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The Middle East is an extremely volatile region of the world, and much
of the current instability may be due to one man, Saddam Hussein. During the
last few years, under Hussein\'s direction, Iraq has gone from being an oil rich
country to a country that is suffering major embargoes and is low on supplies.
Iraqi leaders are trying to leave as they realize how power can corrupt a man.
If Hussein stays in power, the future looks bleak for the Gulf region.
Iraq used to be a prosperous country. Oil was the main source of income
for the area. During the Iran-Iraq War (Gulf War 1), which was from September
1980 to August 1988, Iraq went from being a wealthy country to a very poor
country, nearly over night. Hussein had used all energy available in that war,
and he came out of it losing over 1/3 of the entire male population of Iraq
(Allman 61). Saddam feels that is actions were justified because he believes
the Iran-Iraq war was a conspiracy by the US, Britain, and Israel to undermine
Iraq (Kondrache 11). This leads people of the world to believe that this is a
man who will stop at nothing to achieve what he wants. He was willing to risk
his whole nation for a more money. High financial priorities? Survey says “yes”
The basis on which Hussein is in power is controversial. He was not
elected to his position, he took it. There was a military coup in 1968 that led
him and his Ba\'ath party to power. He was not elected, as until last year,
there had not been an election since the coup (Cooperman 49). This says that
Hussein has been a tyrant from the start, and his need for power is incredible.
He wants complete domination of the Middle East, if not the world.
Iraq is now a country struggling to survive. It is in the midst of an
embargo, and the people are suffering. Death rates are up, and the amount of
food available is declining. Saddam is displaced from his people, though. He
is not feeling the same effects as they are.
The Pursian Gulf War erupted in 1990 with Hussein ordering an invasion
of neighboring Kuwait, on the grounds that Kuwait was stealing oil from in Iraqi
oil field. The US became involved in this war for the next year, and they
successfully pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. Iraq, however, feels that it won this
war. The leaders of Iraq were still in power after the war ended, so the
popular idea in Iraq is that they won the war. An Eastern European diplomat
commented “Victory is when the ruler stays in power, no matter how many people
he kills, no matter how much the country is ravaged” (Allman 62). The Gulf War
was a moral victory for the Iraqis, or that is what Saddam has led them to
believe. He gained nothing for his people but a second of hope. This hope may
have already flickered out.
After the Pursian Gulf War, the US imposed an embargo on Iraq. Nothing
comes in or goes out of the country. As a result of this, there is a shortage
of food and medicine. The UN sees this problem, and has offered Saddam an
option. If he agrees to Resolution 986, the country would be able to sell oil
in order to buy supplies for it\'s people. However, the UN would have control
over how much and to whom the oil was sold. Saddam says no, as these rules are
too strict. If the UN does not ease up, thousands of Iraqis will die. Hussein
has made it look as if the UN, not himself, will be responsible for those deaths.
Saddam says “Our struggle against the embargo is a holy war” (Allman 62). This
bit of word play may be enough to keep Saddam out of trouble, but it shows that
he is not willing to compromise as he is too greedy. Perhaps he believes that
he will be able to sell the oil on the black market and make more money, which
he will undoubtedly keep for himself.
Hussein himself is a troubled man. He is the paranoid ruler of a poor
country, but he is quite rich. He has so much money that our government even
has no idea what he is worth (Church 47). He has more than 50 palaces in Iraq,
and about 20 of those are in Baghdad (Roberts 55). His people are living in
the gutter but he is
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