This Day in History (22-Feb-1991) – US Gulf War allies give Iraq 24 hrs to begin Kuwait withdrawal

After the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, Iraq was extremely indebted to several Arab countries, including a $14 billion debt to Kuwait. Iraq hoped to repay its debts by raising the price of oil through OPEC oil production cuts, but instead, Kuwait increased production, lowering prices, in an attempt to leverage a better resolution of their border dispute. In addition, greatly antagonizing Iraq, Kuwait had taken advantage of the Iran-Iraq War and had begun illegal slant drilling for oil into Iraqi reserves, and had built military outposts on Iraqi soil near Kuwait. Furthermore, Iraq charged that it had performed a collective service for all Arabs by acting as a buffer against Iran and that therefore Kuwait and Saudi Arabia should negotiate or cancel Iraq’s war debts. The war with Iran had also seen the destruction of almost all of Iraq’s port facilities on the Persian Gulf cutting off Iraq’s main trade outlet. Iraq security could only be guaranteed by controlling more of the Gulf Coast, including more secure ports including Kuwait.

In August 1990, Iraqi troops crossed the Kuwaiti border with armor and infantry, occupying strategic posts throughout the country, including the Emir’s palace. Iraq detained thousands of Western visitors as hostages and later attempted to use them as bargaining chips. Hussein then installed a new Iraqi provincial governor, described as “liberation” from the Kuwaiti Emir

In January 1991 the United States Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The coalition launched a massive air campaign codenamed Operation Desert Storm, beginning early morning on January 17, 1991. On February 22, 1991, Iraq agreed to a Soviet-proposed cease-fire agreement. The agreement called for Iraq to withdraw troops to pre-invasion positions within three weeks following a total cease-fire, and called for monitoring of the cease-fire and withdrawal to be overseen by the UN Security Council. The US rejected the proposal but said that retreating Iraqi forces would not be attacked, and gave twenty-four hours for Iraq to begin withdrawing forces. On February 24, the US began Operation Desert Sabre, the ground portion of its campaign and declared that Kuwait had been liberated in next 3 days.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/february/22?p=2

http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/Middleeastweb/factfile/Unique-facts-MiddleEast10.htm

This Day in History (30-Dec-2006) – Former President of Iraq Saddam Hussein is executed

In 1957, Saddam joined the Ba’ath Party at the age of 20, whose ultimate ideological aim was the unity of Arab states in the Middle East. In a failed attempt to assassinate Iraq’s then-president, Abd al-Karim Qasim, Saddam managed to escape to Syria with a bullet wound. In 1963, when Qasim’s government was overthrown in the so-called Ramadan Revolution, Saddam returned to Iraq. In 1968, Saddam participated in a bloodless but successful Ba’athist coup that resulted in Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becoming Iraq’s president and Saddam his deputy. Saddam did much to modernize Iraq’s infrastructure, industry, and health-care system, and raised social services, education. Saddam also helped develop Iraq’s first chemical weapons program.

In 1979, Saddam forced al-Bakr to resign, and became president of Iraq. In 1980, Saddam ordered Iraqi forces to invade the oil-rich region of Khuzestan in Iran. After years of intense conflict that left hundreds of thousands dead on both sides, a ceasefire agreement was finally reached in 1988. In 1990, using the justification that Kuwait was a historical part of Iraq, Saddam ordered the invasion of Kuwait. UN coalition force headed by the United States defeated Iraqi forces.

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, Soviet intelligence relayed information to the U.S. government that indicated Iraq was planning further terrorist attacks against the United States. UN inspection in Iraq did not find any weapons of mass destructions. Despite this, on March 20, 2003, under the pretense that Iraq did in fact have a covert weapons program and that it was planning attacks, a U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq. Within weeks, the government and military had been toppled, and on April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell. Saddam, however, managed to elude capture. In the months that followed, an intensive search for Saddam began. Finally, on December 13, 2003, Saddam was found hiding in a small underground bunker near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit. He was officially handed over to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity. On November 5, 2006, Saddam was found guilty and sentenced to death. On December 30, 2006, at Camp Justice, an Iraqi base in Baghdad, Saddam was hanged.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_30

http://www.biography.com/people/saddam-hussein-9347918

This Day in History (28-Nov-1943) – US President Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Churchill and Soviet Chairman Stalin meet for the Tehran Conference

During World War II, in November 1943, Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt met together in Teheran, Iran, to discuss military strategy and post-war Europe, in a conference codenamed Eureka. Ever since the Soviet Union had entered the war, Stalin had been demanding that the Allies open-up a second front in Europe. Stalin, who always favoured in offensive strategy, believed that there were political, as well as military reasons for the Allies’ failure to open up a second front in Europe. Stalin was still highly suspicious of Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt and was worried about them signing a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. The foreign policies of the capitalist countries since the October Revolution had convinced Stalin that their main objective was the destruction of the communist system in the Soviet Union. Stalin was fully aware that if Britain and the USA withdrew from the war, the Red Army would have great difficulty in dealing with Germany on its own.

At Teheran, Joseph Stalin reminded Churchill and Roosevelt of a previous promise of landing troops in Western Europe in 1942. Later they postponed it to the spring of 1943. Stalin complained that it was now November and there was still no sign of an allied invasion of France. After lengthy discussions, it was agreed that the Allies would mount a major offensive in the spring of 1944. Roosevelt and Churchill also accepted Stalin’s demands regarding Poland’s post-war boundaries, which would give the Soviets Lwów, Wilno, and Poland’s eastern Kresy territory occupied by Stalin under his 1939 alliance with Nazi Germany. Churchill proposed that Poland, in return, be compensated with a corresponding slice of Germany. They all agreed that they would continue to make available to the Government of Iran economic assistance as may be possible, having regard to the heavy demands made upon them by their world-wide military operations.

The D-Day landings in June, 1944 took the pressure off the Red Army and from that date they made steady progress into territory held by Germany bringing World war II to end.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/november-28-1660-the-royal-society-is-founded-at-gresham-college-in-london

http://spartacus-educational.com/2WWteheran.htm

This Day in History (6-Nov-1979) – Ayatolla Khomeini takes over in Iran

Ruhollah Khomeini became a religious scholar and in the early 1920s rose to become an ‘ayatollah’, a term for a leading Shia scholar. In 1962, Khomeini began protesting the intentions of the Shah, then ruler of Iran who was promoting secularism. Khomeini’s first act of defiance was to organize the ulama (religious leaders) against a proposed law of the Shah’s that would effectively end the requirement for elected officials to be sworn in on the Qu’ran.  Khomeini was arrested by the shah’s security service for his outspoken opposition to the pro-Western regime of the Shah. His arrest elevated him to the status of national hero. In 1964, he was exiled, living in Turkey, Iraq and then France, from where he urged his supporters to overthrow the shah. By the late 1970s, the shah had become deeply unpopular and there were riots, strikes and mass demonstrations across the country.

In January 1979, the shah’s government collapsed and he and his family fled into exile. On 1 February, Khomeini returned to Iran in triumph. There was a national referendum and Khomeini won a landslide victory. He declared an Islamic republic and was appointed Iran’s political and religious leader for life. Islamic law was introduced across the country. His denunciation of American influence led to militant Islamic students storming the US Embassy in Teheran in November 1979. Some of the American hostages were held captive for more than a year.

In September 1980, after a territorial dispute over the Shatt al-Arab waterway, Iraq launched a surprise invasion of Iran. The resulting war lasted eight years and between half and one-and-a-half million people died. Neither side achieved their aim of toppling the other’s regime. The war extinguished some of the zeal of the Islamic revolution in Iran and led some Iranians to question the capabilities of their leaders. In February 1989 Khomeini provoked international controversy by issuing a ‘fatwa’, ordering Muslims to kill the writer Salman Rushdie for his novel ‘The Satanic Verses’. Khomeini died the same year. Iran remains a religion-based society, and Khomeini’s life’s work and decade of rule will no doubt continue to influence the country far into the future.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/november/6?p=2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/khomeini_ayatollah.shtml

http://www.biography.com/people/ayatollah-ruhollah-khomeini-13680544#political-and-religious-leader

This Day in History (2-Nov-1953) – Pakistan becomes Islamic republic

When India and Pakistan became independent states in 1947, each inherited a bristling minority problem. Twelve million apprehensive Hindus stayed in Pakistan; 43 million Muslims stayed in India. The Indian Parliament guaranteed its minorities equality, and Prime Minister Nehru conspicuously appointed Muslims and Christians to his Cabinet. But Pakistan, in framing its own constitution, chose the dark path which might lead to theocracy and fear. The Constituent Assembly ruled that the nation should become “the Islamic Republic of Pakistan” (presumably within the British Commonwealth, like India)

Pakistan became independent of the United Kingdom in 1947, but remained a British Dominion like Canada or Australia until 1956. Under Section 8 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, with certain adaptations, served as the working constitution of Pakistan, but the need of a full independence and a constitution to be framed by the elected representatives of the people was all the more necessary for the free citizens of a sovereign state. Since India became a republic in 1950, the feeling had increased that Pakistan should assume the same special status that India felt she had attained. Republican sentiment had almost certainly been further strengthened by what many Pakistanis consider Britain’s failure to support her openly in the Kashmir dispute. Even so, Pakistan had no present intention of dissociating herself from the Commonwealth. A proposal to do so was quietly dropped.

There was no indication of what precisely the term ‘Islamic Republic’ would mean, but the leader of the Hindu members of the Constituent Assembly, who walked out in protest, had already labelled it as.” an attempt to make Pakistan a theocratic State,” in which Hindus (13 per cent of the population) would be placed on a separate electoral rolls, denied the highest office of State, and forced into a position of inferiority. Certainly it would not help to solve the problem of the Hindus of East Bengal, nor improve relations with India.

Pakistan was the first country to become Islamic Republic, followed by Mauritania, Iran and Afganistan over a period.

 

Reference:

http://www.historyorb.com/day/november/2

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,819249,00.html

http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/6th-november-1953/4/the-islamic-republic-of-pakistan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_republic