How did America declare war against Iraq? It started in 1990 when the U.S. received an opportunity to win the approval of the American people and of much else of the world, to initiate economic sanctions against Iraq for having invaded Kuwait. This was an economic embargo against Iraq and destroyed Iraq’s economy.
Here’s what the CIA reports about the effectiveness of that economic blockade:
“GDP per capita went from approximately $2304 in 1989 to $938 in 1990. From 1991 until 1996 per capita GDP never rose above $507.” That was a 78% decline over that 7-year period. The CIA goes on to brag: “Following the war with Iran in 1988, Iraq was ranked 50th out of 130 countries on the 1990 UNDP Human Development Index (HDI). … By 1995, Iraq had declined to 106th out of 174 countries and by 2000 it had plummeted to 126th.”
This was America’s (and its allies’) ‘humanitarian’ response to Saddam Hussein’s violent disagreement with Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. It’s also paradigmatic for the way in which America (and its allies) initiate the empire’s wars, these days.
The CIA-edited and written Wikipedia’s article “United States sanctions against Iran” says that:
“The first United States sanctions against Iran were imposed by President Carter in November 1979 by Executive Order 12170 after a group of radical students seized the American Embassy and took hostage the people inside in Tehran after the U.S. permitted the exiled Shah of Iran to enter the United States for medical treatment. The Executive Order froze about $12 billion in Iranian assets, including bank deposits, gold and other properties. Some assets—Iranian officials say $10 billion, U.S. officials say much less—still remain frozen pending resolution of legal claims arising from the revolution. After the invasion of Iran by Iraq, the United States increased sanctions against Iran.”
So: America actually declared war against Iran in 1979, after the Iranian people overthrew the brutal dictator the Shah, whom the U.S. CIA imposed there back in 1953 in a coup which overthrew the democratically elected progressive Prime Minister of Iran, who wanted to nationalize the nation’s previously Western-controlled oil company. The aristocrats of America and of UK benefited enormously, but everbody else has suffered the consequences. And, so: after the U.S.-installed dictator finally got ousted in 1979, America immediately went to war against Iran, by imposing economic sanctions. All of this, too, is being done to Iran for ‘humanitarian’ reasons.
The Carter-imposed sanctions against iran were, however, weak. In 1980, Iran’s GDP was around $100 billion. by 1986, it was around $200 billion. Then it plunged back down to under $100 billion by 1986. (Reagan was far more hard-line than was Carter.) But from there it rose steadily, to around $600 billion in 2012, and it was $440 billion in 2017. But now it’s declining again, under Trump.
The Congressional Research Service issued on 22 April 2019, its “Iran Sanctions” study, which said:
Sanctions took a substantial toll on Iran’s economy, and sanctions relief caused Iran’s economy to rebound, although perhaps not to the extent that Iranians expected. The effects of the U.S. exit from the JCPOA have begun to register on Iran’s economy. …[During] 2010-2016 sanctions reduced Iran’s crude oil sales about 60% from the 2.5 mbd level of 2011, causing Iran to lose over $160 billion in oil revenues during that time.
So, America’s sanctions nowadays really are economic blockades. And any type of blockade constitutes an act of war. The United States is at war against Iran. That’s the reality — and it’s the U.S. regime’s fault, not Iran’s. Iran never threatened to invade America, but the U.S. regime now constantly threatens to invade Iran — the U.S. regime’s constant victim ever since 1953.
The ‘revolutions’ in the Arabic countries (“Arab Spring”) started in 2011. The U.S. and its allies generally supported them but not against America’s allies, such as Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain. There, the U.S. regime opposed them. In Bahrain, for example,
On 1 April 2011, Hillary Clinton’s close aide Jacob “Jake” Sullivan sent this email to Vali Nasr (who left Iran in 1979 when the U.S. stooge there was ousted), who now is the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (which trains America’s professional imperialists):
Word has it that Prince Bandar was in Pakistan last week asking for troops to be deployed in Kingdom and Bahrain to deal with civil unrest. Might also be used in other gulf states. There is precedence for this, when Pakistan deployed troops in the Kingdom in the 1980s to provide protection to the monarchy — and Pakistan was paid for it handsomely. Apparently Bandar also went to China to get Beijing’s support. Saudis are pushing Jordan to hang tough against reforms.
America’s military works for America’s billionaires and for their servants throughout the world.
On 4 September 2012, Glenn Greenwald headlined at Britain’s Guardian, “Why didn’t CNN’s international arm air its own documentary on Bahrain’s Arab Spring repression?” and he reported that, “A former CNN correspondent defies threats from her former employer to speak out about self-censorship at the network.” And:
In late March 2011, as the Arab Spring was spreading, CNN sent a four-person crew to Bahrain to produce a one-hour documentary on the use of internet technologies and social media by democracy activists in the region. Featuring on-air investigative correspondent Amber Lyon, the CNN team had a very eventful eight-day stay in that small, US-backed kingdom. … The portion Lyon and her team produced on Bahrain ended up as a 13-minute segment in the documentary. That segment, which as of now is available on YouTube, is a hard-hitting and unflinching piece of reporting that depicts the regime in a very negative light. … Upon returning from Bahrain in April, Lyon appeared on CNN several times to recount her own detention by security forces and to report on ongoing brutality by the regime against its own citizens, … As negative news stories of its brutal repression grew in the wake of the Arab Spring, the regime undertook a massive, very well-funded PR campaign to improve its image. … The long-time CNN employee said that “iRevolution” was vetted far more heavily than the typical documentary:
“Because Amber was relatively new in reporting on the region, and especially because of the vocal complaints from the Bahrainis, the documentary was heavily scrutinized. But nobody could ever point to anything factually or journalistically questionable in Amber’s reporting on Bahrain.” … On 19 June 2011 at 8pm, CNN’s domestic outlet in the US aired “iRevolution” for the first and only time. The program received prestigious journalism awards, including a 2012 Gold Medal from New York Festival’s Best TV and Films. Lyon, along with her segment producer Taryn Fixel, were named as finalists for the 2011 Livingston Awards for Young Journalists. …
In March 2012, Lyon was laid off from CNN.
Her career was destroyed, because she was honest.
Her award-winning segment can be viewed here:
She might be the most competent (and probably also the prettiest) reporter ever on U.S. TV, but she was totally blacklisted: no one would hire her. Her soaring career was simply finished.
Compare that U.S. protection of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa who owns Bahrain, versus what was done to Syria’s Government, and to its leader Bashar al-Assad, who is allied instead with both Iran and Russia. There are no sanctions against Bahrain. Ever since 1949 the CIA has been trying to overthrow Syria’s Government, and there are tons of sanctions against it, especially since 2005, and even more so after “May 01, 2012”.
The entire case for sanctions against Russia is pure lies. And that extends even all the way back to the Magnitsky Act in 2012 — pure lies. That lie-based law in 2012, authorizing the first anti-Russia sanctions, was the start of America’s war against Russia.
At least ever since 1990, sanctions have been not only an act of war by the United States and its allies, but the first stage in the escalating process toward, next, an attempted coup; and, if that fails to achieve the demanded “regime change,” then an outright U.S. invasion. It happens time and again, and a person would need to be an utter fool not to recognize the pattern by this time.
Recently, almost the entire U.S. Congress (419 to 3 in the House, and at first 97 to 2 in the Senate and then 98 to 2 there) voted to sanction Russia and to arm Ukraine however much will be necessary in order for Ukraine’s Government to conquer the two rejectionist parts of the former Ukrainian territory. But actually, the U.S., under Obama, had perpetrated a violent February 2014 coup in Ukraine, which overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President and replaced him with fascists. That coup by the U.S. precipitated the breakaways of both Crimea and Donbass from Ukraine.
Furthermore, Congress wants to push Trump even harder on this — he hasn’t been globally suicidal enough to satisfy them; he’s not marching to WW III fast enough for them — and, so, they now have in the legislative hopper even more and harsher sanctions against Russia: S.3229 —
Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act of 2018, introduced by Republican Senator John Barrasso and co-sponsored by his fellow Republicans Steve Daine and Cory Gardner, 18 July 2018, 115th Congress, 2nd Session. Barrasso said when introducing the bill: “Germany and other countries are members of NATO, and the reason they are members of NATO is to protect themselves against Russian aggression.” For the U.S. regime, the Cold War never actually ended, but it did end on the Russian side, in 1991 when the Soviet Union broke apart and its communism ended and its Warsaw Pact mirror to America’s NATO military alliance ended. Secretly on the U.S.-and-allied side, it continued on, and has now intensified to exceed the 1963 Cuban Missile Crisis.
Maybe these sanctions, too, will win by a 98-to-2 margin. And this is in the time when there is no Soviet Union, and no Warsaw Pact (it has all been absorbed into NATO) and no Russian communism.
And, on 13 May 2019, Foreign Policy magazine bannered “EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Senate Threatens Sanctions Over Russian Pipeline: Washington and Berlin face off again over Nord Stream 2 as European ships are targeted.”
Could one then reasonably say that anybody who endorses the U.S. government, at least after it invaded Iraq on 20 March 2003 entirely on the basis of lies, is either stupid, or else evil? What third possible explanation for it could there possibly be? Is not the record, by now, crystal-clear, and repulsive to any decent person? Why aren’t people debating this question? There needs to be this public dialogue, in order to ward off a culmination of the vile direction in which things now are heading.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.