Clinton orders cruise missile strikes on Iraq

Clinton orders cruise missile strikes on Iraq... 26/06/1993 History

Keywords:#American, #Associated_Press, #Baghdad, #Brent, #Bush, #Iraq, #Iraqi, #Kuwait, #Madeleine_Albright, #Muslim, #Nations, #Persian, #Persian_Gulf, #Persian_Gulf_War,, #President, #Red_Sea, #Saddam, #Saddam_Hussein, #Security_Council, #Tomahawk, #Toyota, #U.N, #United_Nations, #United_States, #Warren_Christopher, #Washington, #Washington_Post, #White_House

By Andrew Glass
06/25/2017 11:30 PM EDT
On this day in 1993, President Bill Clinton ordered U.S. warships stationed in the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles against the headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service in downtown Baghdad.
In all, 23 Tomahawk missiles were fired from the destroyer USS Peterson in the Red Sea and from the cruiser USS Chancellorsville in the Persian Gulf, destroying the building. Iraq claimed that nine civilians were killed in the attack and three civilian houses destroyed.
The early Sunday morning American missile attack was meant to retaliate for an Iraqi plot to assassinate George H.W. Bush during the former president’s visit to Kuwait, where he was to be honored for his role in leading the coalition that drove Iraqi invaders from that country during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Clinton administration officials told The Washington Post that Brent Scowcroft, Bush's former national security adviser, was kept apprised of the investigation into the assassination plot, and that Clinton called Bush minutes after the missile attack was launched to give him the news. Secretary of State Warren Christopher flew to Kennebunkport, Maine, to brief the former president.
(Bush, asked to comment after being reached at his summer home in Kennebunkport by The Associated Press, said: “I'm not in the interview business, but thank you very much for calling.”)
On April 13, the day before Bush was scheduled to arrive for a three-day visit, Kuwaiti authorities foiled a plan to assassinate him. They arrested 16 alleged perpetrators. The plot’s ringleaders, they said, were two Iraqi nationals. The next day, they found a car bomb hidden in a Toyota Land Cruiser that had been driven across the Iraqi border into Kuwait City on the night before.
In ordering the missile strike, Clinton cited “compelling evidence” of direct involvement by Iraqi intelligence operatives in the thwarted assassination attempt. Two days later, Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, told the U.N. Security Council that the attack “was designed to damage the terrorist infrastructure of the Iraqi regime, reduce its ability to promote terrorism, and deter further acts of aggression against the United States.”
Clinton ordered the attack on Friday, June 25. But the raid was delayed a day so it would not fall on the Muslim Sabbath, a White House aide said. About a dozen U.S. allies and friends in the region were told in advance that the attack was coming; the reaction, the aide said, was mostly favorable.
The missiles struck between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Baghdad time because Clinton reportedly wished to minimize possible deaths of innocent civilians.
The regime, led by Saddam Hussein, organized a protest rally in Baghdad and vowed to retaliate against what it termed an unwarranted act of aggression — one that it said dashed any hope of reconciliation with Washington.
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