Glaspie Memo Leaked: US Dealings With Iraq Ahead of 1990 Invasion of Kuwait Detailed

Published on Nov 23, 2020
Glaspie Memo Leaked: US Dealings With Iraq Ahead of 1990 Invasion of Kuwait Detailed
Ambassador Assured Saddam of Bush's Friendship at July 25 Meeting
by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2011
One of the crown jewels of secret pre-Gulf War negotiations was unveiled tonight when the notorious Glaspie Memo, or as it is now known 90BAGHDAD423, was released by WikiLeaks
The cable, whose official title was "Saddam's Message of Friendship to President Bush" details the meeting between US Ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990, just a week before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
The meeting has long been a matter of speculation, as it had long been speculated that comments by Glaspie had led Saddam to believe that the United States was giving them the green light to invade Kuwait if diplomacy failed.
The memo reveals indeed Hussein expressing concern about the Bush Administration's position on Iraq owing to its participation in military exercises with the United Arab Emirates and pledges to "defend its allies" in the region. He complained the US pledges were making Kuwait and the UAE refuse to negotiate with Iraq. He also expressed concern about negative media coverage in the US, which Ambassador Glaspie assured him did not reflect US policy and singled out a Diane Sawyer report on "nuclear bomb triggers" for condemnation.
Rather Glaspie assured Saddam of Bush's friendship and expressed support for the negotiations being set up by Hosni Mubarak for the weekend of July 28-30. She also explicitly said the United States took no position on the border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait, though the summary also mentions that she made clear the US wanted the move solved peacefully. Hussein assured that no action would be taken against Kuwait if the negotiations showed some progress, which seemed to suit the US at the time.
But the talks didn't accomplish anything and by August 2 Iraq was invading Kuwait. Within hours the mutual friendship was completely torn up and US officials were railing against Iraq. A few months later the US invaded for the first time, sparking invasions, decades of enmity, sanctions which killed massive numbers of Iraqi civilians and, eventually, a full US occupation which continues to this day.
Glaspie Memo Refutes Claims Leaked Docs Were Classified for 'Security'
by Jason Ditz, January 20, 2011
The most sought-after State Department document of the past several decades, the infamous Glaspie Memo, was recently released by WikiLeaks. The memo details a conversation between Ambassador April Glaspie and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on July 25, 1990, exactly one week before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, and Glaspie's reassurances to Hussein both of enduring American friendship and America's disinterest in the Kuwaiti border dispute. In short, it confirmed decades of suspicion that Glaspie had, in the meeting, given Saddam Hussein the impression that the United States was giving him the green light for the invasion.
The revelation, which puts the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed in a decade of post-war sanctions and the even greater numbers killed in the 2003 US invasion in a new, decidedly unseemly light, and does enormous service to historians. More importantly, however, the release of a document that was still officially secret 20 plus years and three presidents later shattered the enduring myth that these documents are classified to prevent them falling into enemy hands. Rather, the classification is done to keep the American public from knowing the truth, and WikiLeaks is doing us a great service in their release.
The Glaspie Memo's existence has been long speculated about, and the real contents were what many had long suspected. The official title of the cable, "Saddam's Message of Friendship to President Bush" only tells part of the story, as Ambassador Glaspie clearly, repeatedly expresses US support for the Iraqi dictator, expressed support for the Egypt-brokered talks between Iraq and Kuwait later that week, and expresses absolutely no opposition when Saddam suggests that he might act unilaterally if the talks didn't show any progress -- indeed Glaspie informs Saddam that "we took no position on these Arab affairs."
The revelation would be damning to the George H.W. Bush Administration and are doubly shameful when one considers that, just a week after Glaspie's reassurances the US embarked on a policy of hostility and sanctions that
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