The United States and Middle East:
Why Do They Hate Us?
Z magazine, October 2001
The list below presents specific incidents of U.S. policy.
It minimizes the grievances against the U.S. because it excludes
long-standing policies, such as U.S. backing for authoritarian
regimes (arming Saudi Arabia, training the secret police in Iran
under the Shah, providing arms and aid to Turkey as it attacked
Kurdish villages, etc.). The list also excludes actions of Israel
in which the U.S. is indirectly implicated because Israel has
been the leading or second-ranking recipient of U.S. aid for many
years and has received U.S. weapons and benefited from U.S. vetos
in the Security Council.
* 1949: CIA backs military coup deposing elected government
* 1953: CIA helps overthrow the democratically-elected Mossadeq
government in Iran (which had nationalized the British oil company)
leading to a quarter-century of dictatorial rule by the Shah,
Mohammed Reza Pahlevi.
* 1956: U.S. cuts off promised funding for Aswan Dam in Egypt
after Egypt receives Eastern bloc arms.
1956: Israel, Britain, and France invade Egypt. U.S. does
not support invasion, but the involvement of NATO allies severely
diminishes Washington's reputation in the region.
* 1958: U.S. troops land in Lebanon to preserve "stability."
* 1960s (early): U.S. unsuccessfully attempts assassination
of Iraqi leader, Abdul Karim Qassim.
* 1963: U.S. reported to give Iragi Ba'ath party (soon to
be headed by Saddam Hussein) names of communists to murder, which
they do with vigor.
* 1967-: U.S. blocks any effort in the Security Council to
enforce SC Resolution 244, calling for Israeli withdrawal from
territories occupied in the 1967 war.
* 1970: Civil war between Jordan and PLO. Israel and U.S.
prepare to intervene on side of Jordan if Syria backs PLO.
* 1972: U.S. blocks Sadat's efforts to reach a peace agreement
* 1973: U.S. military aid enables Israel to turn the tide
in war with Syria and Egypt.
* 1973-75: U.S. supports Kurdish rebels in Iraq. When Iran
reaches an agreement with Iraq in 1975 and seals the border, Iraq
slaughters Kurds and U.S. denies them refuge. Kissinger secretly
explains that "covert action should not be confused with
* 1978-79: Iranians begin demonstrations against the Shah.
U.S. tells Shah it supports him "without reservation"
and urges him to act forcefully. Until the last minute, U.S. tries
to organize military coup to save the Shah, but to no avail.
* 1979-88: U.S. begins covert aid to Mujahideen in Afghanistan
six months before Soviet invasion. Over the next decade U.S. provides
more than $3 billion in arms and aid.
* 1980-88: Iran-lraq war. When Iraq invades Iran, the U.S.
opposes any Security Council action to condemn the invasion. U.S.
removes Iraq from its list of nations supporting terrorism and
allows U.S. arms to be transferred to Iraq. U.S. lets Israel provide
arms to Iran and in 1985 U.S. provides arms directly (though secretly)
to Iran. U.S. provides intelligence information to Iraq. Iraq
uses chemical weapons in 1984; U.S. restores diplomatic relations
with Iraq. 1987 U.S. sends its navy into the Persian Guff, taking
Iraq's side; an aggressive U.S. ship shoots down an Iranian civilian
airliner, killing 290.
* 1981, 1986: U.S. holds military maneuvers off the coast
of Libya with the clear purpose of provoking Qaddafi. In 1981,
a Libyan plane fires a missile and two Libyan planes were subsequently
shot down. In 1986, Libya fires missiles that land far from any
target and U.S. attacks Libyan patrol boats, killing 72, and shore
installations. When a bomb goes off in a Berlin nightclub, killing
two, the U.S. charges that Qaddafi was behind it (possibly true)
and conducts major bombing raids in Libya, killing dozens of civilians,
including Qaddafi's adopted daughter.
* 1982: U.S. gives "green light" to Israeli invasion
of Lebanon, where more than 10,000 civilians were killed. U.S.
chooses not to invoke its laws prohibiting Israeli use of U.S.
weapons except in self-defense.
* 1983: U.S. troops sent to Lebanon as part of a multinational
peacekeeping force; intervene on one side of a civil war. Withdraw
after suicide bombing of marine barracks.
* 1984: U.S.-backed rebels in Afghanistan fire on civilian
* 1988: Saddam Hussein kills many thousands of his own Kurdish
population and uses chemical weapons against them. The U.S. increases
its economic ties to Iraq.
* 1990-91: U.S. rejects diplomatic settlement of the Iraqi
invasion of Kuwait (for example, rebuffing any attempt to link
the two regional occupations, of Kuwait and Palestine). U.S. Ieads
international coalition in war against Iraq. Civilian infrastructure
targeted. To promote "stability" U.S. refuses to aid
uprisings by Shi'ites in the south and Kurds in the north, denying
the rebels access to captured Iraqi weapons and refusing to prohibit
Iraqi helicopter flights.
* 1991-: Devastating economic sanctions are imposed on Iraq.
U.S. and Britain block all attempts to lift them. Hundreds of
thousands die. Though Security Council stated sanctions were to
be lifted once Hussein's programs to develop weapons of mass destruction
were ended, Washington makes it known that the sanctions would
remain as long as Saddam remains in power. Sanctions strengthen
* 1993-: U.S. launches missile attack on Iraq, claiming self-defense
against an alleged assassination attempt on former president Bush
two months earlier.
* 1998: U.S. and U.K. bomb Iraq over weapons inspections,
even though Security Council is just then meeting to discuss the
* 1998: U.S. destroys factory producing half of Sudan's pharmaceutical
supply, claiming retaliation for attacks on U.S. embassies in
Tanzania and Kenya and that factory was involved in chemical warfare.
U.S. later acknowledges there is no evidence for the chemical
11th, 2001 - New York City