The fact that Iraq is predominantly Muslim does not mean it is going to attack the United States. The recent history of Iraq shows that it has been involved in conflicts over land with its neighbors. It is therefore quite unlikely Iraq would wish to randomly kill American people -- it seems to be mainly concerned with land. The main reasons why Iraq does not like America are that the United States has been very persistent in the United Nations about maintaining the sanctions, and that the United States led Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. Countries such as France and Russia have long asked for lifting of the sanctions, realizing that it is unrealistic to expect full disarmament of Iraq.
The current president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, came to power in 1979 when he as head of Iraq’s ruling party replaced the president, Ahmed Hasan Al-Bakr. During the time Saddam has ruled Iraq there have been two major wars. Both of the wars were initiated by Saddam.
The first war with Iran began on Sept. 22, 1980. The reason behind it was a land dispute; however, the war lasted eight years and ended with no territorial gains by either of the sides but with heavy costs to both of the countries involved.
The second war began in August of 1990 and this time it was about a land dispute with Kuwait and the oil that Kuwait was mining in the disputed region. The use of force and quick occupation of Kuwait was widely criticized by many countries, causing the United Nations to pass sanctions against Iraq. The sanctions did not affect the will of Saddam, so the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution that authorized the member states to use power against Iraq. It took six weeks for the troops of 28 countries, led by U.S. forces, to regain Kuwait from the Iraq. The operation was nicknamed Desert Storm.
The ceasefire reached by the end of Desert Storm called for Iraq to destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction. The sanctions would only be lifted when all of the weapons would be destroyed.
Now clearly Saddam was unwilling to destroy all of his weapons, leaving his country unprotected within close distance of its former opponents Iran and Israel, just to name a few. It is obvious that Saddam and the Iraqi people don’t like the United States for not lifting the sanctions and not allowing them to develop. On the other hand, a full disarmament would mean that Iraq would not be able to defend itself against future attacks it might have to endure.
If Iraq dislikes the United States because of the sanctions and now the United States is going to attack Iraq because Iraq dislikes it, should we not just lift the sanctions?
Janis Sermulins is a member of the Class of 2004.