Main Points

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  1. an insurgency is defined as an organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict.


  • Importance
  • motives
  • western negligence

importance of Iraqi chemical arsenal

  • broke a precedent that existed since world war 1
  • first army to fully integrate a chemical arsenal
  • created long term suffering unmatched by anything since hiroshima

motive for use of chemical weapons

  • counter balance Israeli Arsenal
  • fend off Iranian Human wave horde attacks
  • artillery was prohibitively expensive
  • gas was cheap
  • gas is very disruptive to the tempo of operations
  • US credibility was so weak that Iraq could deflect all criticism by pointing to the US support for Iran via Israel
  • because the US choose a side it felt obligated to defuse Iraqi blame in the atrocity
  • the US wanted to prevent international condemnation that might be traced back to US involvement
  • Iraqi's could effectively implicate the Iranians and suggest they had no choice but to level the playing field

western negligence

  • absence of a of an early, strong, and unequivocal international condemnation
  • western companies are implicated in the pursuit of Iraqi chemical technology
  • US led but western supported refusal to strongly condemn chemical weapons could have re-stigmatized these weapons at no great diplomatic cost but that did not occur

Is peter Galbrieth the man to consult on Iraq?


  • Kurds
  • Iran
  • the West
  • Iraq


  • demoralized support for war effort
  • encouraged nuclear program
  • gave iran an indispensable over due reality check
  • plunged them into a self reinforcing cycle in which they could not publicize Iraqi attacks out of fear they would incite mass panic but at this made them incapable of rallying international condemnation


  • because gas was readily available and proved effective it was inevitably absorbed as a tool of counter insurgency
  • in addition gas was becoming less effective as the Iranian defenses improved so they were looking for a new use for it
  • Saddam's desire to reassert power, reduce the Kurdish threat and punish the kurds evolved into ending their annoyance once and for all - genocide
  • increased the flight factor
  • increased pace of village relocation program
  • break the nexus between gurillas and villagers
  • funneled kurds out into the open for a genocide
  • demoralize the kurds in to believing that the insurgency could not protect the kurdish people
  • if they were shown to be incapable of doing that the population would be demoralized - hence gassing sarted to target civilians
  • it is unclear why but at some point the natural association between gas and insurgency naturally extended to genocide


  • escalated biological weapons program
  • reinforced Saddam's belief that he could invade Kuwait


  • eroded credibility
  • irreparable harm to US strategic Interests
  • eroded the stigmatization of employing chemical weapons
  • eroded the principal that their are benefits to putting constraints on acceptable warfare tactics, which promotes peace by preventing both sides from hardening their stances

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