OpEdNews Op Eds

Al Haig and a 'Green Light' to Chaos

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 4 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to None 2/21/10

From Consortium News

Editor's Note: Former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who died Saturday at 85, was a figure in Consortiumnews.com's first series of articles in 1995-96, describing secret documents from a congressional inquiry into whether Republicans had sabotaged President Jimmy Carter's Iran-hostage negotiations in 1980 to help win the White House for Ronald Reagan.

A "top secret" document authored by Haig in 1981 contained a stunning claim: that Carter, frustrated over his failure to resolve the hostage crisis, gave a "green light" to Iraq's Saddam Hussein to invade Iran in September 1980, starting a war that altered the region's power balance and reverberates to today.

Whether Haig's assessment was correct remains in dispute Carter denied encouraging the attack and Haig, citing the document's classified status, refused to discuss it. Now, Haig has taken that history to the grave. Below is our original article (slightly edited):

In summer 1980, Iraq's wily president Saddam Hussein saw opportunities in the chaos sweeping the Persian Gulf.

Iran's Islamic revolution had terrified the Saudi princes and other Arab royalty who feared uprisings against their own corrupt life styles. Saddam's help was sought, too, by CIA-backed Iranian exiles who wanted a base to challenge the fundamentalist regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. And as always, the Western powers were worried about the Middle East oil fields.

So because of geography and his formidable Soviet-supplied army, Saddam was suddenly a popular fellow.

On Aug. 5, 1980, the Saudi rulers welcomed Saddam to Riyadh for his first state visit to Saudi Arabia, the first for any Iraqi president. The Saudis, of course, wanted something.

At those fateful meetings, amid the luxury of the ornate palaces, the Saudis would encourage Saddam to invade Iran. The Saudis also would claim to pass on a secret message about President Carter's geo-political desires.

During that summer of 1980, President Carter was facing his own crisis. His failure to free 52 American hostages held in Iran was threatening his political survival. As he wrote in his memoir, Keeping Faith, "The election might also be riding on their freedom."

Equally alarming, President Carter had begun receiving reports that the Republicans were making back-channel contacts with Iran about the hostage crisis, as he would state in a letter to a journalist nearly a decade later.

Though it was unclear then, this multi-sided political intrigue would shape the history from 1980 to the present day. Iraq's invasion of Iran in September 1980 would deteriorate into eight years of bloody trench warfare that did little more than kill and maim an estimated one million people.

[The Iran-Iraq War set the stage for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990; the subsequent U.S.-led campaign to drive Iraqi forces out in 1991; the anti-U.S. turn of Saudi Osama bin Laden, who vowed to drive American forces out Islamic lands; President George W. Bush's conquest of Iraq in 2003; and much of today's tensions between the West and Iran.]

The Iran-Iraq War also generated billions of dollars in profits for well-connected arms merchants and spawn a series of national security scandals.

In 1986-87, the Iran-Contra Affair peeled back some of the layers of secrecy, but bipartisan investigations dumped the blame mostly on White House aide Oliver North and a few low-level "men of zeal," sparing Reagan and his Vice President George H.W. Bush from much accountability.

Later inquiries into Iraqgate allegations of secret U.S. military support for Saddam Hussein also ended inconclusively. The missing billions from the corrupt Bank of Credit and Commerce International disappeared into the mist of complex charge and counter-charge, too. So did evidence implicating the CIA and Nicaraguan contra rebels in cocaine trafficking.

A similar fate befell the October Surprise story, President Carter's old suspicion of Republican interference in the 1980 hostage crisis. A special House task force concluded in 1993 that it could find "no credible evidence" to support the October Surprise charges.

Haig's Talking Points

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

 

http://www.consortiumnews.com

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq, can be ordered at secrecyandprivilege.com. It's also available at more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The CIA/Likud Sinking of Jimmy Carter

What Did US Spy Satellites See in Ukraine?

Ron Paul's Appalling World View

Ronald Reagan: Worst President Ever?

The Disappearance of Keith Olbermann

A Perjurer on the US Supreme Court

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
and after he resigned I would hold annual Al Haig ... by Stanimal on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 4:57:43 PM
We are treated to another chapter in ancient ancie... by Peter Duveen on Sunday, Feb 21, 2010 at 5:16:17 PM
I used to teach English to Dassault executives at ... by Arthur Borges on Monday, Feb 22, 2010 at 10:33:32 AM