UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

United States policy towards Iraq, 1988-1990 Azmi, Khaled


The cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war changed the strategic environment in the Gulf region. It posed a challenge for United States policy towards Iraq. Emerging as a strong regional power from the war, Iraq was determined to play a leading role in regional affairs. The United States realized that normal relations with Iraq would serve American interests. U.S. policy objective was to moderate Iraqi behavior by proposing economic and political incentives to Baghdad. The policy however failed. This thesis investigates United States policy towards Iraq in the period from August 1988 to August 1990. It addresses how the United States dealt with Iraq during this period. It is an attempt to reconstruct the logic and behavior of American policy towards Iraq. The research depends on American sources. Interviews were conducted with State Department officals. American Government documents and press reports constitute the second source. The thesis deals with how the American policy was formulated, implemented, and failed. It is difficult to pin point the reason for the failure of the policy. The public record does not offer much help. The policy of engaging Iraq, rather than isolating it, was correct. However, it is difficult to explain why the policy did not change, when it became apparent, in Spring 1990, that it was not working. A complete answer must wait the first-hand testimony of officials who made the decisions and the unveiling of the complete historical record.

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