Since the Gulf War ended five and a half years ago, the United States and its allies have kept their armed forces stationed in the Persian Gulf to "protect" the gulf states from further Iraqi aggression. Recently, Saddam Hussein has launched military operations in the northern part of Iraqi territory, providing further justification for the U.S. military build-up in the region.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the U.S. created a multi-national force to coerce Iraq out. Fearing possible Iraqi expansionism, other gulf states allowed U.S. and allied troops on their soil. During the gulf war the allied forces severely damaged Iraq's ability to wage war, but stopped short of neutralizing that threat. Since the war, Iraq's rag tag army has not posed a credible threat to any of its neighbors.
During the 1980's Iraq received huge amounts of American military and economic assistance and became by far the greatest military power in the region. This was done ostensibly to counter the threat of the "Ayatollah" in Iran.
During the 1980's, hostilities between Iran and Iraq threatened oil tankers in the Persian gulf. The United States dispatched a naval force to secure the shipping lanes. In the 1990's Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was followed by the establishment of U.S. land based forces in Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, among others.
During the gulf war, Iraqi Kurds and Shiite Muslims rebelled against the government in Baghdad. When the gulf cease fire was declared, the Iraqi army tried to put down those rebellions in the north and south of the country (similar to the U.S. sending Marines to Los Angeles during the riot there).
The U.N. moved to protect Kurdish rebels by establishing a "safe haven" for them and declaring a "no fly" zone north of the 36th parallel. The U.N. also declared a "no fly - no drive" zone in southern Iraq to protect rebels there from the Iraqi government. U.S. led air patrols are enforcing these restrictions.
In recent days the Iraqi government has sent its army into northern Iraq to subdue a Kurdish rebel faction and stop Kurdish infighting, according to an Iraqi statement. Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz was quoted by CNN as saying, "We decided to launch a limited military operation in defense of our sovereignty, our people and their properties." This latest move by the Iraqi government has been in violation of the U.N.'s safe area decree, and has resulted in agitation in the western media for an American military response.
President Clinton has responded by putting American forces in the gulf region on "high alert". He has also ordered reinforcements sent to the area including an Air Expeditionary Force of some 30 planes and 1,000 support troops. This will be in addition to the already immense land and naval force deployed in the region.
State Department spokesman, Glyn Davies, said on Friday, "We are, of course, as you would expect, actively watching the situation in that part of the world, where we keep a close watch on what's occurring in the north, because of our interest in northern Iraq and the fate of the Kurds. We would take any aggressive Iraqi moves in the area very, very seriously."
Even Presidential candidate, Bob Dole, has called for American military intervention by saying, "As Americans, we need to be concerned not only about another humanitarian tragedy for the Kurds of Iraq, but also about the potential resurgence of Saddam Hussein as a menace to the peace and stability of this vital region."
It has been the stated purpose of the U.S. and its allies to deprive Iraq of sovereignty over its own territory. On Sept. 2, CNN quoted an unnamed U.S. official as saying, "(The U.S. response to the Iraqi violation should be) something we believe will be effective...that will show Saddam Hussein he can't move his forces at will." This is the real issue at stake in this conflict.
The Kurds are now dependent on the U.N. for food and protection. They are barely subsisting in their "safe haven" prison. There is no solution offered for their current dilemma. Their alleged persecutors remain in power and, what appeared to be a simple "made for television" war in 1991, has turned into a protected state of human misery.
Prolonged sanctions against Iraq have demonstrated the United Nations' callous disregard for human suffering. Over half a million Iraqi children have died since the sanctions were imposed, as well as untold human suffering. Because the Iraqi government has violated the "safe haven", the U.N. General Secretary has suspended an "oil for food" deal that was to provide some relief for the Iraqi people.
As the nations observe the precedent of outside intervention in a nation's internal affairs being set in Iraq, as well as the cruel, unrelenting sanctions being enforced against it in their secret councils, they must declare, "Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?" Rev. 13:4. The answer is given, "He that leadeth into captivity (the U.S.) shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword (the U.S.) must be killed with the sword." v. 10.
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