By Geoff Simons (auth.)
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Extra resources for Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam
The Kurds were now claiming to hold about one tenth of the land area of Iraq, including the region of Kirkuk, Sulaimaniya, Arbil, Dahuk and parts of Mosul. In Baghdad the regime was re-establishing control and in the south the Shia rebels were coming under increasing pressure. The United States gave every sign of political uncertainty. The Bush administration had refused to talk to the opposition groups, a policy that was coming under increasing criticism. Thus Laurie Millroy, from the Washington Institute on Near East Policy, commented that the US government was 'paying the price for an inexplicable failure to talk to the Iraqi opposition .
77 Another report highlighted the growing number of Kurdish casualties from some of the twenty million Iraqi mines planted in Kurdistan in the 1980s. 78 By now the Kurdish population was in an increasingly desperate plight, with thousands of people facing starvation and the health and other support services near to collapse. The UK foreign secretary, Douglas Hurd, was now warning Iraq that the blockade of Kurdistan must be halted or air strikes would follow. At the same time the UN Security Council issued a statement declaring that if Iraq refused to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors, 'serious consequences' would arise, though no effort was made to explain what these might be.
Fresh attention was being given to the rooting out and destruction of Iraq's 'weapons of mass destruction' with particular focus on Saddam's residual nuclear potential. By the end of June the Iraqi authorities were being warned about the consequences that would follow any refusal to co-operate with UN weapons inspectors, with publicity given to evidence that Saddam was trying to hide the fruits of his nuclear research. On 30 June 1991 President Bush declared that the US and its allies had full authority to use force if necessary 'to solve one way or another' Saddam Hussein's alleged nuclear potential: 'We feel the authority exists' for a military strike.
Iraq: From Sumer to Saddam by Geoff Simons (auth.)