Great moments in US foreign policy
Washington’s armchair assassins like Trent Lott who urge that we just take Saddam out are ignoring fifty years of less-than-stellar spook involvement in the Middle East. Here are some highlights collated by Eric Margolis of the Toronto Sun:
1947: CIA helps to mount a coup in Syria putting in power a dictator who they call our “our boy.” Dictator doesn’t like it. US has never had good relations with Syria since and two US-backed coups have failed.
1952: US helps in coup by Gammal Abdel Nasser. Nasser later became the Saddam Hussein of his era but CIA attempts to overthrow or assassinate him fail.
1953: CIA puts Shah in control of Iran. Shah uses US-trained secret police to suppress dissent helping to create the Islamic revolution.
1958: US installs a puppet regime in Lebanon, thus beginning 35 years of instability and civil war.
1958: CIA helps to put a promising young Iraqi leader in power: Saddam Hussein.
1960: Anwar Sadat goes on CIA payroll and the agency helps put him in power after Nassar’s death. He is eventually assassinated.
1969: CIA overthrows Libya’s British puppet King Idris, replacing him with a young reformist colonel, Muammar Khadaffi.
1976: US, Iran and Israel arm Iraqi Kurds in an effort to destabilize Iraq. One result: the Iran-Iraq war in which one million die.
1980: Hussein becomes America’s most important ally against Iran. Assistance includes access to biological and chemical weapons. <emphasis added>
1983: Efforts by US to install a Christian fascist in Lebanon and drive out the Syrians backfires when 309 Americans die in a bomb blast.
1996: Clinton orders a CIA coup against Hussein but plot is discovered by the Iraqi government, which destroys the whole CIA operation in Iraq and leads to the firing of CIA director John Deutch.
Says the Sun’s Margolis: “Republicans now urge more of the above, to keep the Mid East calm. You certainly can’t argue with success.”