Saddam Hussein, Controlling Terrorism

‘Despite being a bad guy the way Saddam Hussein controlled terrorism in Iraq was worthy of praise because he actually got the job done.’                                                                     Donald Trump, 2016

Donald Trump praised Saddam Hussein’s ability to fight terrorism at the presidential North Carolina rally on Tuesday, saying that ‘Despite being a bad guy the way Saddam Hussein controlled terrorism in Iraq was worthy of praise because he actually got the job done.’

The Rise of Terrorism

5 years on from 9/11 George Bush took center stage at the Oval Office to declare that Saddam Hussein had no hand in the 9/11 terror attack but urged his fellow Americans to continue to support the war in Iraq and went on to say that
“Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone. They will not leave us alone. They will follow us,” for once, he was right.

Whether on not you believe that Saddam Hussein was ever a prominent threat to America is in itself debatable however what is becoming increasingly accepted and what Trump himself has stated several times in the past is that with the removal of Saddam Hussein there was no longer anyone on home soil capable of keeping a lid on terrorism in Iraq and as such it escalated. A point Trump presented in a May 2015 interview with Fox News.

The darker side of Saddam Hussein that everyone is talking about however is the war crimes and genocide he committed pre 1990.

According to various reports, the majority of the deaths caused by Saddam Hussein’s campaigns were against the Kurds who he saw as an imminent threat to the success of Iraq and for good reason. At the time it had been well established that since 1982 Kurdish and Shia rebellion were actively attempting to other throw the Iraqi government and elsewhere had a history of terrorism in countries such as Turkey.

By today’s standards a portion of Iraqi Kurds, otherwise recognized on various terrorist watch lists, including those of America and the United Nations as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) placing them in a similar category to Al Qaeda and ISIS – both of which have risen to prominence either at the current time or in the past, both reaching their peak after the removal of Saddam Hussein from office.

The PKK alone has been accountable for causing problems with Turkey since 1978 and accounting for a reported 40,000 – 45,000 deaths. Although a small number in comparison with the 50,000 – 180,000 Kurds killed under Saddam Hussein’s watch by means of chemical warfare, the problem may have been much worse had action not been taken in  the early days when a threat was unidentified.

Such was the case prior to the 9/11 attacks. One may rightfully question if the attacks would have indeed happened if Bill Clintons administration of the 90s had of acted more strongly when first presented with the threat of Osama Bin Laden of whom they not only had intelligence of but also knew of his location and also had several opportunities to take him out.

Despite Clinton arguing he tried hard and failed to prevent 9/11 the case still remains that as a result of his failures thousands have died, many more have been injured, families have lost loved ones, the country has fallen into increasing amounts of debt and a war spanning across over a decade has resulted in far greater problems than ever imagined.

An answer still hidden somewhere in the universe yet to be discovered.

Who exactly is Saddam Hussein?

A little digging into Saddam Hussein would show us that he was the fifth president of Iraq who was in office from July 1979 – April 2003 and later executed by means of hanging on December 23rd 2006 under the control of the Iraqi Interim Government in coalition with the American government, for war crimes and crimes against humanity pertaining to the genocide of at least 250,000 Iraqis including 148 Iraqi Shiites (now know as Sunnis) in 1982 and the suppression of Shia and Kurdish rebellion forces seeking to overthrow the Iraqi government.

It is widely accepted that Saddam was a bad man in many respects and condemned for the brutality Of his dictatorship something that no one including Donald Trump is claiming to deny.

However, it is important to note that during his presidency in Iraq he accomplished something great and this is where Trump was coming from during his speech at  during his reign terrorism was at a low and the Middle East for the most part was stable, something that Hussein managed to accomplish through hard and fast methods in far less time and with an assumingly far fewer casualties, than the unsuccessful 13+ years it has taken since the American government the region in 2003.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

In 2003 the American government under the leadership of George Bush in coalition with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, entered Iraq under the pretense that Saddam Hussein had in his possession Weapons of Mass Destruction. Upon the conclusion of their search however they found no weapons in Hussein’s possession aside from often empty chemical weapon shells from pre 1991 supplied by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld under the watch of Ronald Reagan’s during the American- Iraq collation in the war with Iran.

Despite having never found any weapons of mass destruction, some conspire that Saddam in 1991 secretly went about destroying his own weapons of mass destruction after declaring his apparent weaponry stock to the American government. With this in mind, the American / British government declared war on Iraq assuming them to still be in the possession of such weaponry. Regardless however, no weapons were ever found.

Al Qaeda Links

Despite Dick Cheney claiming that Saddam Hussein had links to Al Qaeda, the 9/11 commission established by George Bush and the American congress following the September 11 attacks in New York released in a 2004 that “To date we have seen no evidence that these or the earlier contacts ever developed into a collaborative operational relationship… Nor have we seen evidence indicating that Iraq cooperated with al-Qaeda in developing or carrying out any attacks against the United States.”

Furthermore, a 2007 report released by the Institute for Defense Analyses a sector of Pentagon’s Joint Forces Command, based on over half a million seized Iraqi documents reiterated that they had “found no ‘smoking gun’ (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam’s Iraq and al-Qaeda” and that “To the fundamentalist leadership of al-Qaeda, Saddam represented the worst kind of ‘apostate’ regime,” with “A secular police state well-practiced in suppressing internal challenges.”

Despite this Cheney refuses to back down and as the Washington Post reported in 2014, Cheney argues that documents suggest that Saddam and Al Qaeda held a deep and long-standing relationship that “Saddam provided funding, training, and other support to numerous terrorist organizations and individuals over decades, including to Ayman al Zawahiri, the man who leads al Qaeda today.”

The document Cheney refers to however reportedly “lacks in evidence” which is backed up in  Former CIA director, George Tennet’s memoir ‘At The Centre of the Storm‘ where he stated that the alleged relationship between Al Qaeda and Saddam “goes way beyond what the intelligence shows.” The CIA has also since gone on to say that, “they could not translate this data into a relationship where the two entities had ever moved beyond seeking ways to take advantage of each other.”

From this and similar reports I feel we can safely assume that although Saddam was in some way linked to Al Qaeda the ‘relationship’ was both an unlikely threat to America and due to the scarcity of solid evidence, not as deep or as meaningful as Cheney would have one believe.

Public Opinion

In recent times it has often been suggested that public opinion overwhelmingly saw the war with Iraq as unjustified and as Trump and other public figures have often claimed, the end result of invading Iraq was the rise of terrorist groups and the mass destabilization of the Middle East, resulting in greater warfare than previously existed.

With soaring numbers of terrorist attacks being recorded around the globe, where will the war on terror end and who will be the one to say enough is enough?

– The Rambler, July 2016.

 

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