Dr. Susmit Kumar

Franklin D. Roosevelt once remarked about Nicaragua’s pro-American dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.” Following the policy implicit in this attitude, the U.S. overthrew democratically elected governments in several countries during the Cold War and installed puppet dictators in order to fight the Soviet Empire. It also used Communist China in this fight. Hence in my 1995 article, I wrote, “Iraq would have been a natural ally of the West like Turkey in fighting the rising Islamic fundamentalist states—a vital fact if these countries become a big threat to world peace. It was primarily Iraq who helped the West stem the rise of Islamic fundamentalists by waging the war with Iran.”[1] But under the influence of neocons, the US administrations, especially, the Bush, Jr.’s administration committed the blunder mistake of getting rid of Saddam Hussein from Iraq.

Yes it is true that Saddam Hussien was a brutal dictator. But Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Syria were the only two Middle East countries where Christians felt safe. Although ruled by brutal dictators, they were secular. Instead of taking out Saddam, the U.S. could have taken his help fighting a bigger evil—al-Qaeda. Saddam was a brutal dictator, but the U.S. supported many dictators during the Cold War and is doing so now as well—in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan, to name a few. In our 1995 article, we wrote, “Iraq would have been a natural ally of the West like Turkey in fighting the rising Islamic fundamentalist states—a vital fact if these countries become a big threat to world peace. It was primarily Iraq who helped the West stem the rise of Islamic fundamentalists by waging the war with Iran.”[2] In fact, all of Iraq’s neighbors (Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Arab League) except Israel and Kuwait opposed the military attack on Saddam.

According to a 2004 report by Charles A. Duelfer, the CIA’s chief weapons inspector, in Saddam Hussein’s view the U.S. and Iraq should have been close allies. He could have helped curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and he offered to become America’s “best friend in the region, bar none.” This report was based on a variety of sources, including interrogations of Hussein himself.[3]

According to a document found with Saddam Hussein when he was captured, he warned his Iraqi supporters to be wary of joining forces with foreign Arab fighters entering Iraq to battle American troops. The document appeared to be a directive, written after he lost power, from Mr. Hussein to leaders of the Iraqi resistance, counseling caution against getting too close to Islamic jihadiis and other foreign Arabs coming into the country, according to American officials.[4]

Officials familiar with the document said Mr. Hussein apparently believed that foreign Arabs, eager for a holy war against the West, had an agenda different from the Baathists’, who were eager for their own return to power in Baghdad. In addition, CIA interrogators elicited from top Qaeda officials in custody that, before the American invasion, Osama bin Laden had rejected entreaties from some of his lieutenants to work jointly with the Iraqi leader. [5]


 

1 Kumar, Susmit, “Christian vs. Islamic Civilization: Another Cold War?,” Global Times, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 15, 1995, p. 26.

2 Kumar, Susmit, “Christian vs. Islamic Civilization: Another Cold War?,” Global Times, Copenhagen, Denmark, December 15, 1995, p. 26.

3 Drogin, Bob, “Through Hussein’s looking glass,” Los Angeles Times, October 12, 2004.

4 Risen, James, “Hussein warned Iraqis to beware outside fighters, document says,” The New York Times, January 14, 2004.

5 Ibid.