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 (26-Oct-1947) – Maharaja Hari Singh agrees to the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India

Gulab Singh founded the state of Jammu and Kashmir after purchasing the entire territory along with people between the rivers of Ravi and Indus from the East India Company in 1846, for 75 lakh. Hari Singh, the great-grandson of Gulab Singh was the ruler at the time of India-Pak independence. Hari Singh, in the weeks after August 15, 1947, gave no indication of giving up his State’s independence, unlike other 570 princely states in the region. It proved to be the root cause of present day Kashmir conflict. Md Ali Jinnah wanted to meet Hari Singh through the excuse of visiting the beautiful valley to recover his lost health. A state with such a vast muslim population makes clear point to come in Pakistan & Jinnah was over sure about this. His shock found no limit when he knew  that Hari Singh does not want him in Kashmir  even as a tourist. Pakistan then decided to force the issue, and a tribal invasion to drive out the Maharaja was initiated. In the early hours of October 24, 1947 the invasion began, as thousands of tribal Pathans swept into Kashmir. Their destination: the state’s capital, Srinagar, from where Hari Singh ruled. The Maharaja appealed to India for help.

On 25 October, V. P. Menon, a civil servant considered to be close to Patel, flew to Srinagar to get Hari Singh’s nod for Kashmir’s accession to India. By signing the Instrument of Accession, on October 26, 1947, Hari Singh agreed that the State would become a part of India. On 27 October, India’s 1st Sikh battalion flew into Srinagar.  Srinagar was soon secured from the Pakistani invaders but the battles in the larger region were just beginning. When Jinnah learnt of the Indian troops’ landing, he reportedly ordered his acting British commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracey to move two brigades into Kashmir, who refused the request. Pakistan finally did send troops to Kashmir but by then Indian forces had taken control of nearly two thirds of the state. Gilgit and Baltistan territories were secured by Pakistani troops. Meanwhile Hari Singh fleed Srinagar with a convoy of 85 cars and wealth of 500Cr. Loaded in 8 trucks and finally settled in Mumbai. Finally, a United Nations (UN) ceasefire was arranged. After long negotiations, the cease-fire was agreed to by both countries, and came into effect at the end of 1948.

 

Reference:

http://www.mapsofindia.com/on-this-day/26th-october-1947-maharaja-hari-singh-agrees-to-the-accession-of-jammu-and-kashmir-to-india

http://www.jammu-kashmir.com/documents/harisingh47.html

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-03-14/news/37713654_1_karan-singh-jammu-and-kashmir-omar-abdullah

https://somensengupta.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/a-nemesis-called-kashmir-a-sin-of-hari-singh-and-we-pay-the-price/

This Day in History (23-Oct-1946) – The United Nations General Assembly Convenes in New York for the First Time

As the world recovered from World War II, officials from all over the planet convened in Flushing in the New York City borough of Queens on October 23, 1946. The United Nations General Assembly, meeting for the first time in the metropolis that would later house its headquarters, has since become the primary international body for humanitarian aid — though it has fallen short of being the peacemaker many hoped it would be due to Cold War divisions and diverse political interests.

The idea for an organization to help mete out peace first arose during the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. With leadership in many nations reluctant to commit to the enforcement of League decisions, including the United States Congress, the organization quickly fell apart by the middle of the 1930s. As battles raged on multiple fronts during World War II, leaders from the United States, Soviet Union and Great Britain began a series of discussions about creating a more secure international organization in 1943 at meetings in Moscow and Tehran. The slow process for determining how the group would function, which would later grow to include a wide variety of governments and non-government organizations, came to a head when the United Nations Conference on International Organization met in San Francisco during April 1945.  With 51 founding members, the organization has grown to include 193 nations today.

Due to its unique international character, and the powers vested in its founding Charter, the Organization can take action on a wide range of issues, and provide a forum for its 193 Member States to express their views, through the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and other bodies and committees. The work of the United Nations reaches every corner of the globe. UNO is best known for peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance, in order to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for this and future generations. There are currently more than 100,000 UN peacekeepers in 16 peace operations.

Reference:

http://www.mapsofworld.com/on-this-day/october-23-1946-ce-the-united-nations-general-assembly-convenes-in-new-york-for-the-first-time

http://www.un.org/en/aboutun/index.shtml

This Day in History (2-Jul-1972) – Shimla Treaty’ was singed between Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her Pakistani counterpart Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

During 1971 Bangladesh independence war, Pakistan attacked at several places along India’s western border with Pakistan, but the Indian army successfully held their positions. The Indian Army quickly responded to the Pakistan Army’s movements in the west and made some initial gains, including capturing around 5,500 square miles of Pakistan territory. The war came to a temporary halt with the signing of the Shimla Agreement. In the summit, which opened on 28 June 1972 in Shimla, Mrs. India Gandhi warmly welcomed Mr. Z A Bhutto.

The agreement was the result of resolve of both the countries to “put an end to the conflict and confrontation that have hitherto marred their relations”. It conceived the steps to be taken for further normalization of mutual relations and it also laid down the principles that should govern their future relations. The agreement converted the cease-fire line of December 17, 1971 into the Line of Control (LOC) between India and Pakistan and it was agreed that “neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations”.

At the time of agreement, the victorious India had with her 90,000 prisoners of war and a large tract of Pakistani territory. In such a favourable state India could have turned a tough bargainer. However Mrs. Gandhi signed an agreement on the night of 2 July after a one-to-one meeting with Bhutto after the parties had packed their luggage for the return. “No one else was present”, but Mrs. Gandhi’s Secretary and economic advisor who was outside the room and has said that there was verbal understanding for a final settlement of the Kashmir question along with an agreement on the Line of Control. Land gained by India in Pakistani Kashmir, Pakistani Punjab and Sindh sectors was returned in the Simla Agreement of 1972, as a gesture of goodwill. There was widespread dissatisfaction in India about the Shimla Accord among the various nationalist outfits, intellectuals and patriots. Strongly condemning this agreement, A B Vajpayee, the leader of the Bharathiya Jana Sangh, described it as a “sell out”.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Pakistan_War_of_1971

http://www.peacekashmir.org/views-articles/2011/0607-secret-of-shimla-agreement.htm