Before the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the United States of
America spent a lot of time and money in building a fighting force that
could take on, and defeat, the Communist nations anywhere in the world. It
also prepared itself to fight the Third World War.
During the development of our modern history, America faced the Soviet
Union on the issue of its missiles on Cuba. Faced with its determination,
the Soviets caved in, and withdrew its missiles from the Island.
America fought a long-drawn war in Vietnam. Here, it faced a few difficult
situations. First, America faced logistical problems in refurbishing its
forces. Secondly, the communists in Vietnam were fighting a guerilla war,
in which the Americans had little or no prior experience. Thirdly, China
and the Soviet Union helped the Vietnamese with all sinews of war together
with giving them their moral support.
Faced with a huge loss in human lives, and of prestige, the Americans
withdrew from Vietnam. But they (Americans) never forgot the humiliation
it suffered there due to the Soviet Union's involvement on the side of
their adversary. To avenge their defeat, they sided with the Afghan
fighters when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had
to withdraw its forces from Afghanistan after losing a large number of its
soldiers. Its withdrawal from Afghanistan was a slap at the Soviet Union's
After its withdrawal from Afghanistan, Soviet Union faced internal
dissentions. One of the causes behind the dissentions were the Soviet
Union's economic weaknesses, and the American efforts. In a short period
of time, the mighty Soviet Union disintegrated. All its component states
became independent nations. Russia, which was the fountainhead of the
Soviet Union, reverted back to its former borders. Though it still holds a
huge stockpile of nuclear weapons, Russia is like 'another country' of the
world that depends today on America for eliciting economic help from her
as well as from others in order to support her existence.
Simply speaking, the United States of America is the only Super-power that
rules the world today.
This superpower became embroiled with Iraq after it invaded Kuwait.
America demanded its withdrawal. Saddam Hussain refused. In spite of being
able to fight a global war alone, America formed a coalition of
twenty-eight like-minded nations with the intention to oust Iraq from
Kuwait. Russia was one of America's coalition partners.
To Saddam Hussain, America's formation of the coalition meant nothing. He
was confident that he would be able to defeat the combined might of the
twenty-eight nations. The Quran was the source of his inspiration and
confidence. Having familiarized himself with the life stories of the
Prophet Muhammad, he came to the conclusion that no matter how many crimes
he might have committed in his own life, God would always help him so long
as he remained a Muslim!
The Quran describes how a contingent of three hundred Muslim fighters had
defeated an infidel force of seven hundred at the grounds of Badr. It also
describes how Allah helped the smaller number of the believers with one
To understand how Saddam's mind might have worked prior to the gulf war of
1991, we need to go back to the time when the battle of Badr was fought.
Muhammad migrated to Medina in 622 A. D. Finding himself and his followers
in dire economic straits; he decided to rob his Meccan enemy. Soon an
opportunity came his way and he decided to seize it without wasting any
Abu Sofian, a cousin of Muhammad and a pagan, was leading a richly laden
Quraish caravan from Syria to Mecca. It was being escorted by forty
unarmed men. Told by his intelligence of the caravan and its
defenselessness, Muhammad assembled his men to ambush it at Badr.
Muhammad had three hundred armed cadres at his disposal. He and his army
reached Badr and installed themselves at the top of a hill. He
knew that the caravan would have to stop for a drink at the stream that
passed through the hill's foot.
The assembly of Muhammad's army at Badr drew other travelers' attention.
While crossing each other on their way, they shared their sighting with
Abu Sofian. He sensed danger and in order to secure help, he dispatched
his emissary to Mecca. Made known of the danger that Abu Sofian faced, the
Meccans took their arms and proceeded towards Badr to face the Muslim
army. Abu Jahl was the leader of the Meccan rescuers.
Not knowing if he was going to receive help from his people, Abu Sofian
changed the course of his caravan. Turning right, he came on to the
highway by the side of the Red Sea. This passageway to Mecca was beyond
Halfway to Badr, Abu Jahl learned that the caravan was out of danger.
Immediately, he held a meeting to decide, under the changed situation, his
course of action. A group of people among the Meccans opposed shedding
blood of their kindred, even though Muhammad had sown the seed of enmity
among themselves and killed their people. Another group was in favor of
fighting the Muslims. They wanted to avenge for the death Muslims had
caused previously to their men at Nakhla. Abu Jahl sided with the latter
group and about seven hundred of the Meccans proceeded towards Badr.
Told of the marching Meccans, the hearts of Muhammad's followers began to
sink. Their expectations were the culprits that created their condition:
They had joined the foray expecting a little fight, and much plunder. The
prospect of fighting an overwhelming Meccan army created panic in them.
Muhammad consoled them with God's assurance to send them a thousand angels
to fight and win the battle.
The vanguard of the Meccan troops entered the valley of Badr, panting with
thirst, and hastened to the stream for a drink. Hamza, Muhammad's uncle,
set a number of his men upon them and slew their commander with his own
The main body of the Meccan forces now arrived at the venue of the last
massacre, challenging the bravest of the Muslim fighters to equal combat.
A number of individual fights took place in which all of the Meccan
challengers were defeated and slain. The battle then turned into a general
The Muslims, aware of their strength, at first adopted a defensive posture
from their strategic position on top of the hill. From the upper ground,
they assailed the Meccans with flights of arrows, whenever they sought to
quench their intolerable thirst at the stream below. Muhammad, during all
this time, remained within his hut, engaging himself ostensively in
In the fight, the Meccans suffered a number of tactical disadvantages.
They had advanced against the Muslims across soft sand dunes, which left
them victims of exhaustion, whereas the Muslims awaited them standing on a
firm soil, precluding any exertion whatsoever. Moreover, the Muslims
controlled the most essential commodity: The water. The Meccans had none
of this, and without it, no army-no matter how strong - could win a battle
even against a nominal enemy, let alone the highly charged and motivated
Muslim force the Meccans were faced with in the battle of Badr.
In spite of their setback, the Meccans were engaging the Muslims in a
fierce fight when a violent squall whipped the sand in their faces, which
almost blinded them. "Gabriel," cried Muhammad ecstatically,
"with a thousand angels is falling upon the enemy." As if
to bolster the faith of his fighters, he rushed out of his hut, and
picking up a handful of dust, cast it at the Meccans, crying out,
"Confusion on their faces." Then ordering his men to charge down
upon the enemy, he cried: "Fight, and fear not," for "the
gates of Paradise are under the shade of swords. He will assuredly find
instant admission who falls fighting for the faith."
For some time, the battle swayed back and forth, without either side
gaining a clear advantage. At long last, the Meccans began wavering and
lose ground. Then suddenly, they broke and fled. Seventy of them remained
dead, and nearly the same number was taken prisoners. Of the Muslims,
fourteen were slain, whose names remain on records as martyrs to the
Muslim ascribes attribute the success in the battle of Badr to invisible
angelic participation, noting that a thousand of them, clad in long
dazzling robes with white and yellow turbans, mounted on black and white
horses, came rushing like a blast and swept the Meccans before them. They
mention a pagan shepherd who had witnessed the miracle taking place and
he, in this connection, is believed to have made the following statement:
"I was with a companion, a cousin," said the witness, "upon
the fold of the mountain, watching the conflict, and waiting to join the
victors to share the spoil. Suddenly we saw a great cloud moving toward
us, and within it were the neighing of steeds and sound of trumpets. As it
approached, we heard the terrific voice of the archangel as he urged his
mare Haizum, "Speed! Speed! Oh Haizum!" At which awful sound the
hears of my companion burst with terror, and he died on the spot. I, too,
had almost shared his fate."
The pagan's statement was corroborated by Ibn Abbas who had testified to
the occurrence, his statement having been confirmed by none other than
A shrewd man as Muhammad was, he knew that he had a long way to go before
achieving his objectives. He also knew that he would have to face unknown
trials and travails on his journey to success. He knew his people well; he
also knew how they thought and acted. Not knowing the outcome of his
future efforts, he decided that he would credit the divine Will and help
for all of his successes. This decision he took to protect his prophethood
from ever being challenged.
Had he taken the credit for success at Badr, his followers would also have
held him responsible for any defeat that they might have had suffered in
future. His calculation proved correct: Despite being helped by Allah with
five thousand angels, Muhammad lost the battle of Uhud to his
Meccan enemy. He had no other reasons to explain this debacle other than
to have it attributed to his followers' lack of steadfastness, and to the
Will of God!
Saddam took all the Quranic statements to be true. He believed that if he
remained steadfast in his purpose, and sought divine help, God would help
him with invisible angels. In fact, he claimed of such a divine help
during an interview on CNN. He told the interviewer that he was sure that
he would win the "Mother of All Battles," not by the dint of his
firepower and military strength, but with the help of angels from heaven.
With a view to drawing God to his cause, Saddam added "Allah-o-Akbar"
to Iraq's National Flag. He urged his people to have faith in God and in
His help. He foresaw success in the face of massive use of machineguns,
tanks, mortars, and fighter planes etcetera by the Coalition Forces.
In the just concluded war, Saddam Hussain also depended on help from God.
Otherwise, he would not have decided to fight a war at a time when his air
force remained incapacitated, his army and fighting machines geatly
outnumbered by the Coalition Forces.
It was his belief in the Quranic exhortations that drove him to war. It
was its false narratives and promises that brought his country's as well
as his own destruction.