Dr. Said’s letter from Baghdad protesting the Gulf War
September 10, 1990
Letter to the Editor
I came to Iraq as an Arab-American trying to learn the facts from their original sources. In my opinion, some of the reporting from here by the American media has been one-sided.
The points I wish to emphasize are:
1) The Iraqi people and government have been portrayed very badly in the media. We have found them to be highly civilized and hospitable. Many Americans are walking In the streets without drawing any hostility. Some of the same journalists I have seen drinking beer in the famous Abu Nawas Street without any problem, and who have been writing stories critical of Iraqi, will tell you without hesitation that individual Iraqis have been friendly and cooperative.
2) The American public has been told that Iraq is a big country which has swallowed a small neighbor called Kuwait. The fact is that in 1932, when Iraq became Independent from the United Kingdom, Britain split Kuwait from Iraq and made it a colony, until 1961, to protect London’s interests In oil. It was an Australian, a British subject, who discovered oil in Kuwait in 1901. Ever since, Britain has done everything possible to keep Kuwait apart from Iraq, a division, incidentally, which has been repeatedly rejected by various Iraqi governments.
3) The American people have been told that Iraq is going to control oil prices and eventually push them up to $50 or $60 a barrel, causing a recession, perhaps even a depression In the U.S. and other countries. Senior Iraqi government officials have told me that this government is ready to guarantee — along with other members of OPEC — that oil prices will not exceed $25 to $27 a barrel over the next five years. Iraq needs a healthy world economy in which to sell its oil and buy its necessities. An “oil shock” will benefit no one.
4) The American public has been told our troops have been sent to Saudi Arabia to protect the Kingdom. In truth, It Is we who have done the most undermining of Saudi stability. Hundreds of newspaper articles, radio talk shows, television reports have had little favorable to say about the Saudi royal family. What bothers me is that Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington, Prince Bander Ben Sultan, a nephew of King Fabd, has been a negative influence. Two years ago he was a guest of honor at the Republican Party convention in New Orleans. It is well known he supports the party and conservative causes. There have been rumors of campaign contributions, and the 35-million dollar Saudi payment to the Contras is well known.
5) American military experts have estimated that the U.S. could lose between 30,000 and 50,000 men in a war with Iraq.
6) The American public has been told our venture in the Middle East is part of a great global community arrayed against Iraq. The facts point to American political and economic pressure being used to coerce many governments to follow our policy. As for Margaret Thatcher, as we have seen above, it was Britain that planted the seeds of unrest and discord in the Arab world by splitting Kuwait from Iraq, taking tiny tribes in the Gulf and making them nation-states, and helping to implant Israel in the bean of the Arab homeland (Balfour Declaration, 1917).
7) Americans have gone to war several times this century, in each case for what were considered good causes, such as defeating Nazi Germany and protecting Korea and South Vietnam from communism. What is the good cause here? Oil at a cheap price? Or to protect a handful of Sheikhs who have accumulated enormous wealth, spending it on luxuries, while fellow Muslims are starving in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, etc.
8) Americans are being told that U.N. resolutions660-665 require that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait. True. But why should the United States be the policeman that enforces those resolutions when it has applied a hypocritical standard to other U.N. resolutions (242 and 338) requiring Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories in the West Bank, Gaza, and the Golan Heights?
Dr. Mohammad H. Said