German newspaper: Did Washington give the “green light” for Saddam to invade Kuwait?

A German newspaper opened the file of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait again, before the anniversary of the invasion that falls on the second of August. 

Did Washington play a role in this invasion? 

What did the WikiLeaks documents reveal in this regard?

The German newspaper Die Welt published a report, in which it shed new light on the mysterious role of the United States in the first Gulf War, to re-ask the question that has long been reported about Washington’s role in that war, and whether the US ambassador to Iraq at the time, April Glaspie, ​​had given the “green light” Indeed, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait during her meeting with him just a few days before the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, or did the ambassador’s words have been understood by the Iraqi leadership differently from what Glaspie meant?

The Controversial meeting

The US Foreign Policy Magazine dealt with the famous interview between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the American Ambassador April Glaspie, noting that the Ambassador made it clear to the Iraqi President that she has no opinion in the Iraq border dispute Kuwait, which made some people blame the words of the American Ambassador for the occurrence of this invasion.

However, the US magazine said that the US State Department had also sent assurances earlier to Saddam, that Washington has no special defense or security obligations towards the State of Kuwait. 

Which negates the matter confined to the meeting between the US ambassador and the Iraqi president at that time.

After the Iraqi army invaded the State of Kuwait, and the counter-international rally led by Washington to liberate the small Gulf states, Glaspie appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington in March 1991.

The Senate wanted to examine whether Glaspie had caused the wrong signal to be transmitted to the Iraqi government, which Encouraged her to invade its neighbor Kuwait.

Glaspie insisted, according to the session’s protocol, which was reported by the media at the time, that she had repeatedly warned the Iraqi president of the consequences of his attack on Kuwait, but in a diplomatic tone, which was also explained by James Akins, the former US ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who commented on this matter, that it is in the language Diplomacy You cannot direct the warning, as some believe, directly, as if you say: “The president will go for it.

If you really think about entering Kuwait, we will confront you with the height of anger, your country will be destroyed, and your palaces will be destroyed”. 

“Neither me nor any other diplomat would have said these words,” according to the newspaper Die Welt.

Difference in translation?

In mid-September 1990, during the preparation of the US President George HW Bush for the International Coalition for the Liberation of Kuwait, Iraqi government departments passed the conversation protocol between Saddam and the US ambassador to the ABC-News correspondent, as the New York Times published on September 23, 1990 what it said was the text of the conversation, referring to the suspect source, but the US State Department declined to comment.

According to the original and passed Arabic version published by the US newspaper, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein: “We do not have any opinion about Arab / Arab conflicts, such as your border disputes with Kuwait”. 

“I was at the US embassy in Kuwait in the late sixties,” she said.

“The instructions during this period were that we should not express an opinion on this issue”.

In the English version of the protocol published by Margaret Thatcher Foundation later, she also said: We have no opinion about Arab / Arab conflicts like yours with Kuwait.

Minister Baker directed me to confirm the instructions that were first given to Iraq in the 1960s.

The issue of Kuwait is not related to America.

In the Iraqi version, Glaspie said: “We see that you deployed huge forces in the south, usually this is not our business, but by linking it with your previous threats that you mentioned during national holidays, it makes sense to feel anxious, and for this reason I received instructions to ask you about your intentions in the spirit of friendship – not in a spirit of confrontation”.

As for the English version, Glaspie says, “We see that you are concentrating a large number of forces in the south. 

This is not usually our business, but when it comes to threats against Kuwait, it makes sense that we are concerned. 

For this reason, I received instructions to ask you about your intentions in a spirit of friendship, not confrontation: Why are your forces so close to the Kuwaiti border?

In other words, the Arabic version neglected the accurate question of the United States about the reason for the buildup of Iraqi forces near the Kuwaiti border, according to the German newspaper, Die Welt.

WikiLeaks reveals the content of a secret letter

Foreign Policy magazine had also addressed these differences in wording, and stated that Saddam had repeatedly boycotted the US ambassador, telling her a list of grievances for her to reach the US president, and he accused the United States of having malicious intentions against his country, which shows – in the magazine’s opinion – that the Iraqi president had enough time to understand US intentions, and it is not true that only one sentence is the reason why Saddam did not understand the ambassador’s words or interpret it incorrectly, extracting the magazine.

For its part, the German magazine Der Spiegel recalls how the veteran US ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspie who speaks Arabic, secretly sent a detailed message to the US administration, entitled “Saddam’s friendship with President Bush”.

The message, which was later revealed, is how Saddam and his associates influenced the delicate economic situation Iraq was going through after eight years of bloody war with Iran. 

Glaspie says the translator and his companions cried while displaying the economic situation in front of her, according to Der Spiegel.

In January 2011, the controversial WikiLeaks platform published the original text of the secret US ambassador’s letter sent to Washington, where the 32-paragraph letter showed how Glaspie did not give the green light to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, according to the newspaper Die Welt. 

The newspaper added that after this document appeared in public, Middle East expert Juan Cole commented, “These documents show unambiguously that Glaspie’s critics owe her an apology”.