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Reagan Armed Radical Muslims; Bush Alienated Them

excerpts from a report by Juan Cole. August 2, 2005

By giving the Mujahideen weaponry like the stinger shoulder-held missile, which could destroy advanced Soviet arms like their helicopter gunships, Reagan demonstrated to the radical Muslims that they could defeat a super power.

Reagan also decided to build up Saddam Hussein in Iraq as a counterweight to Iran, authorizing US and Western companies to send him precursors for chemical and biological weaponry. At one point Donald Rumsfeld was sent to Iraq to assure Saddam that it was all right if he used chemical weapons against the Iranians. Reagan had no taste in friends.

On becoming president, George H. W. Bush made a deal with the Soviets that he would cut the Mujahideen off if the Soviets would leave Afghanistan.

The last Soviet troops departed in early 1989. The US then turned its back on Afghanistan and allowed it to fall into civil war, as the radical Muslim factions fostered by Washington and Riyadh turned against one another and used their extensive weaponry on each other and on civilians.

In the meantime, Saddam, whom the US had built up as a major military power, invaded Kuwait. The Bush senior administration now had to take on its former protege, and put hundreds of thousands of US troops into the Gulf and Saudi Arabia.

The radical Muslim extremists with whom Reagan and Bush had allied in Afghanistan now turned on the US, objecting strenuously to a permanent US military presence in the Muslim holy land.

You have been reading excerpts from "Fisking the 'War on Terror'" by Juan Cole. You can read the entire piece here: tinyurl.com/a3czn. Thanks to Juan Cole for this and much more. We visit his excellent blog, juancole.com, often, and we hope you will too.

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