The Republic of Iraq: A Leading Nation in the Middle East

Table of Content

Introduction and Background

The Republic of Iraq is a leading nation in the Middle East. It is bordered to the north by Turkey; to the west by Syria and Jordan; to the south by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; and to the east by Iran. Central Iraq is bisected by the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. Once known as Mesopotamia (“the land between the rivers”), it was a cradle of ancient civilization. The name Iraq, which means “cliff” in Arabic, refers to the remains of a cliff formation in the area.

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After Arab Muslims conquered Iraq in the 7th century A.D., they made it a center of Islamic culture. In the 13th century Iraq declined. In the 17th century it came under rule of the Ottoman Empire. Following World War I, the European powers fixed the boundaries of the modern state, and Britain installed a monarch. Iraq gained full independence in 1932; a military coup ended the monarchy in 1958. Independent Iraq has played a major role in regional affairs. Unfortunately, two wars in the 1980s and 1990s—the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) and the 1991 Persian Gulf War—plus the 2003 Iraq War have left the country economically crippled and bitterly divided. (Shogan, P1)

The Persian Gulf War had its relations with the incident of 11th September that happened in United States i.e. the terrorist attack at the world trade centre. The war started in July 1990 when Iraq attacked and occupied its neighbor Kuwait which lies south of Iraq. And the US named the war as Operation Iraqi Freedom. When all the negotiations and hard work to convince Iraq to leave Kuwait failed, it was decided to start a military operation against Iraq. This military operation was launched by the United States and many other international countries. As operation continued Kuwait soon came out of trouble. The United Nations allowed Hussein to retain his rule and power but under some strict rules and regulations. (Shogan, P1)

To maintain peace in future the UN imposed strict ban, rules and regulation on Iraq and said that it they will only remove these sanctions if Iraq could prove that they do not hold and heavy weaponry. Even the exporting of oil was banned which is the main source of Iraq’s revenue. This ban on oil further worsened the economic situation of Iraq which increased the sufferings of the Iraqi people. This severe situation in Iraq led to a world wide disparity over the strict and unfair sanction being imposed on the Iraqis.

Hussein continued his work ignoring the rules and regulation made by the UN during 1990’s. Moreover his Atrocious behavior with his challengers inside the country (i.e. the Kurds and Shia Muslims) further annoyed the international society. Following the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001 in United States, President of United States George W. Bush and his advisors feared the US security and contented Iraq of possessing heavy weaponry. They feared because according to the US the Al Qaeda (terrorist responsible for attacks) had relations with the Iraqi government.  (Shogan, P1)

President George W. Bush in the Union Address of State at January 2002 called Iraq an “axis of evil”. He further blamed Iraq of producing heavy weaponry in the UN Assembly at September 2002 and warned Iraq of a military action that might be taken if Iraq continued to develop heavy weaponry. Supporting the ideas and ambitions of George W. Bush the congress taking no time and passed a declaration which allowed the use of military action against Iraq.

Following this in November, the Security Council of the UN adopted the 1441 Resolution which imposed strict regulations and inspection of heavy weaponry in Iraq. But Iraq persistently denied it that they had heavy weaponry and nor did the Inspectors of UN found any of it. But Bush was not convinced by this.

To take military action against Iraq the United States asked for another resolution from the United Nations on 24th of February 2003.In this case Germany, France and Russia insisted on further inspections while this United States gained the full support of the Great Britain. Which maid the relation of United States with these countries a little tense especially with the France the oldest of its allies. But Bush would not turn his back from his ambitions to remove Hussein from Iraq however there have been many anti-war protest in many cities both in and outside United States. (Shogan, P1)

President George W. Bush not gaining support from UN dumped all his attempts to gain it and on 17 March threatened Saddam Hussein to leave his power and Iraq or have a war within 48 hours. After 48 hours i.e. on 19 March having no response from Saddam a mid-air attack was made by the United States on the capital city of Iraq that is the Baghdad. The United Nations did not approve the war but United States got support from 45 nations and military support from Australia, Britain and Poland. Turkey allowed the US to use there air space but disregarded the plan of US troops to attack from Turkey. (Shogan, P1)

U.S.A’s reasons for attacking Iraq

Bush administration in calling for war against Iraq was joined by the Vice President Dick Cheney. Without any provision of evidences he declared that, to use against United States and allies, Saddam Hussein is building up stocks of mass destruction. However it would be disbelieving that U.S.A’s reasons are ever-changing, in order to invade a comparatively poor and small country. (Eland, P1)

Therefore a deeper analysis of the reasons for the Iraq invasion from the U.S forces has been identified as follows:

·         Suspected Involvement of Saddam Hussein in 9/11 attacks and with Al-Qaeda:

The so-called meetings held at Prague between an Iraqi intelligence agent and the instigator of the 11th September attacks have proven to be in disagreement to corroborate. Moreover, if they are proved to be true at any case then their implications of involvement of Saddam Hussein in terms of any financing or planning seem to be minimal. Although it is quite true that the presence of the Al-Qaeda forces could be felt in Iraq, but then too it misleading that there is any involvement from Saddam Hussein, as one of the U.S. officials noted that there haven’t been evidences of Saddam’s involvement in protecting any such terrorists, and with a more disinterested opinion that however this can be predicted. They also stated that other than Iraq there are 43 countries where the evidences of Al-Qaeda’s presence could be felt, however there is no discussion about the removal of the governments of these counties. (Eland, P1)

·         Iraq Identified as a Danger to Middle-East:

The Iraqi forces have been unable to reconstruct since the Gulf war as they were heavily overwhelmed, this was due to the introduction of worldwide permissions required in order to purchase newer weapons and encumbered efforts made towards acquisition of armed auxiliary parts. Therefore it is quite doubtful to understand the fact that United States which is about a half world distant from Iraq claims to be more precautious about Iraq then the neighbors of Iraq itself. Like the dictating rulers of the Saudi Arabia are lesser concerned to the so-called fear from Iraq. Rather they are more worried about the misconceptions among the Islamic states, created by the U.S against Iraq, by safeguarding the Saudi monarchy from Iraqi practices. (Eland, P1)

·         The Possibility o Iraq’s Nuclear Attack on United States :

President Cheney warned that, Saddam will nearly use hi mass destruction weapons against the U.S. but it is also the case that Iraq had always possessed chemical and biological weapons specially noted, at the moment of the Gulf war, and has been constantly  discouraged by the American armory, to make use of them against the U.S. In addition Cheney adds that soon Iraq will acquire or produce its own nuclear weapons, however it is not certain when?  And those United States invasions in the Soviet Union and the Maoist China were not due their acquisition of nuclear weaponry, if United States was able to prevent such enormous powers to use their weaponry, due to its nuclear armory, then it would have been able to prevent Iraq as well. But the failure to contain Iraq will occur only if Hussein proves to be unreasonable. But it is the case that Saddam has been more rational then the unreliable Kim Jong I of the North Korea or the other autocrats running Iran. Furthermore Iran and North Korea both are practicing a nuclear plan and are closer than Iraq to develop heavy nuclear missiles and weaponry. In addition Pakistan, a nuclear state, where Islamic elements are expected to takeover, is far more a threat as compared to Iraq. The why there is a deliberate emphasis, although totally absurd, on the threat from the Iraqi nuclear plan?

According to the outcomes of the survey carried out by the U.S Department of Defense, it is stated that the potential threats to U.S and its allies are 12 nations which posses nuclear programs, 28 countries have ballistic missiles, 13 have biological weapons, 16 have chemical weapons. It is therefore not absurd to ash that why and how Iraq is more threatening than other countries possessing mass destruction weapons, including scalawag states like North Korea, Libya, Iran and Syria?  (Eland, P1)

·         Use of Nuclear Weapons by Iraq:

Although it is however true that Iraq has done so, but Iraq is not alone, other mischief countries, stated before i.e. Libya, North Korea and Syria, have invaded their neighbors, and in addition Libya had invaded Chad, and used chemical weapons in this invasion.

·         U.S’s assumption that Saddam Hussein will give its weaponry to Al-Qaeda:

It is quite true that cultural and ideological similarities do exist between Iran and Al-Qaeda, as compared to similarities between these terrorist groups and the Iraq. It is the case that Al-Qaeda is a fundamentalist Islamic assembly which seeks to overthrow the dishonest material administrations in the Middle East. Therefore it is not abnormal for Saddam Hussein’s doubtfulness that he would be comfortable that his weapons are used against him.

As a matter of fact the administration of the U.S concerned departments have been unable to prove that in what ways Iraq is worse than the other despotic countries (discussed above)? Furthermore they are unable to identify Iraq as a threat to the United States.  Therefore world critics have suggested that U.S directions should not use the 11th September misfortune to adjust their historic settlements with Saddam Hussein. (Eland, P1)

OIL: The Point of Attraction in Iraq:

United States is generally recognized as a military and financially viable superpower, whereas, the position of Iraq in context with military is cautiously assessed. Here, we contemplate over present monetary state of affairs, and will focus the chief asset of Iraq’s economy, that is, oil. Iraq is believed to possess massive oil reserves by the oil professionals and is said to have around 10% of the whole world confirmed petroleum reserve. U.S. Energy Information conducted an appraisal in 2002 and affirmed that Iraq possesses about 112 billion barrels confirmed oil resources and thus stands second in the world ranking after Saudi Arabia. Moreover, according to this review around 220 billion barrels more oil is expected to be discovered in Iraq.

As this is simply estimation and the actual oil reserves possessed by Iraq may be far greater, nevertheless, these resources   have not been explored for years because of war and approvals. The immense desert land in the west of Iraq is known to have deep oil-bearing formations that if explored, may bring in huge added supply in oil. Thus, Iraq currently possesses enough oil reserves to cover the oil imports of US at present for about a period of hundred years. Iraq had 2.5 million barrels per day as an average production of oil in 2000-01.

 (Kaysen et al., p 52)

Course of the War

Fighting at the beginning did not go so easy for the United States. While going toward Baghdad north of Kuwait they received severe battle, lost men and had many casualties. One more Major problem from United States was not affecting civilians who might get killed while they use air attacks to fail retaliation from Iraq.

In an explosion on 28 March in Baghdad approximately 50 Iraqi lost their lives. And United States being accused of it. About 7 Iraqi got killed on 31 March which included innocent children and women. The military of United States fired on a van which did not stopped at the US Checkpoint. (Shogan, P1)

On 4th of April the US renamed the Saddam International Airport as Baghdad international and the US military seized its control. Soon US tanks began to patrol the city centre of Baghdad and on the other hand British took control over the city Basra which lies beside the Iranian border.

On 9th of April 2003, the US took complete control over Baghdad, where as Saddam Hussein fled which ended his rule on Iraq. (Deese, P1)

Taking complete control over Baghdad President George W. Bush boarded the USS Abraham Lincoln an air craft carrier. Where he declared that the United States and its allies have succeeded and main fighting operations are ended in Iraq. This six week combat with the Iraq’s defense had cost considerably as the Pentagon calculates and say: that they had cost 168 lives of which 138 are Americans and 30 are British. Many of which had been killed due to friendly fire or accidents. However the damage caused by the US to the Iraq is about 6500 Iraqi soldiers been taken as prisoners and thousands been killed. Some 1200 innocent Iraqi citizens being killed in the combat and due air bombing and shelling 5100 had been injured.

The combine forces of US and British had no time to rejoice there success. Firstly they had to contain and repress the extensive chaos and looting that occurred in Iraq. The lack of water and health care provisions amplified the threat of viruses. Another severe and continuous threat came from the insurgents who use to attack soldiers while on their duties. Of these armed Insurgents some were loyal to Hussein and others were to be staunch Muslims who hated American rule. (Deese, P1)

Prewar Developments

The world was surprised by Kuwait being invaded. U.S. plan of providing accommodation to Saddam Hussein was brought to an end by this. During the Israeli-Arab War of 1967, Iraq had finished its ambassadorial relations with the United States. In 1972 Iraq signed a truce of acquaintance with USSR and it was only by 1984 that it recommenced official dealings with the United States. In the 1980s when the Iraq-Iran War was going on the U.S. wanted and tried to offset the Iran’s authority and stop Tehran from being victorious and it wanted to this by increasing associations with Baghdad. The government of Bush and Reagan enhanced their acquisition of oil from Iraq this to improve Iraq-U.S. relations and to affect Iraqi conduct following the war though it failed. During the late 1980s, U.S. arranged huge agricultural projects, increased two-sided commerce and trade, while supplied information technology to Iran. Operation Staunch was a U.S. plan, which was to not to provide American weaponry to either Iraq or Iran and to stop all weapons going into Iran. By trying to provide ammunitions to Iran for hostages of U.S. enslaved in Lebanon Reagan’s government broke this plan. The consequential rumor turned out to be commonly termed as Iran contra affair or the Iran Gate.  (Stansfield, P1)

The U.S. started to reassess its plan toward Iraq during 1990. Iraq was intimidating to counterattack with chemical military hardware to an assault on it by Israel. Iraq made widespread criticism against the presence of the U.S. navy in the Persian Gulf and aggressively threatened U.A.E and Kuwait. The two states were blamed by Iraq for violating their contracts as like by decreasing production of oil as result discouraging world oil prices and making Iraq face losses of billion dollars which they received as yearly profit.  (Stansfield, P1)

Whole of the global community got unified to oppose the Iraqi invasion in Kuwait. In the beginning President George Bush found it a bit difficult to win local assistance to tackle Iraq influentially; however, the government faced difficulties in articulating a solitary principal cause for waging war against Iraq. President Bush was strongly criticized as the war was seen a plan to maintain U.S.’s energy supplies. Questions arose like ‘was the war to contest hostility, or was it only to secure the worldwide supplies of oil?’ and ‘why were other nations, more unswervingly anxious as users of oil from Persian Gulf, unwilling to consign armed forces and danger their people in war and also to bear the expenses of the war?’

In early August, Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd called troops from U.S. in Saudi Arab, after seeking advice from with U.S. Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney, to protect the empire from any more attack by the army of Iraq. This operation was termed as Operation Desert Shield. These quick- operation troops were equipped with light, more often than not shielding weapons. Afterwards they were toughened by extra soldiers and powerful weapons. To enforce Iraq out of Kuwait on 8th November of 1990, President Bush publicized an increase in army to give an aggressive opportunity termed as the Operation Desert Storm. The consequent huge increment consumed another 2 and half months. It included sea and air lift military exercises. (Stansfield, P1)

The U.S. Congress in 1991 chose to assist armed acts against Iraq following an astonishingly decisive debate, as the Security Council resolution had appealed for in the end of November which asked for aggressive retaliation if Baghdad didn’t leave Kuwait by 15 Jan. The use of American military abroad was to be ended unless it was really important for U.S. itself, as said this end to what can also be termed as the Vietnam Syndrome was brought about after the congressional vote. After occupying Kuwait Iraq’s administration denied letting more than four thousand Asian and Western citizens in Iraq to emigrate. These so-called hostages were to be used as supportive in negotiations and as a safeguard against attack by the union as Saddam Hussein had wished-for. By mid-December all were set free.  (Stansfield, P1)

Although Washington pressed for absolute withdrawal, the president of Iraq in the interim had introduced a chain of ambassadorial proposals to negotiate the withdrawal, beginning in August. Signing off private involvements by the presidents of the Soviet Union and France and the secretary-general of the U.N., over and above an ultimate caution in January that the United States would not let the position quo stand, Hussein determinedly upheld the assault on Kuwait. Discarding the majority of forecasts, he didn’t prefer to look for a route out of the conflict by making at least an incomplete removal of his army. Such an attempt would have staved off the conflict, yet as late as January. According to what Hussein apparently supposed that from the commencement, in start of August, the U.S. was resolutely steadfast to go to battle. Imposing intolerable harms on the union in a battle of grinding down would be his finest opportunity of survival according to what he might have concluded. (Stansfield, P1)

Air War

There were two phases of the armed operation in opposition to Iraq. To reduce the number of victims and fatalities, the allied forces having Norman Schwarzkopf, the U.S general leading units other than the Arabs and Khalid Sultan, the general from Saudi Arab leading the Arabian forces, practiced a line of attack starting with 5 weeks of severe aerial assault which was ended by attacks on land. Getting on its eighteen thousand carriers- and land based aircrafts; the U.S. got a move on the largest amount of raids. The rest were got on move by the French, Saudis and the British. The alliance set out scientifically superior weaponry, like the antimissile form of Patriot mechanism to defend against aerial attacks called the Tomahawk cruise missile, and targeting system availing infrared technology that clarified enemy tanks hidden in the sand. Its utilization of planes on no account earlier occupied in battle, for example the U.S. F-117A stealth fighter and British Tornado provided it with precision and armaments that weighed down the forces of Iraq. (Stansfield, P1)

Discriminatory video clips were watched by the world of attacks made by the alliance throughout the everyday broadcasted debriefings of the army. Officials that analyzed the events of the war, after the war, argued against the declarations of consistently advanced precision of alliance bombardments by use of smart bombard. Only seven percent of all the bombings done were credited to the smart bombs. Few hit the targets with exactness while others went off target due to failure in their laser regulation systems. (Stansfield, P1)

Iran was considered as neutral by Iraq as to what it intended. Iraq announced some weeks later than the August invasion that it was re-establishing its issue of Iraq-Iran boundary in the river way of Shatt-Al-Arab at the northern side of the Persian Gulf thus the Iraq-Iran war is far from ended. In fact, Iran did not bring its forces in the Persian Gulf War. To that degree, Hussein’s line of attack was flourishing; though, in a trial to protect a few of its armed potential, Iraq vacated one thirty seven of its planes to Iran throughout the aerial combat. To give emphasis to its ongoing aggression, Iran reserved ownership of the planes of Iraq following the warfare.

Ground War

The land fighting commenced at 4 A.M. on 24th February, 1991 (local time; 8 Prime Meridian on 23rd Feb, EST), and ended precisely for hundred hours. This chapter brought out a largely winning outflanking progress of the forces of Iraq. Schwarzkopf got occupied in an illusory tactic by organizing a huge amount of military as if to initiate a huge amphibious landing. The people of Iraq it seems that predicted that they too would be assaulted straight on. As a result, they had thickly secured those locations of defense. Schwarzkopf attacked from the behind of the forces of Iraq by moving the mass of his military north and west in a main utilization of helicopters. The severe aerial attacks that took place for five weeks attack had largely dispirited the frontier troops of Iraq, producing extensive abandonments. Residual frontier forces were rapidly destroyed or imprisoned with least alliance fatalities. Frontier leaders of Iraq had by now exhausted a great deal of their capability to converse with Baghdad.

The Iraqis instigated the enhanced form of the Soviet Scud missile counter to Israeli aims, as an endeavor to drag Israel into the war. Israel didn’t enter the war in retort of US influence and received batteries of Patriot antimissile from US. These missiles interrupted or else damaged most of the around eighty five missiles fired by Iraq in opposition to Israel and Saudi Arabia. (Stansfield, P1)

Pronouncement by President Bush to stop the war at ground on 28th February at around 8     a.m. was condemned. Through this Baghdad was able to release lot of military apparatus and workforce which were afterwards utilized for restraining the revolts by Kurdish and Shiite civilian after the war. Actually the President had delivered this statement in his personal justification that the war had achieved the expected directive by the Security Council. The mandate was to force Iraqi military out of Kuwait and Independence of Kuwait to be reinstated. This verdict might had an inspiration of his longing for upholding the alliance, predominantly for holding the Arab affiliates aboard, who were expressing dissatisfaction over destruction imposed towards the infrastructure of Iraq and the citizens thereof. (Stansfield, P1)

Iraq, for its part, had sternly miscalculated the alliance’s war plan, its level of accord, its military capability, and the total of fatalities that the Iraqi army might mete out. The United States endured just 148 murdered in battle, 407 injured, and 121 died in non aggressive actions. Women also performed in larger numbers and in a diversity of military tasks than ever before. Fifteen of the fatalities were women. (Stansfield, P1)


As the US continued its operation in the Iraq the Iraqi confrontation became bolder and bigger. But the allied commander General John P Abizad declared that these resistances would not make the US go away from Iraq.

On 22 July when US forces cornered the sons of Hussein, Qusay and Uday at the palatial home in Mosul a city north of Iraq, where the US forces were at last rewarded as they killed both in a brutal gun battle. By killing both of them the US hoped that it would reduce the attacks of the Iraqi resistance but guerilla battles still continued. And the quantity of US sufferers increased steadily.

This long fighting in Iraq made President George W. Bush Face a lot of criticism. And also the fact that there has been no proof of Weapons of Mass Destruction being possessed by Hussein’s Government or that he had relations with the Al Qaeda. Answering this criticism president said that they have reestablished a hope in Iraqi people by a change in leadership as Iraqis have been under immense oppression from decades  and the US had made some development . In order to establish democracy in Iraq the US structured a governing council which will be comprised of 25 Iraqi Leaders. This council would govern the country under commandment of L. Paul Bremer III who is the Chief US administrator. (Shogan, P1)

To share the burden of the war and help stabilize violent situation in Iraq President Bush convinced the UN to approve a combined armed force of different countries under US leadership. As a result many countries joined US however France, Russia, Germany and Pakistan refused to help.

At last Saddam Hussein got arrested on 13th of December. And for months was put on trials. Then US speed up its objectives to finish its occupation of Iraq and this gave hope of a powerful Iraqi government.  (Shogan, P1)

President Bush allowed the UN to make government in Iraq. Due to the UN participation it was hoped that it would boost in reconstructing Iraq and fighting the violence. A disclosure of American mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners crushed all the effort by US to put up goodwill among Iraqis.

Then in order to maintain US domination on Iraq, on 28 June 2004, the US transformed the Provisional Authority into an interim government. This transformation was done two days earlier in order to avoid violence. (Shogan, P1)

But despite of controlling Violence, violence continued and number of US lives lost crossed over 1000. Insurgents started kidnapping foreign civilians and soldiers and use them to persuade government to pull its troops out of Iraq.

After these events the US army conducted a survey of abuse and mistreatment of Iraqis done by the coalition troops. The survey proved that all these violence’s were mainly because of the sectarian fight between the Sunnis and Shi’ite Muslims.

Then an Al Qaeda leader in Iraq i.e. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was also killed by an air attack. About this President Bush said that this is a severe blow to the Al Qaeda but he said that terrorist would continue without him and we must be ready for it.

In a negotiation with US it was decided to set up a new security agreement and it was proposed that returning of US troop might be possible. And by July 2008 the figures showed 4125 American lives have been lost. (Shogan, P1)

Works Cited

Deese, David A. “Iraq War.” World Book Online Reference Center. 2008. [Place of access.]  8


Eland, Ivan. “Why Attack Iraq?” 2002.

Kaysen, Carl, Miller, Steven. E, Malin, Marti. B, Nordhaus, William. D. and Steinbruner, John.

D.”War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives”.

Shogan, Robert. “Iraq War.” The New Book of Knowledge®. 2008. Grolier Online. 8 Nov. 2008

Stansfield, Gareth. “Iraq War.” Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. 2008. Grolier Online. 8 Nov.



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