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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


February 26, 2003

Declassified Documents Detail US Cozying to Saddam

'U.S. Documents Show Embrace of Saddam Hussein in Early 1980s Despite Chemical Weapons, External Aggression, Human Rights Abuses' (2/25/03 - National Security Archive)

The non-governmental National Security Archive has published a
series of declassified US documents detailing the US embrace of Saddam Hussein in the early 1980's, including the renewal of diplomatic relations that had been suspended since 1967. The documents show

Presidential envoy Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein on Dec. 20, 1983. View the complete video. (Source: National Security Archive)
that during this period of renewed U.S. support for Saddam, he had invaded his neighbor (Iran), had long-range nuclear aspirations that would "probably" include "an eventual nuclear weapon capability," harbored known terrorists in Baghdad, abused the human rights of his citizens, and possessed and used chemical weapons on Iranians and his own people. The US response was to renew ties, to provide intelligence and aid to ensure Iraq would not be defeated by Iran, and to send a high-level presidential envoy named Donald Rumsfeld to shake hands with Saddam.

The declassified documents posted to the Archive's web site include the briefing materials and diplomatic reporting on two Rumsfeld trips to Baghdad, reports on Iraqi chemical weapons use concurrent with the Reagan administration's decision to support Iraq, and decision directives signed by President Reagan that reveal the specific U.S. priorities for the region: preserving access to oil, expanding U.S. ability to project military power in the region, and protecting local allies from internal and external threats.

[Read the source...]

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