Liberals, isolationists and others opposed to American intervention have lately been arguing even more than usual that Saddam Hussein, Muammar Qaddafi and Bashar Assad were not that bad, even going as far to praise these rogues. All three of them were truly bad for the
States and the world.
Hussein, Qaddafi and Assad were all anti-American, brutal dictators who sponsored terrorism and who possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD), with all but Qaddafi using them. During the Cold War, they were pro-Soviet and the socialist regimes they led became Soviet client states. All three were anti-Israeli militant Muslims with expansionist aims.
Hussein’s Baathist regime sponsored terrorism by harboring and financing terrorists who targeted and killed Americans. For example, Hussein harbored Abu Nidal, harbored for decades until the Palestinian terrorist was murdered only a few months before the Liberation of Iraq. Nidal led an organization responsible for many attacks in 20 countries in Asia and Europe in the 1980s and 90s, which killed and injured several hundred people, including the shootings at the Rome and Vienna airports in 1985, in which 19 were killed and over 100 injured. Hussein harbored one of the 1993
bombers. He also harbored Abu Abbas, another
Palestinian terrorist through whom Hussein openly funneled money to Palestinian
the families of suicide bombers from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad,
some of whom targeted and killed Americans.
Abbas was responsible for the Achille
Lauro hijacking in 1985, in which an American was murdered. The terrorist was captured during the
Liberation of Iraq. Furthermore, Hussein
fostered Islamism, which has resulted in the cooperation between Baathist
holdouts and Islamist terrorists, such as al-Qaeda in World Trade
Center Iraq, which has
become the “Islamic State.”
Hussein regarded himself as another Saladin, the medieval Kurdish conqueror who defeated the Crusaders. The Iraqi dictator committed aggression by invading
in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990
and fired missiles indiscriminately into Israel in 1991. After the Liberation of Kuwait, he violated
the 1991 ceasefire by failing to provide reparations to the latter, in addition
to attacking Coalition aircraft patrolling the no-fly zones meant to protect
Iraqi Shi’ites and Kurds from Hussein, as the Iraqi dictator regarded the
“Mother of all Battles” never to have ended after the Liberation of Kuwait in
1991. His regime attempted the
assassination of former U.S. President George H.W. Bush.
Hussein had used chemical WMDs against Iranians and Iraqi Kurds and had a nuclear weapons program. He failed to comply with United Nations resolutions to prove he had destroyed his known chemical WMDs, thousands of which were discovered after the Liberation of Iraq in 2003, in addition to quantities of sarin and nerve gas used to make more chemical WMDs.
Iraq also possessed missiles of a
longer range than permitted under UN resolutions, while having cheated in the
meantime on the UN oil embargo while striving for his regime to outlast the
sanctions in order to reconstitute his WMD programs.
Qaddafi sponsored terrorism, such as the bombing of Americans in
Germany in 1985, which
killed an American, the 1988 bombing of a civilian airliner over that killed over 240, including many Americans, as well as other attacks. The Libyan dictator was a
pan-Arabist who was always trying to expand his territory in North Africa and
even claimed control of the international waters of the Lockerbie,
of Sidra, firing on American forces patrolling it to protect the
freedom of the seas. Qaddafi possessed chemical
WMDs, some of which he retained after promising to destroy them.
Assad also sponsors terrorism, by harboring Palestinian terrorists and by making
Syria a conduit
for Iranian support for Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Lebanese
Shi’ite Hezbollah, which, after al-Qaeda, is the terrorist organization that
has killed the most Americans. Hezbollah
and Iran fights for Assad’s
Syrian regime, which is Iran’s
only Arab ally. Iran is the
largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. Assad’s regime believes in “Greater Syria,”
which includes dominating Lebanon. Syria used chemical WMDs and continues to use chlorine as a chemical weapon.
The main interest of Hussein, Qaddafi and Assad was their own survival and that of their regime. They were skilled at keeping their unpopular regimes in power, often by trying to fool Westerners that they were a better alternative to Islamist terrorists, even though these dictators were themselves terrorists. Indeed, they would make alliances with such terrorists for survival or harness Islamism for their own ends. Therefore, even if these dictators seemed to be on the American side against Islamists, they were not necessarily reliable allies, even on only an ad hoc basis. Regardless, Hussein, Qaddafi and Assad were enemies whose removal from power is in the best interest of the
U.S. and the