Sunday, July 13, 2003

Iraq history quiz

(Note: The following information is compiled from an article by journalist Robert Hennelly published in The Village Voice on Aug. 11, 1992)

1. When did Saddam Hussein come to power in Iraq?
2. Who first placed Iraq on the list of terrorist nations?
3. Who took Iraq off the list of terrorist nations and when?
4. The Iran-Iraq War began in late 1980 and lasted for eight years. How many lives were lost during the conflict?
5. Place the following events in chronological order - Iraq announces it has a new chemical weapon capable of killing 100,000 people at one time; Iraq provides safe haven for Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal; the U.S. agrees to provide $210 million in federal loan guarantees to Iraq.
6. Iraq first uses chemical weapons in its war with Iran in March 1984 killing how many Iranians?
7. In June of 1984, Democratic Congressman Howard Berman of Calif. Tries to get Iraq recategorized as a terrorist state. Who dissuades him and why?
8. On Nov. 13, 1984, what diplomatic action does President Reagan take concerning Iraq?
9. On March 13, 1985, Iraq launches 32 chemical attacks killing how many Iranians?
10. From 1985 to 1990 the amount of loan guarantees to Iraq from the U.S. Export-Import Bank grows from $35 million to how much?
11. We’ve heard repeatedly how Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons “against his own people” i.e. the Kurds, but when did most of these attacks actually take place?
12. When did President George H.W. Bush sign a top-secret directive calling for closer ties to Iraq and authorizing an additional $1 billion in U.S. government backed commodity credits for Iraq?


1. July 16, 1979
2. Jimmy Carter in Dec. 1979
3. Ronald Reagan in March of 1982
4. About 750,000
5. The events are in the order that they occurred in 1982
6. Press reports cite the deaths of 5,000 soldiers contaminated by nerve gas.
7. Secretary of State George Schultz (for Reagan) saying it would “disrupt our diplomatic dialogue.”
8. He reestablishes full diplomatic ties with Iraq for the first time since the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
9. Close to 5,000
10. $267 million
11. 1988: A particularly heinous attack occurs on Aug. 25, 1988, just five days after a cease fire takes hold in the Iran-Iraq War.
12. Oct. 2, 1989

My point in putting together this little quiz is to try and demonstrate the irony of our current stance on Iraq. Many of the atrocities that were cited as reasons for going to war with Iraq in 2003 actually occurred prior to the first Gulf War when we were supporting Iraq in its war against Iran. Back then, Hussein was seen as the lesser of two evils and we helped to build up his army with billions of dollars in federal loan guarantees so that he could counter the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Islamic revolution in Iran. I find it extremely ironic to read back over the history of U.S.-Iraq relations in the 1980s and see all the reports of Hussein building up chemical weapon stockpiles, seeking nuclear weapons capability and consorting with terrorists - and all the while having the Reagan and Bush administrations apologizing for and supporting him at every turn. Up until the point when he was suddenly no longer useful.

For an excellent summary and links to documents check out Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein at The National Security Archive.

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