The USA's Response to Terrorism 1991-2004


The USA's Response to Terrorism 1991-2004


  • In 1990 Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, had accused meighbouring Kuwait of stealing oil its oil fields and demanded repayment of $2 billion. This was really motivated by Iraq's huge economic problems due to war debt and a huge drop in the price of oil. Saddam invaded Kuwait, causing the Gulf War
  • On September 11th 2001 Islamic extremists flew two hijacked airliners into New York's twin towers, killing over 3,000 people
  • In 1998 the World Islamic Front declared jihad against the USA
  • George Bush declared Osama Bin Laden the prime suspect for 9/11
  • The Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the activities of al-Qaeda were the driving force


  • The USA declared a war on terrorism- it now had a legitimate reason to do whatever it wanted
  • Any new order of international relations based on collective security was undermined by the USA's response to 9/11
  • The USA and Britain launched Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001, invading Afghanistan to capture Osama Bin Laden and destroy al-Qaeda and the Taliban regime. The regime was removed but Bin Laden not captured.
  • In March 2003 British and American forces invaded Iraq and captured Saddam Hussein.

Overall summary

The USA had seemingly little motive in attacking Iraq- it claimed that Iraq was supporting terrorist organisations and could develop weapons of mass destruction, but no evidence of these was found. It was suggested that the USA's hidden agenda was to control oil prices and weaken oil-producing countries. The Daily Telegraoh stated that "Tony Blair stands accused of committing British troops [to Iraq] on the basis of a lie." The struggle against terrorism had led to instability rather than security, with the USa becoming a post-Cold War imperialist state. Was its response to terrorism simply a desire for world domination, or as revenge for 9/11? Were these good enough reasons for the war?


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