Did Saddam Hussein ever dream of expanding elsewhere?

aggienation

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Iraq has only a very small outlet to the Persian Gulf (she has half of the Shatt-al-arab river). Saddam's goal in invading Iran was to gain control over the entire Shatt-al-arab, which would greatly expedite Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf. But after that long drawn-out war, with immense casualties, the Iran-Iraq war ended as a draw, with both nations pushed back to their original pre-war boundaries.
Then, Saddam decided to invade and annex Kuwait. This would also greatly expand Iraq's access to the Persian Gulf, in addition to gaining Kuwait's oilfields. He didn't foresee how determined the American military response would be to preventing this occupation of Kuwait. It wasn't so much acquisition of additional territory, as access to the Persian Gulf, that Saddam wished to obtain.
Let's not forget that Iraq's population is 70% Shi'a Arab, that it is the second largest Shi'a nation in the world (after Iran), and its members are very closely tied to the clergy that had taken over Iran in 1979. Saddam went to war against Iran also to prevent a similar revolution from breaking out in Iraq.
 
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He definitely wanted Kuwait's oil fields.

He did see himself in the light of the great Babylonian or Mesopotamian rulers but he surely knew these were mainly pipe dreams, so expand his resources yes .......... but actual territory? I don't think so.

What one wants and what someone know's is doable are two different things.
 

Futurist

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Let's not forget that Iraq's population is 70% Shi'a Arab, that it is the second largest Shi'a nation in the world (after Iran), and its members are very closely tied to the clergy that had taken over Iran in 1979. Saddam went to war against Iran also to prevent a similar revolution from breaking out in Iraq.
60% Shi'a Arab--or at the very most 65% Shi'a Arab.

Also, wasn't Saddam Hussein's Faith Campaign also meant to make Iraq revolution-proof?
 

aggienation

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60% Shi'a Arab--or at the very most 65% Shi'a Arab.

Also, wasn't Saddam Hussein's Faith Campaign also meant to make Iraq revolution-proof?
From CIA Factbook: "Muslim (official) 95-98% (Shia 64-69%, Sunni 29-34%), Christian 1% (includes Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Assyrian Church of the East), other 1-4% (2015 est.) "

The Faith Campaign didn't start until long after the Iran Iraq War. It was done as secularism as a whole was dying out in the Muslim world. Being a member of the Sunni minority, Saddam needed to fully win the support of the Sunni extremists or risk alienating them and facing opposition from even the tribal Sunni elements, who were supposed to be his base. That was also the time much of the secular laws Iraq had previously passed, especially concerning women's rights, alcohol, etc., were removed and more Sharia aligned laws were promoted. Saddam University in Baghdad provided extensive education on Islamic ideology, especially Wahhabist/Salafist, so its no wonder that ISIS sprung up from among its graduates and major power players of the Ba'ath Party.
 
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Futurist

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The bone of contention between Iran and Iraq is ownership of the Shatt al-Arab waterway and the Iranian province of Khuzestan along it's eastern banks.
Yep--Saddam wanted better access to the Persian Gulf and to incorporate the Khuzestani Arabs (and the Khuzestani oil reserves as well, of course!) into Iraq.

If Saddam was still in control now I'm not sure he would have gotten involved in Syria, and I doubt there even would be a problem in Syria, as while there are real grievances held by some Syrians, daesh infected the country only because Iraq is a basket case since 2003.
Syrian began rebelling before ISIS showed up there, though. ISIS and al-Qaeda were either non-existent or extremely weak back in 2011.

There is also the Kurdish problem which Iraq has just as much as Syria and Turkey. A Kurdish state on the east bank of the Euphrates is probably not something that Saddam would have welcomed as it would give encouragement to Kurds in Iraq, and of course the Turks would, as they have in reality, take action. It's all best left alone I think as there is no solution that suits all parties, except those with ill will towards Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
Actually, I was thinking of Saddam trying to incorporate some of Syria's Sunni Arab population into Iraq in order to strengthen his own power base. Obviously Saddam would have had no use for the Syrian Kurds.

Any sort of "Empire" forming in that part of the world will be attacked by USA/Israel during birth anyway. The First Gulf War can be seen as a precursor to this, with 2003 making sure that Iraq would not become a threat again.
The great irony, though, is that had Saddam waited until after the Democrats came to power in the US to invade Kuwait, he might have actually gotten away with doing this.
 

aggienation

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Syrian began rebelling before ISIS showed up there, though. ISIS and al-Qaeda were either non-existent or extremely weak back in 2011.

Actually, I was thinking of Saddam trying to incorporate some of Syria's Sunni Arab population into Iraq in order to strengthen his own power base. Obviously Saddam would have had no use for the Syrian Kurds.
Sunni Islam had a major faith revival throughout the late 80s and early 90s, largely the result of the failure of various secular pan-Arab govt, as well as strong pressure and financial backing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Starting in the early 90s the tribal Sunni Arabs of Syria were starting to break away from the Ba'athist govt of the Assads, who were strong members of the minority Alawite sector of Shi'a, who the Sunni Arabs accused (rightfully) of bias, oppression, and corruption in favor of the Alawites and their allies, against the Sunni Arabs. So the Assads were losing their Sunni Arab support long before Iraq was invaded in 2003.

That war enflamed the Sunni Arabs of Iraq and Eastern Syria even more, as the border between them was always more theoretical than real, with many major tribes living on both sides. When the Sunni Arab insurgency sprung up in Iraq against the US led Coalition occupying the country in league with its now Shi'a Arab majority govt trying to form itself, eastern Syria became the safe haven area in which the various Sunni Arab insurgent groups used to organize, train, equip, and use as rat lines to smuggle in men and material for the fight. The US knew this, and even though technically at that time Syria was a semi-ally with the US in the Global War on Terror (really the War against Sunni Extremists), the Assad regime was happy to allow the insurgent groups to effectively control Eastern Syria as long as they didn't oppose his rule otherwise. When Iraq firmly broke down in 2011, when the US had left and the Shi'a dominated Baghdad govt had alienated the Sunni Arab population to the point they were in an uprising, that conflict spilled over into Syria, just in time to get caught up in the secular Arab Spring movement in Syria.

Making matters worse, in a move of either brilliance or massive stupidity, Assad purposely emptied the prisons holding most of his worst Sunni Arab extremist prisoners, most of whom were Wahhabist/Salafist terrorists allied with Al Qaeda or other major movements, in a bid to change the narrative of the Syrian Civil War from a secular rebellion against a corrupt region, to a sectarian civil war, of extremist Sunni Arabs vs everyone else. Assad knew he could barely count on the support of most of the Sunni Arabs outside a few loyal governorates, so he poisoned the well in order to fully solidify the support of the non-Sunni Arab Syrians, especially the Alawites, who in the beginning seemed quite happy to be fighting a sectarian civil war, which they translated as a holy quest against the "evil" Sunnis.

The great irony, though, is that had Saddam waited until after the Democrats came to power in the US to invade Kuwait, he might have actually gotten away with doing this.
That's an interesting concept. Dukakis would probably have fired some cruise missiles at him, pushed a UN Security Council Resolution condemning him, instituted more sanctions, but that's it. Kuwait would likely have ended up Iraqi controlled.
 
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Futurist

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Sunni Islam had a major faith revival throughout the late 80s and early 90s, largely the result of the failure of various secular pan-Arab govt, as well as strong pressure and financial backing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Starting in the early 90s the tribal Sunni Arabs of Syria were starting to break away from the Ba'athist govt of the Assads, who were strong members of the minority Alawite sector of Shi'a, who the Sunni Arabs accused (rightfully) of bias, oppression, and corruption in favor of the Alawites and their allies, against the Sunni Arabs. So the Assads were losing their Sunni Arab support long before Iraq was invaded in 2003.

That war enflamed the Sunni Arabs of Iraq and Eastern Syria even more, as the border between them was always more theoretical than real, with many major tribes living on both sides. When the Sunni Arab insurgency sprung up in Iraq against the US led Coalition occupying the country in league with its now Shi'a Arab majority govt trying to form itself, eastern Syria became the safe haven area in which the various Sunni Arab insurgent groups used to organize, train, equip, and use as rat lines to smuggle in men and material for the fight. The US knew this, and even though technically at that time Syria was a semi-ally with the US in the Global War on Terror (really the War against Sunni Extremists), the Assad regime was happy to allow the insurgent groups to effectively control Eastern Syria as long as they didn't oppose his rule otherwise. When Iraq firmly broke down in 2011, when the US had left and the Shi'a dominated Baghdad govt had alienated the Sunni Arab population to the point they were in an uprising, that conflict spilled over into Syria, just in time to get caught up in the secular Arab Spring movement in Syria.
Iraq was actually pretty stable in 2011, no? I seem to recall that Iraq was pretty stable until either 2013 or 2014--by which point in time Syria was already fully immersed in its civil war.

Making matters worse, in a move of either brilliance or massive stupidity, Assad purposely emptied the prisons holding most of his worst Sunni Arab extremist prisoners, most of whom were Wahhabist/Salafist terrorists allied with Al Qaeda or other major movements, in a bid to change the narrative of the Syrian Civil War from a secular rebellion against a corrupt region, to a sectarian civil war, of extremist Sunni Arabs vs everyone else. Assad knew he could barely count on the support of most of the Sunni Arabs outside a few loyal governorates, so he poisoned the well in order to fully solidify the support of the non-Sunni Arab Syrians, especially the Alawites, who in the beginning seemed quite happy to be fighting a sectarian civil war, which they translated as a holy quest against the "evil" Sunnis.
Yeah, basically Assad made the non-Sunni Arabs of Syria so terrified of what would happen if he was overthrown that they felt like they had no choice but to fight for him.

That's an interesting concept. Dukakis would probably have fired some cruise missiles at him, pushed a UN Security Council Resolution condemning him, instituted more sanctions, but that's it. Kuwait would likely have ended up Iraqi controlled.
Yes, and the same would have also likely been true had Bill Clinton been US President at the time of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in place of Bush Sr.
 

aggienation

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Iraq was actually pretty stable in 2011, no? I seem to recall that Iraq was pretty stable until either 2013 or 2014--by which point in time Syria was already fully immersed in its civil war.
2011 saw massive protests against the Baghdad govt spring up all over Iraq, predominately in very core areas of Sunni Arab control, over issues of corruption and especially oppression of the Sunni Arabs by the Shi'a dominated Baghdad govt (a true claim, they were out of control and doing really stupid things). The Malaki govt could have responded better to these protests, addressing some of the issues, giving concessions, instead they used iron handed tactics to suppress them, including mass arrests and jailing, which inflamed the situation exponentially.

At that point in Iraq, there had been a never ending/ongoing Phase 1 insurgency by early ISIS insurgents (having recently changed name from Al Qaeda in Iraq) that operated in all Sunni Arab majority areas. It was low scale and more of just harassing and annoyance. But that morphed into a nation wide insurgency, where former Sunni insurgents, who had calmed down in the 2007-2009 phase, once again took up arms against the Shi'a, this time teaming up with ISIS, as it was the strongest, best funded, and most domineering group willing to take on the Baghdad govt.

What happened in 2013-2014 was that the now Phase 2 insurgency throughout Sunni Arab Iraq was making the Baghdad hold on various those populated areas tenuous at best. After the Syrian Civil War had gone full Phase 3, ISIS had already sent over an expeditionary force named as the Al Nusra Front (which would later break away from ISIS while remaining loyal to the greater Al Qaeda group, while ISIS splintered from Al Qaeda and became independent). This force had been fighting as a Phase 3 insurgent group in Syria (semi-conventionally), was very well armed and had lots of recent experience in battle. While cities in Nineveh and Anbar provinces in Iraq were at the brink already, with the Iraqi Security Force units (ISF) garrisoning them already at the point they could barely leave their Forward Operating Bases, then a large scale group of ISIS fighters re-entered Iraq from Syria toward Mosul and into Anbar, that was the straw that broke the camel's back. ISF units broke and ran to get back to Shi'a dominated areas, or were captured and massacred. ISIS was able to capitalize on the momentum and vacuum and soon took essentially all land in Iraq that had been dominated by a majority Sunni Arab population.

Even ISIS isn't beaten now in Iraq. The Baghdad govt and the Kurds, supported heavily by the US (and Iran, whose support was less valuable), was able to retake areas controlled by the Phase 3 insurgents, surviving ISIS fighters, which were most of them, simply reverted back to Phase 1 and 2, fighting from the shadows as insurgents, harassing, ambushing, assassinating, car bombing, waiting for that moment when they again weaken the garrisoning forces to the point they can again fight openly and semi-conventionally (Phase 3). Eventually the Iraqi govt will have to make concessions to them, allow a greater role for Sunnis in the national govt, give them autonomous control over their own provinces, etc. But until that time, there will be nothing but conflict and strife.

Same with Syria. Assad, supported by the Russians (and Iran, whose suppose is less valuable), are able to retake areas controlled by Phase 3 insurgents. Who will revert back to Phase 1 and 2 and keep fighting. They'll do this until either all the fighters make the decision to quit, or else the Assad regime makes concessions to get them to quit, or else they win. But that war is far far far from over. Anyone who thinks retaking cities held by Phase 3 insurgents means ultimate victory hasn't been paying attention to events of the last two decades.
 
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