Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 12 January 2021)
Thirty years ago, in the early hours of 17 January 1991, Operation "Desert Storm" began in the Persian Gulf, the war against Iraq which opened the sequence of post-Cold War wars. It was launched by the US and its allies at the moment, after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union itself were about to dissolve. This created an entirely new geopolitical situation, and the US was plotting a new strategy to take full advantage of it. In the 1980s, the US supported Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the war against Khomeini's Iran. But when in the 1988 this war ended, the US feared that Iraq would acquire a prominent role in the region. They then implemented the "divide and rule" policy again.
The US pushed Kuwait to demand immediate repayment of the credit granted to Iraq and to damage it by over-exploiting the oil field that extends under both territories. Washington made Baghdad believe it wanted to remain neutral in the conflict between the two countries, but, when in July 1990 Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait, US formed an international coalition against Iraq. A force of 750 thousand men, of which the 70 percent Americans, under the orders of US General Schwarzkopf. For 43 days, since 17 January 1991, the US and allied aviation carried out, with 2800 planes, beyond 110 thousand sorties, dropping 250 thousand bombs, including those in clusters that released beyond 10 millions of submunitions. In the bombing participated, along with the US ones, British air and naval forces, French, Italian, Greek, Spanish, Portuguese, Belgian, Dutch, Danes, Norwegians and Canadians.
The 23 February the coalition troops, comprising over half a million soldiers, launch the land offensive. It ends on 28 February with a "temporary ceasefire" proclaimed by President Bush. Right after the Gulf War, Washington sends an unequivocal message to adversaries and allies: “The United States remains the only state with a force, a scope and influence in every dimension - political, economic and military - truly global. There is no substitute for American leadership " (United States National Security Strategy, August 1991). The Gulf War was the first war in which the Italian Republic participated under US command, violating the article 11 of the Constitution. NATO, while not participating officially as such, puts its forces and bases at its disposal. A few months later, in November 1991, the Atlantic Council launched, in the wake of the new US strategy, the "new strategic concept of the Alliance".
In the same year, the "new defense model" was launched in Italy, upsetting the Constitution, and indicates as mission of the armed forces "the protection of national interests wherever necessary". Thus with the Gulf War the strategy that guided the subsequent wars under US command was born - Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001, Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2011, and others - presented as "humanitarian operations for the export of democracy". How much this corresponds to the truth is testified by the millions of dead, invalids, orphans, refugees provoked by the Gulf War, the one that in August 1991 President Bush called "the crucible of the new world order". To these must be added one and a half million deaths, including half a million children, provoked in Iraq by subsequent 12 years of embargo, plus many others due to the long-term effects of depleted uranium bullets used massively in the war. After that of the embargo, a new massacre was caused by the second war in Iraq launched in 2003.
Trillions of dollars spent on war are being burned in the same "crucible": only for the second war on Iraq, the Congressional Office of the Budget estimated US long-term spending at approximately 2000 billions of dollars. All this must be kept in mind when, soon, someone will remind us in the big media of the thirtieth anniversary of the Gulf War, "The crucible of the new world order".
(Il Manifesto, 12 January 2021)