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Rhythm of Thought

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In April 2017 the United States’ military launched cruise missile attack on a Syrian airfield in response to Bashar al-Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons. It was the first time the US directly bombed the Syrian regime. Donald Trump was the instigator and it was a warning shot to alert Assad there is a new Commander-in-Chief in Washington.
One year after, the United States and its European allies launched airstrikes against Syrian research, storage and military targets in efforts to deal with President Assad for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus that killed more than 40 people.

The use of chemical weapons is condemnable and the world must do more to ensure that no nation or leader applies them under any circumstance. However, it is important to draw attention to the double standard of the big powers on the question of the development and use of Chemical Warfare.

Towards the end of the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988), Iraq used chemical weapons on military and civilian targets killing nothing less than 50,000 Iranians. During the period the US gave Iraq the required support against the theocratic revolutionary government in Iran. The United Nations Security Council after investigating Iraq’s use of chemical warfare, made a resolution condemning Iraq for the mass murder.
Records have it that the United States was the only member of the Security Council that voted against the resolution in clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925. After aiding Iraq’s use of Chemical Warfare when the going was good and turning around to accuse it of plotting to harm the world using Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) smacks off double standard.

Saddam Hussein
In reference to the 2013 Syria use of chemical weapons against rebel stronghold, I criticized the US for the move to invade Syria when its interest was threatened, forgetting that a generation ago its military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop series of nerve gas attacks on Iranians far more devastating than anything Syria has seen. CIA declassified documents and interviews indicate that the United States had firm evidence of Iraqi chemical attacks beginning in 1983.

Iraq developed chemical weapons through the support of mostly European countries. Germany was crucial in activating Iraq’s chemical weapon programme. Saddam Hussein’s regime succeeded in establishing a complex network of companies, individuals and countries in its chemical weapon ambition. Countries behind the success Saddam recorded in his use of chemical weapons on Iranians and the Kurds in Iraq are Italy, Sweden, France, the Netherlands and the United States of America.

US deep involvement in the production of Iraq’s chemical weapon has been overwhelmingly validated by a 2014 New York Times report detailing how US soldiers were repeatedly injured from 2004-2011 in Iraq by chemical weapons abandoned years before the invasion. From the report, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs. The report states that these remnants of Iraq’s long abandoned weapons were products built in collaboration with the West. Notwithstanding, the United States failed to publicize what it saw in Iraq after invading the country under the guise of looking for WMD.

Part of the report:

In five of six incidents in which troops were wounded by chemical agents, the ammunitions appeared to have be designed in the United States, manufactured in Europe and filled in chemical agent production lines built in Iraq by western companies.

The United States did not bring this to media attention, perhaps it knew the embarrassment it would cause it after the high intensity campaign it mounted against the Saddam government knowing that it is a culprit in the same chemical weapon programme it sought to destroy.

In his 2003 State of the Union address, President Bush said Saddam Hussein had biological weapons material sufficient to produce over 25,000 litres of anthrax-enough doses to kill several millions. He also said Saddam Hussein had material sufficient to produce more than 38,000 litres of Botulinum toxin. The fear was this could be used on the US and its allies. In the wake of 9/11, there were fears that the terrorists had also declared biological warfare on America.
George W. Bush in his book “Decision Point” published in 2010 narrated how envelopes containing powdery substance suspected to be Botulinum were sent to Whitehouse, causing serious anxiety among government officials until it was discovered the powdery substance was not Botulinum. However, he reveals there were successful anthrax attacks that were immediately nipped in the bud. Saddam was accused of the anthrax attacks until the situation was exhaustively investigated by the justice department and FBI. It was then discovered that Dr. Bruce Ivins, a US government scientist who committed suicide in 2008 had executed the anthrax attack alone.

US role in what Iraq has become saddens.
Saddam’s bravado was amplified by its dealings with the West. The anarchy he became was aided by ambition and conspiracies.
It is left for nations of the Middle East to use their culture for the upliftment of the people.
There is no one formulae. It is a changing process that comes with development. But if forced from outside it leads to internal resistances that explode. Examples are Libya, Syria and Iraq.
Saddam was taken out but stockpiles of chemical weapons were not found.
Perhaps, the US deliberately went into Iraq knowing that the country had long destroyed its chemical weapons.

Meanwhile, it is relevant to ask why it took Saddam a long time to come clean on its weapon capability? Declassified FBI documents reveal that Saddam Hussein believed Iran his enemy and neighbour was a sufficient threat. Iraq had to pretend to possess chemical weapons to deter its enemy.
The documents also reveal that during interrogation after his arrest, Saddam denied any connections to Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden who he called a “zealot”.

The U.S feared the growth of Al Qaeda in Iraq but now has ISIS and other terrorist groups to contend with in the Middle East and rest of the world.
What a period to be born.

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