk Through Iraq's History. U.S. Department of State

9. Doing Business: The Arming of Iraq. Daniel Robichear

10. Glen Rangwala. Labor Left Briefing, 16 September, 2002

11. Financial Times of London. July 3, 1991

12. Elson E. Boles. Counter Punch. October 10, 2002

13. Iran-Iraq War, 1980-1988. Iranchamber.com

14. Columbia Journalism Review. March/April 1993. Iraqgate

15. Times Online. December 31, 2002. How U.S. Helped Iraq Build Deadly Arsenal

16. Bush's Secret Mission. The New Yorker Magazine. November 2, 1992

17. Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia: Iran-Contra Affair

18. Congressional Record. July 27, 1992. Representative Henry B. Gonzalez

19. Bob Woodward. CIA Aiding Iraq in Gulf War. Washington Post.

15 December, 1986

20. WWW.gendercide.com

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Originally posted by seeking

War will be about cynicism, deceit and a thirst for oil that knows no boundaries.



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Guest uncle-boy



looks like seeking wins...........













the hippy award.




berry berry interesting, but i still think we should whack saddam. :huh?:

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i have been looking for a simple outline like that since this shit started happening a few months ago...nice find seeks...



i guess all i have to say, is that it would be nice if we could learn from our mistakes....time will tell

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another really interesting 'timeline', which i have no link to, is the one leading up to the vietnam war. our deceit and back handed politics in that situation easily rival these for dispicableness.


how our government can actually hold their heads up is beyond me.

then again, so are the people who accept it.


today syria announced their support of iraq and requested that it was every muslims duty to stand up to US aggressions. they also called for suicide bombings (which rumpsfeld likes to call 'homicide bombings').

this was all in response to our threatening them for allowing weapons to be funneled into iraq through their borders.



seeks/no war for heavy metal

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Im SO tired Of this Shit _ When Will People Realize That Only The Strong Survive. Brutality - Death - And Murder Are Political Tools and I'd Rather Have Our Government Exporting It World Wide then "It" here. However on that Note; I do not endorse these actions within the context of any government! That being said - theres *tons* of stuff we don't know about and never will!! THE BEAST IS HUGE. What they teach in schools, the mass media and sometimes the internet are the "Official" Versions of history! If we could all get along peacefully that would be great, we wouldn't have to kill for resources, only trade. However that is not human nature! If it is easier to kill someone and take their shit, then thats whats gunna happen especially when government's have the "license to kill" and especially when your more powerfull then the UN put together. and so on and so on..Everything changes as your perspective changes and any action can be justified in any way when it comes to politics, government.

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Guest BROWNer



i've been trying to find the cia analysis of the kurdish gassing..

it was a crucial report by a cia analyst, his findings were not a

conclusive indictment of iraq, but rather iran.

i'm not sure how credible it would be..without any cross referencing

to back it up...but............if anyone knows where to find the

report or worthy references to it..

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Guest uncle-boy

dont stress browny, the gov. is fucked. i think we have enough proof of that already. i think every gov. is fucked, digging up shit over and over isnt gonna help really. altho i do admit knowledge will be spead because of it, and thats a wonderful and powerful thing.


but i think you should use all you energy and obvious itelligence to invent something awsome.


like a flying motorcycle.


with the flying aroooooouuuunnnd.

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seeks if you find the one on vietnam, id love to have that too....ive already frwd your timeline to a few friends who were sorta looking to put history onto a sensible timeline....


although the issue of syria im somewhat against....i mean look, the war has started, i want us to win now....for obvious reasons....i want it done fast with minimal civilians killed, and minimal soilders....and as far as im concernedsyria has some fucking ballz trying to push that shit....and really it doesnt sit well with me...


although jon stewart last nite compared him to an old drunk with a broken battle looking to start a fight with anyone...hahaha


"you wanna piece of me to netherlands"


the US has also accused iran and russia even of the same thing....could end up being a fucking headache

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Originally posted by mental invalid

although the issue of syria im somewhat against....i mean look, the war has started, i want us to win now....for obvious reasons....i want it done fast with minimal civilians killed, and minimal soilders....and as far as im concernedsyria has some fucking ballz trying to push that shit....and really it doesnt sit well with me...



so what is an acceptable price for an illegal war? I think Syria has some straight up savagness standing up to the US like that.

The way I look at it is if Israel started bombing where I live to liberate me from Pete Wilson and the corrupt cops of california and wanted to invade and annex my country while destroying it first I can say I would not be a joyfull liberated californian especially if my entire countrys civilian economy had been fucked off entirley while the invaders have been doing business with the facist motherfucker killing people, or in my case locking up thousands of nonviolent criminals in a for profit corrupt prison industry.


While my analogy may be a bit off.....fuckit im just rambling.

The hard question is though should we withdraw, cut our losses and enter negotiations for a cease fire after it is certian that the Iraqi people will fight our forces? Or should we let the war -and i dont see how its really a war cause they didnt attack us we invaded them so shouldnt it be called Invasion Iraq? - take its course and hopefully there would be a independant investigation that would cover all aspects of war crimes done by both the UN and the US Congress.


I think the bombing of Iraq is truly unjust. If we were in Iraq plotting a coup for years until the oppurtunity presented itself to either assasinate saddam hussein or take over the country in a way that

retains the integrity of the citizens who are the real victims in all this not us and our "threat of terror on our shores" or the motherfucker who has been selling oil to our goverment and at least tries to hook up some of his people, I would have no problem with it.

I find it shocking that with such easily refferencable material and the first ammendment right of freespeach that our nation is so easily goaded into a trivilization of the invasion of a country and the bombing of many cities in the name of protection ourselfes when so many other risks are looming that could present far more disastourous consequences that are being further perpetuated from this illegal "war" thats a unjust invasion into a volitile region of the world.


*edit my grammar skills are not home, please leave a message they will return your call. message 420247.

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Guest BROWNer
Originally posted by mental invalid

..i mean look, the war has started, i want us to win now....for obvious reasons....i want it done fast with minimal civilians killed, and minimal soilders....


that's idealistic.

at what point will this war become too costly,

politically, economically, morally

in order to win? i mean, alot of people have died already

and this is just the start.


as far as syria, i'm not so sure i understand how they are at fault in any

of this.

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Guest BROWNer

oop, forgive me if i reiterated anything starman said, i

didn't see his post...

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we should not withdraw, we should not conceed...



im not about to have my fucking government say to some poor orphan....look, this whole war thing its just not working out on this end...look i know we promised liberation and all that jazz, and we dropped some bombs that killed your family, but its just not in our interest anymore....sorry, and hope your not part of the minority in iraq cause if you think saddam was pissed back in 91 you aint seen nothing yet....



we dicked em over before, i refuse to leave that fucking country a mess...


like your mom use to say...you fucking made the mess, you fucking clean it up....its that simple


im not for this war, although im not opposed to war in general....but im not about to leave that country a fucking disaster....


we are doing the same shit in afghanistan, and i dont want to see us do it again....


americas worst trait is our lack of attention.......

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Guest BROWNer

after reading starman's post...


there's a ton to be shocked about.

the most shocking thing to me is the complete

apathy which the bush team routinely stomps

all over. granted alot of people are doing their


peter arnett got sacked by nbc, which is owned by

general electric, which is a prime military industrial

complex contractor for basically speaking his mind, not

to mention filing contradictory reports to the pentagon's.

this is a guy that made cnn probly millions if not more

during the first gulf war for putting his life on the

to get the truth out; they sacked him too.





you don't have to go too far back to be shocked at

whats going down in washinton..forget the 80's and 90's,

look at the last 2 freakin' years, there is plenty of ammo

right there.

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arentt just got rehired by the mirror in brittan.



syria's 'aggressive' stance is in response to the [completely understandable] idea that we would invade them as well. we told them if they were not completely on our side, then they were against us and would be treated as such. they refused to back us, as anyone with any fucking sense has, and thus they became our enemy. sure, they're taking it a bit far with the suicide bombing thing, but i mean,i understand where they're coming from.



if we actually 'liberate' iraq, i'll be fucking amazed. just like we liberated columbia, panama, niceragua, kuwait, afghanistan, chile and every other country we step foot in.

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yeah. i see your point mental invalid. we cant leave now and its wack. its a lose lose situation. No American can truly understand what spending the last 23 years of your life in 10 years of war and 12 years of ecomically crippiling sanctions is like. So at the very least I guess we have to kill thousands to save them. But someones making a buck right?


and browner, call me asterix, * is an asterix

yeah, ever since the elections in 00 its gone downhill at a rate unparalelled in so many areas of our country its outright insane.

remember the good old days of 24 hour press stakeouts on bill and monica?


i wonder if i can get in trouble for suggesting that george w. bush is a alchoholic cokehead afflicted with downsyndrome and has possible ties to transgender aliens attempting to destroy the earth real suttle like.

this shit is mad gay.

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Guest BROWNer

sorry asterix.


yea, arnett is at the mirror now, who are vehemently against this war.

anyone hear about geraldo? the guy apparently decided to compromise

troop movement with a drawing in some sand. now he may be

gettin' the boot out of iraq altogether. nice work geraldo:rolleyes:


mullah omar is back in tha house too.

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no way dood, starman is way cooler of a name.......




i understand what your saying seeks, and on some scale the US had to expect it....but i dont know how threatened syria feels rather then they would rather be a thorn in the US side....frankly i cant blame em....


but that doesnt mean its cool...basically they are giving iraq weapons to kill american and british soilders with and perhaps innocent civilians too....as a government you cant turn the other cheek to that shit...you also cant just be spewing more fucking rhetoric either....



and im amazed that anyone would think that this war was going to be short....its not....

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i know a girl named star and im not her man, so its purley personal reasons why i dont like being reffered to as that.

i dont really care though...its not to much of a concern and no offense was taken at all so...


I think at the very least we could at least stop bombing baghdad and send in some supplies for the civilians that we are liberating. It been almost two weeks and they were dropping like 1500 bombs a day somtimes. Shit has got to be wrecked. People are dying. Its probably a lot like hell. Just sitting in your room hoping you dont die.

and then theres the troops. Every thing I have seen on them shows a lot of 18 and 19 yearolds. Hundreds of thousands of kids younger than my little sister fighting a war torn nation that poses no realistic threat to us while ecountering traumas and toxins that will affect them for the rest of their lives for an average of $7.00 hour or like $15,500 a year for infantry pay.

I heard someone say that if you really want to protest the war dont pay your federal taxes.


ramble ramble.

shut it ********.



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Guest BROWNer

i can't back this up, but somewhere i read baghdad's population

is around 5 million, of which practically half are children.

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"Syria can continue direct support for terrorist groups in the dying regime of [iraqi President] Saddam Hussein or it can embark on a different and more hopeful course," he said. "Either way, Syria bears responsibility for its choices and for the consequences."

colin powell


considering the hair trigger we seem to be operating on, that statement pretty much can only be taken one way.


i dont support syria for giving iraq weapons, but im also not mad at them for it. im mad at bush for getting us into this whole fucking thing to begin with. thats who i blame. not saddam for being an asshole, and not the iraqi army who are standing up to us. i fucking hate our government, but like 'asterisk' said, if you shit on me for 12 years and drop bombs on my friends, dont fucking expect me to trust you or like you, infact, duck, cause im gonna fucking shoot at you. the iraqi people, from all accounts, dont want to be 'liberated', so what does that fucking tell you? how bad did we misread this one.


you are right however, we cant just turn around and walk away. oh wait, yes we can. we wont, but we could. and then we could stop treating the whole world like shit. but we wont.

god, i dont know. between the initial posting of this, and my above comment, i painted 6 pieces. my head of shot. its full of gelatin from rusto white.



heres a site i think you guys will enjoy.

current number of dead iraqi civillians

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