Home of the Abassid Empire and ancient city of Baghdad, Iraq at the end of the 20th century is a nation is a nation on the brink of the abyss. It has been led for years by strongman Saddam Hussein and has fought a number of disastrous wars in the past decades. But Iraq up until the beginning of the 1980's, Iraq was a prosperous and cosmopolitan country by the standards of the Middle East. Vast oil reserves brought in significant flows of cash, and Iraq boasted a relatively high standard of living. However, in 1980 Iraq invaded Iran and then fought a long, bitter war during the until 1987 which cost approximately 100,000 Iraqi lives and some U.S. $1.2 billion. Then in 1990 Iraq invaded neighboring Kuwait in a struggle which finally brought in the involvement of the United States and other Western powers in a conflict that left Iraq utterly defeated and impoverished. In the wake of that war, United Nations economic sanctions have been in place for many years.
Consequently, the mortality rate today for children in Iraq is consequently very high, and the country still is in ruins and endures the most dire poverty as it is isolated from the larger world. Nevertheless, Saddam Hussein remains firmly in power and the short-term future seems to bring with it little change.
Questions to keep in mind: What role did he play in the Baath party? How did Saddam come to power? What did he do to anyone he did not trust upon assuming power? What message did he want to send to the elite of Iraq? Why did Hussein invade Iran in 1979? What was the result of that war? Did the U.S. help Iraq in that war? Why did he invade Kuwait? Why did he fight a war he could not win against the U.S. rather than leave? Does he have biological, chemical weapons? Nuclear? Would he use them? Can the U.S. get rid of him? Why, or why not? The U.S. has "contained" Hussein. What can we do to get rid of him? What should the U.S. do?
Start here and read everything at: Iraq at Yahoo! Also check out all the links at Open Directory's Iran section. Get good basic Iraqi information at the CIA World Factbook. Range far and wide in search of information over the World Wide Web!
This is also a good general link about Iraq, as is this one. Read about how, "On 9th anniversary of Gulf War, Saddam Hussein calls for sacrifice."
Also, be sure to see the Frontline special on Saddam Hussein. Read that page at length! Know everything!
This is a good link about the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980's. You can get some good pictures here.
Check out this excellent summation of the Gulf War that involved almost all the countries in the area. And check out The Arab Perspective on Saddam Hussein and how he and the conflict are viewed be neighboring countries. Iraq and Islam, Continuing Standoff in Iraq, Defiance in the Desert. A good general Gulf War link. A good general link about Saddam Hussein.
Check out all these Jim Lehr Newshour reports carefully:
August 17, 1999 -- A Continuing Fight After a background report, two experts discuss the reasons behind the continued U.S. bombing raids over Iraq.
February 16, 1999 -- The Standoff Continues With repeated confrontations in the "no-fly" zones, the crisis with Iraq continues.
December 31, 1998 -- No Fly Zones Phil Ponce leads a discussion on the battles over the Iraqi no-fly zones.
December 28, 1998 -- Continuing Tensions A discussion on current UN sanctions, the future of weapons inspections and the latest military action.
December 22, 1998 -- The Sanctions Debate Under Secretary of State Thomas Pickering talks about U.S. efforts to keep those sanctions in place.
December 21, 1998 -- Mission Accomplished? Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski on the recent air strikes against Iraq.
December 17, 1998 -- Madeline Albright The Secretary of State on the goals of the military action in Iraq.
December 17, 1998 -- The Home Front Members of Congress discuss the attack on Iraq and the impeachment debate.
December 16, 1998 -- Striking Iraq The U.S. and British military launch air strikes against Iraq.
December 16, 1998 -- Historical Perspectives An historical perspective on the military attack on Iraq ordered by President Clinton.
November 25, 1998 -- Ousting Hussein The recent confrontation between weapons inspectors and Iraq has brought back the question of getting rid of Saddam Hussein's government.
November 16, 1998 -- Crisis Averted? National Security Adviser Samuel Berger discusses the recent turn of events in Iraq.
November 16, 1998 -- Congress Reacts Four perspectives on the U.S.-Iraqi stand-down.
November 13, 1998 -- Military Might Diplomats in the UN launched last-minute efforts to stave off U.S. military action against Iraq.
November 12, 1998 -- Secretary Albright The secretary of state discusses the ongoing dispute between the United Nations and Iraq.
November 11, 1998 -- Deepening Crisis Four regional experts analyze the crisis in Iraq.
November 10, 1998 -- Continued Stand-Off Iraq's Ambassador Nizar Hamdoon, and chief UN weapons inspector Richard Butler on the latest stand-off.
August 31, 1998 --Scott Ritter The former U.N. weapons inspector criticizes U.S. policy in Iraq.
August 14, 1998 -- A Change In Policy? Debating U.S. policy towards Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
August 6, 1998 -- Ambassador Butler The U.N. chief arms inspector discusses the confrontation with Iraq.
April 27, 1998 -- Exiled Perspectives The U.N. Security Council is debating the Iraq sanctions issue today and so are Iraqi exiles in the United States.
March 13, 1998 -- Assessing The Costs Are sanctions hurting Saddam Hussein or the people of Iraq?
March 2, 1998 -- Ambassador Hamdoon Iraq gives its perspective of the deal reached with the United Nations.
February 27, 1998 -- Capitol Views Does Saddam Hussein intend to keep his end of the deal?
February 25, 1998-- Inspecting The Deal Could the U.N.-brokered deal hamper weapons inspections in Iraq?
February 24, 1998-- U.S. Ambassador Richardson Jim Lehrer with Ambassador Richardson On The Iraq Deal.
February 23, 1998 -- Reports From Jordan The first in a series of global reports on the Iraq situation.
February 20, 1998 --The Other Side Understanding the current crisis from the Iraqi perspective.
February 9, 1998 --Preparing The Public Our regional commentators give local perspectives on the Iraqi crisis.
February 4, 1998 --Marshaling Support Secretary of State Albright attempts to unify international opinion against Iraq.
January 30, 1998 --On The Brink The U.S. tries to rally international support for military action against Iraq.
January 14, 1998 --Ambassador Hamdoon Iraq's ambassador to the UN defends his country's actions.
December 1, 1997 --Food Proposals A discussion on the proposals to ease the impact of international sanctions on Iraq.
November 17, 1997 --Arab Perspectives How do Iraq's neighbors view Saddam Hussein's defiance of U.N. mandates?
November 14, 1997 -- Mr. Berger The National Security Adviser discusses the Iraqi crisis.
November 13, 1997 --Iraq's Answer Deputy PM Aziz defends his country's expulsion of U.N. weapons inspectors.
November 12, 1997 --Amb. Richardson What does the UN Security Council's condemnation of Iraq actually mean?
November 11, 1997 --Stubborn Problem Saddam Hussein continues to test the patience of the U.S. and the U.N.
November 10, 1997 -- Sec. Cohen Defense Secretary William Cohen discusses the brewing Iraqi crisis.
September 4, 1996 -- Strategic Response US armed forces continued to launch cruise missiles at military targets in Southern Iraq today in response to Iraqi attacks on Kurds in Northern Iraq. After a background report, a panel of journalists and Middle East experts debate the effectiveness of attacks.
September 3, 1996 -- Exacting The Price The US military launched cruise missile attacks against 14 Iraqi air defense bases following Iraq's invasion yesterday of the Kurdish "safe haven" in the north of their country. Secretary of Defense William Perry explains the logistics and the politics behind today's counterstrike against Saddam Hussein's regime.
September 3, 1996 -- Matters Of Defense President Clinton has struck against targets in Iraq; now he must face the inevitable scrutiny of his decision.
September 2, 1996 -- Crossing The Line Saddam Hussein is once again flouting the United States and the rest of the world. Iraqui troops have surrounded a Kurd safe zone, and President Clinton must now weigh his response options carefully.
PBS specials: The Perspective from Iraq, Spying on Iraq.