Iraq, Kuwait, and the Gulf War
By Larry Romanoff, March 24, 2023
President George H.W. Bush (second from right) meets with Defense Secretary Dick Cheney (third from left) and military advisors General Norman Schwarzkopf (second from left) and Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell (right) at the Pentagon to discuss the Gulf crisis, August 15, 1990.Gary Cameron/Reuters Source
Between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers lies one of our world's original 'cradles of civilisation' - the land that used to be known as Mesopotamia, home of the rulers of Sumeria, Akkadia and Babylon, names that even today evoke images of wealth and a high level of development. We now know this land as Iraq, but the wealth and development are gone. Iraq today is an impoverished and pathetic shadow of its former self, broken, betrayed, destroyed, embroiled in civil war. Iraq has disappeared as an independent nation, having become a permanent Jewish colony under US military control, a country now without a future. I have dealt with Iraq in other essays so I will limit my comments here to the portion of history directly related to Kuwait and the Gulf War.
The area had become part of the British Mandate, carved up by the Western powers without regard for the native civilisations that had lived there for millennia, simply partitioned for the benefit of the imperial powers, including the granting of half of Palestine to the Jews to form their homeland - and thereby in total setting the stage for 60 years of bitter and unsolvable conflicts. With the imminent crumbling of the Ottoman Empire after the First War, and with the knowledge that large oil reserves were abundant in the area, Britain wanted to control many of the pieces on the Middle East checkerboard. France and Britain freely dismantled the Ottoman Empire and the Arab nations for their own colonial purposes, creating among other things the Iraq Petroleum Company with 95% of the shares going to Britain, France, and the US.
Wikipedia tells us Kuwait was "a sheikhdom which gained independence from the Khalidi Emirate of Al Hasa under Sabah I bin Jaber in the year 1752", but that was never really true. This is the Western official narrative that lies to cover up all its past sins. Instead of returning Kuwait to Iraq, the West granted the sheikdom its "independence", thus setting the stage yet one more time for future wars. And, in 2021, everyone celebrated that "Kuwait marks 60 years of independence from Britain", with no mention of Iraq, as if Kuwait had somehow always "belonged" to Britain. And of course the UK Guardian was there to celebrate.
A youthful King Faisal in the company of HM Queen Elizabeth II during a state visit to Great Britain. Source
Thanks to the West's revisionist history, few readers are aware that Kuwait had always been part of Iraq, a province, or at least subject to Iraqi suzerainty. But Britain wanted a deep-water naval port in the area and so the British severed Kuwait from the rest of Iraq, creating a new British colony with artificial boundaries that had no basis in history or geography. Iraq's King Faisal never accepted this amputation of the Kuwait district or the denial of Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf, and for most Iraqis it was a permanent symbol of humiliation at the hands of the British. Deep resistance to the separation persisted, and Kuwait experienced a popular uprising in the 1930s, for reunification with Iraq, but the Iraqi King was soon found dead, assassinated by British agents. Still, Iraq and the Arab world generally, resented this partition of Kuwait as yet another subordination to British and Jewish colonial interests, and there were intensified appeals for the return of Kuwait to Iraq. However, the colonialists responded with yet another "regime change".
Unfortunately, the world's knowledge of Iraq was limited to things we read in the Western media, the only certainty being that the information was untrue. We heard all the stories about Saddam Hussein being a brutal dictator, a tyrant and murderer, and more. We were told Saddam was responsible for the New York WTC attack on 9-11. We learned about his "weapons of mass destruction" - the dreaded WMDs - and read stories of how he gassed hundreds of thousands of his own people and buried their bodies in mass graves. But most of us have already forgotten that no evidence was ever found of any of these items or events. From all the available evidence, the accusations of mass murders were just as false as those of the nuclear weapons and biological programs, all spin produced by the US propaganda machine in preparation for a regime change. In fact, Iraq was a safe and progressive secular nation with great prospects for wealth and success. Under Saddam, and contrary to Western propaganda, Iraq had free education including university, free health care, food packages widely available for anyone in need, a high level of enlightenment and women's rights far superior to anything in the Middle East including Israel, and widespread religious tolerance. Iraq also provided a home for a great many Palestinian refugees fleeing the Jewish genocide in their homeland. The truth of Iraq was very different from the narrative produced by the US war-marketing machine.
However, a larger problem remained, which leads us back to Kuwait. Most Westerners believe Kuwait to be an exceptionally rich little sheikdom, but that was never really true and, contrary to popular belief, Kuwait has no oil. The important fact is that Kuwait's border happens to abut Iraq's massive Rumaila oil field, and this was the source of its riches. While Iraq was distracted by its war with Iran, Kuwait had gradually moved its border with Iraq sufficiently far to gain access to Iraq's oil. But this still wasn't sufficient because the oil fields were still very much in Iraqi territory.
If you have never been in the oil business, you won't know what 'directional drilling' is, so let me tell you. When we think of drilling an oil well, we assume the drilling is vertical, with the drill pipe going straight down into the ground, but that doesn't always happen. Oil wells can be drilled almost horizontally. You can see in the photo that the drill pipe is entering the ground nearly horizontally. There are many good reasons for doing this directional drilling, and some bad ones. One of the latter occurs when I have land that contains no oil, but that is next to your very large and profitable oil field. The easy solution for me is to drill from my land at a shallow angle into your oil reservoir, and steal all your oil. The Kuwaitis proceeded to do just that, and it proved so profitable that the Kuwaiti Sheik, with the support of the Americans, purchased the Santa Fe Drilling Corporation of Alhambra, California, for $2.3 billion, and proceeded to use its directional drilling equipment to gain access to Iraq's oil field. These directional drilling rigs can be disguised, hidden in bushes or a small forest of trees, or even buildings, and if you aren't paying attention, you will never know that someone is stealing your oil.
But Saddam Hussein was paying attention, and he did know that Kuwait was siphoning off millions of barrels of his oil, and had by that time effectively stolen billions of dollars’ worth of Iraq oil under the protection of the Western powers. Diplomatic entreaties, persuasion, discussions, pleas to the West for intervention, all availed nothing. Finally, in September of 1990, Saddam had several meetings with official representatives of the US State Department where he outlined his options and told the US he saw only a military solution to the problem. In each case, he specifically asked what would be the US response if he found this option necessary. Those meetings were recorded and documented, and transcripts were produced which were not disputed by the US State Department. In one case, US Ambassador April Glaspie informed Hussein that "We have no opinion on...conflicts like your border disagreement with Kuwait". She reiterated this position several times, and added, "Secretary of State James Baker has directed our official spokesman to emphasize this instruction." Other responses were identical; the US officially informed Iraq that it had no opinion and would take no action if Iraq involved itself in what the US called "a local dispute".
In any case, Kuwait as a "country" in no way deserved defending, and not only because it was a thief. The ruling family installed by the British was dictatorial and brutal, suppressing the small population and intimidating journalists into silence and foreign workers into indentured servitude and near-slavery.
A week before Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, two other State Secretary spokespersons, Margaret Tutwiler and John Kelly both stated publicly that "the United States was not obligated to come to Kuwait's aid if it were attacked." As well, Kelly testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee that the United States had "no defense treaty relationship with any Gulf country". So, it wasn't exactly a surprise that Saddam believed he could reclaim his province of Kuwait and stop the oil thefts. President Bush's White House appeared to provide him with full support and guarantees of immunity. Acting on this assurance, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and quickly gained control of the country. But this had no sooner happened than the US, with trumped-up UN support, demanded the immediate withdrawal of Iraqi forces. In a state of shock, Iraq made attempts to negotiate a withdrawal, but these were rebuffed by the US and it was then discovered that American military forces in the region had already rehearsed battle plans to repel an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. In fact, George Bush and the US State Department had double-crossed Saddam and used his action as an excuse for an invasion of Iraq they had already planned. They set him up, led him to believe he had their support, and then betrayed him. It was reported that Saddam had put out a hit contract on George Bush for the double-cross. No evidence was presented to support this assertion but, if it were true, it would hardly be a surprise.
Shortly thereafter, the US and other allied forces launched a devastating attack on Iraq and its armed forces in Kuwait. The US media portrayed the Iraqi military as a global threat and as a formidable military opponent, but Iraq was still weak from its war with Iran and the US attack was one-sided in the extreme. The US sent more than 500,000 troops to the war, but incurred only 148 deaths, many from "friendly fire", while Iraq suffered at least 100,000 deaths and another 300,000 wounded. The intense war destroyed 80% of Iraq's total weaponry, and the US was unremitting in its savagery. There were confirmed reports that an Iraqi artillery battalion consisting of 150,000 men and a large number of vehicles and armaments had ceased their retreat and were waving white flags in surrender when the US ordered an all-out air strike and killed virtually the entire battalion. Another 12,000 who wanted to surrender were massacred in their trenches and left buried by the US in mass graves. This was famed as Iraq’s “Highway of Death”, where the Americans literally slaughtered 150,000 soldiers who had surrendered and were retreating.  But all we heard from the Jewish media was that "The international community expressed outrage" at the "forced annexation" of Kuwait, and the entire world demanded that Iraq be removed and "oil-rich Kuwait" have its "sovereignty" restored. Every word was a lie.
The Allied coalition consisted of Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan,Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Two pictures of Iraq’s Highway of Death (Source: Reddit + Amusing Planet)
But it wasn't only the Iraqi military that the US wanted to destroy. Most of the bombing was intended to damage or destroy Iraq's infrastructure. After the US ceased the initial hostilities, a reporter described the circumstances confronting the civilian population of Iraq: "A land that once had high levels of literacy and an advanced system of health-care has been devastated by the West. Its social structure is in ruins, its people are denied the basic necessities of existence. The targets included water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, electrical generating plants, oil refineries and communications centers." According to UN, some 60 per cent of the population had no regular access to clean water, and over 80 per cent of schools had been destroyed or needed substantial repairs. The result was absolute devastation for the civilian population, in violation of the Geneva conventions and all international law that prohibits deliberately targeting economic and social facilities.
Many of us have seen the dramatic IMAX movies of firefighters attempting to extinguish the oilwell fires in Kuwait, and we were all told of how Saddam, in a fit of pique at being driven out of Kuwait, set its wells on fire in defiance. But in the years since the war, the American Veterans Association has received numerous reports from veterans stating that US forces were responsible for setting the oil well fires. They state in detailed accounts how special teams moved behind the retreating Iraqi forces but ahead of the advancing Americans, and how they set explosive and incendiary charges on the well heads which were remotely detonated by their commanders as US forces advanced. They claim they were ordered to do this in order to sway public opinion and remove doubts about the evilness of Saddam's regime.
They claim that one month before the declaration of the Iraq war, Secretary of State James Baker signed a now-declassified US Army report that describes in detail how extensively Kuwait would be destroyed, how the oil wells would be set on fire, and then how it would all be rebuilt 'better than before'. It is their contention that only President Bush and his inner circle of corporate friends like Halliburton stood to profit from the ravages inflicted on Kuwait's petroleum installations. They claim that vast personal fortunes were made from destroying and then rebuilding Kuwait's oil infrastructure. The oil firefighting companies, the construction and services companies, and many more, earned tens of billions of dollars from this gigantic fraud.
One article written by investigative reporter Jon Rappoport, who personally interviewed American soldiers after this event, wrote: This veteran . . . states, "We were mustered into the briefing tent at which point a gentleman who I first had thought to be an American began to brief us on the operation [to burn the oil fields].  I was concerned because he was not wearing a US uniform and insignias. . . . may also be implying that the operation to burn the oil fields was not, at the highest levels, a US government plot, although it used small groups of US soldiers. The briefer may have represented more shadowy power players." And this takes us back to the bankers in The City of London, which is where this atrocity certainly originated.
Having accomplished this first step in damaging Iraq, the US then pushed a series of economic sanctions through the UN that was intended to strangle the country and make it ripe for a final takeover. One of the most inhumane acts was the targeting of Iraq's water supplies and water purification systems during the invasion. Then the sanctions were applied to all replacement supplies and parts, to ensure that Iraq could not repair its water system, a process deliberately planned to degrade the country's water supply and deny the population access to clean water. Small children were the most susceptible to diseases from contaminated water, and the death toll from this one source has been widely estimated at more than 500,000 children in only a few years. The Americans were unbelievably callous about the loss of life.
I cannot avoid mention here of Madeleine Albright, then US Secretary of State, the most prolific baby-killer in the history of the world, who engineered the destruction of Iraq’s water facilities and sanctions to prevent replacement or repair, and who was single-handedly responsible for the deaths of at least 500,000 infants during the inter-war period, to say nothing of the elderly and infirm. In a famous TV interview, Albright was told by Leslie Stahl on the TV program 60 Minutes that more than half a million children had died because the sanctions she designed and instituted, to which she replied that she thought "the price was worth it". In other words, killing half a million children was a small price to pay when grooming a nation for conquest.  You can watch this insane psychopath here on YouTube, making her famous statement.
It’s worth noting that the New York Times gave Albright a glowing obituary for her contributions to humanity, as it does for all Jews, regardless of the human atrocities they commit. "Admirers said she had a star quality, radiating practicality, versatility and a refreshingly cosmopolitan flair. She was a diminutive presence with an assured style: impeccably tailored and perfectly coifed, with touches of gold or pearl in her brooches, an amused smile for the cognoscenti and eyes that missed nothing."
And that final conquest was in the planning years prior to 9-11. After the US invaded Afghanistan, it quickly turned its sights on Iraq and began the standard American process of using the media to demonise a nation it intends to invade. Americans and the world were fed a constant diet of stories, each more horrid than the other, about the evils of the Iraqi government. The world was told Iraq possessed nuclear weapons which could be launched on 15 minutes notice against Israel and the US, that Iraq possessed enormous quantities of biological and chemical weapons and was prepared to unleash them in a pre-emptive war. Every claim was later proved to be a lie, a complete fabrication, but the media onslaught served to turn the American population and much of the Western world against Iraq, sufficient to justify yet another "regime change".
The final Iraq war was presented first at locating and disarming Iraq's nuclear weapons, then when that proved to be false, the story was amended to "introducing democracy to Iraq". Democracy indeed. It would be difficult to cite many other historical examples of one nation destroying another so completely, crushing and perverting virtually every aspect of their society and humanity. Almost all public services, including electricity, water, sanitation systems, were almost entirely destroyed by US bombing, deliberately destroyed. Moreover, the eight years of economic sanctions were called (by the US) "the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind", creating widespread devastation of every aspect of the lives of the Iraqi population. The US has a long record of bombing nations, reducing entire cities to rubble, destroying the infrastructure and ruining the lives of those the bombs didn’t kill. And doing nothing afterward to repair the damage, leaving a shattered and impoverished population to fend for themselves as best they can while the US multinationals begin their looting of the nation's resources. Iraq is just one more example of the apparently limitless American and Zionist appetite for war and profit.
Following the invasion and destruction, in a bid to deflect some of the international criticism, the US government claimed it had been "misled by bad intelligence", that the CIA, Israel's Mossad, the NSA and other agencies simply misread the facts and arrived at incorrect conclusions. Of course, those admissions of having invaded and destroyed a nation for absolutely no justifiable reason did not lead to an apology or evacuation. Instead, the US simply continued on its planned course of colonisation. Although, to be fair, George Bush did receive at least one bit of "bad intelligence", this being assurance from the Jewish neo-con and Zionist Paul Wolfowitz that Iraq's oil reserves would pay for the war within two to three years after the invasion. Wolfowitz was dead wrong, of course, but he was nevertheless rewarded for his sterling service by being given the position of presidency of the World Bank.
The US made much of claims that Saddam had expelled UN weapons inspectors searching for the so-called WMDs, but he had never done any such thing. The head of the inspection team was later widely criticised for ordering his inspectors to leave Baghdad in anticipation of the US attack. And it has been well documented that Iraq's accusation of the weapons inspectors being used as spies in preparation for the already-planned US invasion, was very true. The UN and US so-called weapons inspectors were not searching for things they already knew didn't exist, but were in fact advance scouts for the US military, obtaining accurate GPS coordinates for infrastructure locations the US wanted to destroy. Everything about the US invasion of Iraq was a lie, perpetrated in the dirtiest manner and with the full compliance of the Western media.
Incinerated Iraqi soldier on the highway of death.This photo was taken by Ken Jarecke, his quote:
“If I don’t photograph this, people like my mom will think war is what they see on TV”.
"We subjected Iraq to the most intense aerial bombing campaign ever waged in the history of war. We deliberately destroyed their civilian and industrial infrastructure. We fired almost a million rounds of Depleted Uranium ammunition at them. We imposed economic sanctions on them that killed 5000 people every month. Our governments lied about it all, and the media, on the whole, either kept quiet or faithfully acted as their mouthpiece. Our governments and their media outlets did everything they possibly could to keep the truth from the public." Among the Westerners to visit Iraq after the war, John Pilger produced a famous film titled "Paying the Price", and Miriam Ryle produced a great documentary titled "Voices from Iraq" that documented the terrible conditions there, but no American TV stations would air her film. US media support for the criminal destruction of Iraq was total.
In the end, as William Blum so nicely put it, "We must keep in mind that thanks to this lovely little war more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled, traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally displaced, or in foreign exile". "What happened to Iraq was a template for future wars. It was devastatingly simple. Destroy the means of industrialised civilian life, destroy the water supply and sanitation system, destroy the electricity supply, freeze their assets, isolate the country with sanctions, gag the media, then sit back and relax whilst an entire nation degenerates into epidemics, poverty and starvation. And as a shattered future generation emerges, you will find the people more malleable and receptive to your 'influence'." "The Iraqi people see clearly that the greatest enemy to their well-being and culture is the Western value system itself. They know what it really means to be the target of Western humanitarian bombing, the blatant cruelty and insanity of American policy."
Defense Secretary Richard B. Cheney, at a breakfast with reporters, said every Iraqi target was "perfectly legitimate" and added, "If I had to do it over again, I would do exactly the same thing." Source
There is much more to the tale of Iraq than described here. The next two chapters provide a more adequate description.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
His full archive can be seen at
He can be contacted at:
 Sheikhdom of Kuwait
 Kuwait marks 60 years of
independence from Britain
 Independence for Kuwait
 APRIL GLASPIE MADE
STATEMENT TO PRES. HUSSEIN LEADING TO FIRST IRAQI-AMERICAN WAR
 Gulf War Documents:
Meeting between Saddam Hussein and US Ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie
 . . . AND THE TALE OF A
CONFRONTATION IN THE GULF; U.S. Gave Iraq Little Reason Not to Mount Kuwait
 Iraqi Forces Were
Annihilated While Retreating On 'The Highway Of Death' 25 Years Ago
 Highway of Death, a tragic memory of
the Gulf War
Remembering the Iraqi
withdrawal from Kuwait and the Highway of Death
 Highway of Death, the
result of American forces bombing retreating Iraqi forces, Kuwait, 1991
 Gulf War Vet Group: US
Troops Set Kuwait Oil Fires
 Let’s remember Madeleine
Albright for who she really was
 Madeleine Albright says 500,000 dead Iraqi Children was
"worth it" wins Medal of Freedom
 Madeleine Albright, First
Woman to Serve as Secretary of State, Dies at 84
Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Blue Moon of Shanghai, Moon of Shanghai, 2023