Compare and contrast the 1990 Gulf War to the 2003 Iraq invasion. Did the position of Arab regimes differ?

2916 Words Mar 12th, 2011 12 Pages
COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE 1990 GULF WAR TO THE 2003 IRAQ INVASION. DID THE POSITION OF ARAB REGIMES DIFFER?

The Gulf War in 1990 and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 both had a profound impact not just on the countries directly involved - primarily Iraq and the United States (US) - but also on the geo-politics of the world. Arguably, the War ended in a stalemate because the Iraqi regime that had started the War by invading Kuwait remained in power. Perhaps inevitably then, in March 2003 the US and its allies invaded Iraq with the stated aim of overthrowing the regime of Saddam Hussein and destroying that regime's Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). Some similarities between both Wars are immediately obvious: for example, the same country, the
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According to this now-infamous study, Saddam had "so overextended his capital in the war with Iran that he was not in a position to undertake any significant hostile action for, at the very least, three years"�. The CIA grossly underestimated Saddam's penchant for military expansionism. Critics of the quality of US intelligence abound. Freedman and Efraim have concluded that "Operation Desert Storm was a low point for Marine Corps intelligence. It revealed an antiquated architecture that was unresponsive to the needs of the United States Army"� while Seliktar writes of an "unprepared organization" and of "considerable in-theatre limitations and restrictions."� Arguably, the military success camouflaged these intelligence failings. Surprisingly, these intelligence failures during the Gulf War were carried over into the Iraq War.

Detractors of the war argued that the US intelligence services provided misleading and inaccurate information about WMD. US intelligence services had miscalculated Iraqi WMD development in the 1980s and it was widely argued that they over compensated in the other direction in the 21st century. One potential explanation for such a mistake was that the CIA tended to rely on technological information rather than gather human intelligence - 'humint' - from 'assets' situated in Iraq and the Middle East. Regardless of this