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Years ago, Zalmay Khalilzad, who became the US envoy to Iraq, revealed the US strategy behind the first Gulf War...
Strengthen Iran, Contain Iraq...
by Jared Israel

[Posted 26 April 2003]


In July 1989 Zalmay Khalilzad wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times entitled, "Iran Future as a Pawn or a Gulf Power." I believe it provides an important clue as to the real reason for the US-led devastation known as Operation Storm, or the Gulf War. It also provides food for thought concerning the current invasion.

As discussed in "Who is Zalmay Khalilzad?", during the 1980s Mr. Khalilzad was a top U.S. State Department planner of the mujahideen war against the Afghan secular government and its Soviet patron. [1]

In 1988 Khalilzad wrote a briefing paper for the new Bush administration. In it he called for strengthening Iran and containing Iraq. [2]

In the early 1990s, Khalilzad was director of planning for the Pentagon at a time when Pentagon intelligence was working with Iran and Saudi Arabia, coordinating Muslim fundamentalist terror in Bosnia. [3]

And now he is perhaps the top political planner on the ground in Iraq. He is special envoy for Iraq and Afghanistan and the "Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for [the Persian] Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues, National Security Council." [4]

Take a look at this excerpt from the LA Times article that Khalilzad wrote in July 1989. It deals with the aftermath of the terrible war that consumed Iraq and Iran throughout the 1980s:

[Excerpt from LA Times starts here]

Iran Future As A Pawn Or A Gulf Power
Byline: Zalmay Khalilzad
Los Angeles Times July 16, 1989, Sunday, Home Edition Section: Opinion; Part 5; Page 2; Column 4; Opinion Desk

The Iraqis devastated the Iranians toward the end of the war, capturing as much as half of the Iranian tanks, armor and artillery. Iraqi successes forced Iran to accept a cease-fire that Khomeini compared to drinking a "poisoned chalice." Iraq is now militarily dominant, with 45 battle-tested divisions against Iran's 12, with even larger ratios of strength in tanks and aircraft. Tehran is looking for ways to overcome strategic inferiority and gain a degree of protection against Iraq.

[Excerpt from LA Times ends here]

This is the missing piece that explains the puzzle of the first Gulf War, namely: why did the US let Iraq get into Kuwait - or, some would say, lure Iraq into Kuwait - and then respond with such relentless force to this relatively minor invasion?

Sure, Iraq was a significant regional military force, but assuming it wanted to attack its neighbors, where could it go? Here's a nice map of Iraq and surrounding countries

If Iraq attacked Saudi Arabia, to the south, it could be sure of a massive US response. If it attacked Jordan, to the west, it would have to fight not only Jordan but possibly other Arab states and Israel and probably the US as well.

But to the east was Iran. According to Khalilzad, Iran was dangerously weak after nearly a decade of war against Iraq. And militarily, Iraq was relatively strong.


Iranian fundamentalism: pivotal force among Muslims


The 1979 takeover of Iran by Islamic fanatics represented the greatest political advance for Muslim fundamentalism in many years. It altered the balance of power in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The US and Saudi Arabia used the Islamist victory in Iran to energize their Muslim fundamentalist attack force in Afghanistan. And, during the ten-year holy war in Afghanistan, US intelligence became skilled in handling Islamist terrorists. They created an apparatus including intelligence services in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and mujahideen, both from Afghanistan and from other countries, whom they recruited to fight in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Western media was trained to describe Islamist terrorists as freedom fighters and to demonize their opponents as human rights abusers. [1]

By the end of the 1980s, the US and European establishments were positioned to make the best use of Iran.

The long, drawn-out war with Iraq had greatly weakened Iran. This made the Iranian leadership easier to deal with since 'a weak servant is a loyal servant.'

At the same time, during the war the US deepened its covert ties with the Iranian leaders by secretly sending them arms and spare parts. This is a much-overlooked side of the Iran-Contra scandal, often described only from the viewpoint of the illegal arming of the gangster-terrorist Contras in Nicaragua by the Reagan administration.

Without US arms, Iran would have been hard-pressed to fight Iraq. Why? Because, as Seymour Hersh pointed out in the New York Times, Iran's entire arsenal was US-derived:

"…Iran at that time was in dire need of arms and spare parts for its American-made arsenal to defend itself against Iraq, which had attacked it in September 1980."
-- The New York Times, December 8, 1991, The Iran Pipeline: A Hidden Chapter/A special report.; U.S. Said to Have Allowed Israel to Sell Arms to Iran, By Seymour Hersh.

Apart from the question of who attacked whom, Hersh's point is right on target.

So: by the end of the 1980s, the Iranian clerics were a) weakened and b) had worked closely for a decade with US intelligence. They could be incorporated into large-scale U.S. covert operations. This is exactly what happened in Bosnia - in Europe! - in the early 1990s. [3]


The Gulf War: protecting a US asset


I cannot say with certainty that if the US had not smashed the Iraqi military in 1991, Iraq would have renewed the war with Iran.

Nor can I know what discussions went on, in secret, between US intelligence - including perhaps Dr. Khalilzad - and the Iranians.

But it is clear from Khalilzad's article that US strategists were worried because Iran suffered from "strategic inferiority" and needed "a degree of protection."

If Iraq had conquered Iran, it would have been a world-class setback for Islamic fundamentalism.

The US and European foreign policy establishments did not want this to happen because Islamism was (and still is) an important weapon in their struggle for total world domination. [4]

For starters, the defeat of "revolutionary" Iran would have hurt the US and Saudi-backed fundamentalists in Afghanistan and the  Bosnian Islamist, Alija Izetbegovic, who was sponsored by the US and the Islamist states. [5]

Driven from state power, humiliated by Iraq, the ayatollahs would have been a joke.

I believe the first Gulf War must be viewed in this context.

The US-led military coalition was responding, it claimed, to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, which was, by modern standards, a small-scale invasion, perhaps comparable to the unprovoked US attack on Panama in 1989.

The punishment was grotesquely out of proportion to the crime.

Iraq's military and industry were crippled. It was hobbled with sanctions. The strategic relationship in the Persian Gulf changed in a matter of days. Iran gained years of breathing space to recover from the losses and grave political strains created by eight years of relentless war, which decimated a generation of Iranian men.

It is a stark testimony to the 'reliability' of the Western media that virtually nobody noted how much Iran gained from the Gulf War.

"Strengthen Iran and contain Iraq," Khalilzad had urged the first Bush administration, and so Bush did - with a vengeance. [4]

And what happened next? Khalilzad became the top policy planner at the Pentagon, and the Pentagon moved against Bosnia, coordinating a campaign of Islamist terror which involved Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and - wouldn't you know it? - Iran. [6]

And now, the US has taken Iraq into receivership, a move that can only further strengthen Iran's fundamentalist rulers, giving them at last and at least a safe rear to expand their organizational strength among Muslims in the former Soviet Union, Asia, the Middle East and Europe as well.

And who is the US political envoy in Iraq? Who is the National Security Council Director for the Persian Gulf including Iran and Iraq, and also Southwest Asia "and other regional issues"?

Why, it is none other than Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran U.S. expert on using Islamic terror against secular regimes.

Jared Israel
Emperor's Clothes

[Footnotes and Further Reading Follows the Appeal]


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Footnotes and Further Reading


[1] See, "Zalmay Khalilzad - Envoy for Islamic Terror," by Jared Israel, at

Regarding the creation of an Islamic terrorist movement by the US and Saudi Arabia during the 1980s Afghan war, see, "Zbigniew and Zalmay's Excellent Afghan Pro-Terrorist Propaganda Adventure," by Jared Israel
(Above title refers to bigniew Brzezinski and Zalmay Khalilzad)

The above article proves that former Carter security adviser Brzezinski and Afghan adviser Zalmay Khalilzad, two key planners of the Afghan holy war in the 1980s, were sufficiently aware of the true nature of the mujahideen to create a company to do propaganda work for these gentlemen. If you check the 'Footnotes and Further Reading' section at the end, you'll find a lot of related information/documentation. Food for thought.

[2] The following excerpt from a 1992 New York Times article reports on Khalilzad's strategy of "strengthening Iran and containing Iraq."

[Excerpt from NY Times article starts here]

Mr. Bush and his aides were urged to rethink Persian Gulf policy from the moment they took office. Shortly after Mr. Bush won the Presidency in November 1988, a State Department strategist drafted a paper for the President-elect urging that the United States take a fresh approach to the region.

Mr. Khalilzad advised in the paper that America's new policy should concentrate on strengthening Iran and containing Iraq. The paper was included in the State Department Policy Planning Staff's official 'transition book,' which reviewed all the foreign policy issues the new President would soon have to confront.

-- The 1992 CAMPAIGN - Bush's Greatest Glory Fades As Questions on Iraq Persist; June 27, 1992, Saturday, Late Edition - Final George Bush Section 1; Page 1; Column 5; Foreign Desk

[Excerpt from NY Times article ends here]

[3] * Regarding the 'Bosnian period' in Khalilzad's career, go to

* Regarding Pentagon coordination of fundamentalist terror in Bosnia during this same period, see, "U.S. & Iran: Enemies in Public, but Secret Allies in Terror," by Jared Israel, at

[4] To read the National Security Council notice announcing Khalilzad's appointment as top man for the Persian Gulf, Southwest Asia and "Other Regional Issues", go to

Defenders of US policy claim that the US-Saudi creation of an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist force in Afghanistan in the 1980s was a mistake. But the "Jihad Textbook Scandal" belies that claim.

During the period from the early 1980s up to and including the current time, USAID paid the Afghan center at the University of Nebraska to write, edit and print millions of Islamic fundamentalist textbooks. Until recently the books included illustrations of jihadists killing infidels. Now apparently the pictures have been removed, but the Islamic fundamentalist message remains. The books have been distributed to schools in Afghanistan. For children.

This is still going on. USAID distributed millions of Islamist textbooks in Afghanistan last year. Mr. Bush defended the textbooks as beacons of tolerance.

All the Afghan Islamists, including the Taliban, have used the books. For years, the books included pictures of mujahideen killing infidels with modern (i.e., US-supplied) weapons. Now we are told the pictures have been removed. But the Islamic fundamentalist message remains.

Why would the US ship many millions of these books into Afghanistan unless they wished to foment Islamic fundamentalism and terror?

The distribution of these books combines two crimes: indoctrinating children with monstrous ideas and violating Afghan national sovereignty.

We have posted two articles on this subject:

* "Bush & the Media Cover up the Jihad Schoolbook Scandal," by Jared Israel

* "The ABC's Of Jihad In Afghanistan * Courtesy, USA"

[5] Regarding the philosophy of the US-backed leader, Alija Izetbegovic, in Bosnia, see "Who was Alija Izetbegovic?
Moderate 'George Washington' of Bosnia or Islamist Murderer?"


Note added April 27, 2004 - For more on what lies behind the Iraq war, see Jared Israel's series, "How the Lies of Scott Ritter Reveal the Strategic Goals of the Bizarre Iraq War"
Part 1 is posted at


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