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Miracles that saved the world or Chronicle of events in the Persian Gulf

Despite all the fears that the war with the regime of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would escalate into a world war between the US-led coalition forces and the Soviet Union supporting Saddam, the terrible scenario did not materialize — just as the Rebbe had prophesied.

27.03.2023 459 (0)
Miracles that saved the world or Chronicle of events in the Persian Gulf
Miracles that saved the world or Chronicle of events in the Persian Gulf

In recent years, the world has been shaken again and again by crises: the COVID-19 epidemic, the war in Ukraine, and in recent days also by the economic turmoil of the banking system in the United States and around the world.

Here in the Holy Land we are also experiencing a difficult time in terms of security, both because of the growing threats on the northern border and from Iran, and because of the Arab terror of recent months. In addition to all this, there is the street violence of leftist activists who do not want to accept the results of the elections and who are attempting (under the disguise of opposing democratic legal reform) to bring down a right-wing government.

In this difficult period, looking for the key to understanding the situation and the source from which to draw strength, we appeal, mainly, to the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe SHLITA King Moshiach.

Ребе Король Мошиах
Ребе Король Мошиах

It seems to me that it is most appropriate to recollect the time before and during the war in the Persian Gulf. Back then, just as now, the world was exposed to great disruption, in anticipation of great dangers and uncertainty about the future.

At that time, as we know, it was the Rebbe — the head of a generation — who explained to us that all the disturbances that came upon us were signs of the coming Redemption, which will come in goodness and happiness, and not through world wars, G-d forbid. As the famous anthology of commentaries, Yalkut Shimoni, published about four hundred years ago explains: “My children, do not be afraid, all that I have done I only did for you...the time of your Redemption has arrived.”

The Rebbe then asked to remind everyone as much as possible that the Almighty, may His Name be blessed, guards everyone in the people of Israel wherever they are: “the Guardian of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” and “the Land of Israel is the safest place in the world”.

Despite all the fears that the war with the regime of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein would escalate into a world war between the US-led coalition forces and the Soviet Union supporting Saddam, the terrible scenario did not materialize — just as the Rebbe had prophesied.

In his address, written on the 25th of Adar 5751 (1991), the date of Rebbetzin Chaya Moussia Schneerson’s birthday and published approximately ten days after the end of the Gulf War (the day of Purim), the Rebbe writes such words:

Coming from the days of Purim and approaching the holiday of Pesach, when we thank G-d for the miracles which He unfolded to us during our exodus from Egypt — it is now the most appropriate time to give full attention to the miracles which are happening right now... These were the miracles revealed not only to the people of Israel, but to all nations... The great miracle for the good of the people of Israel and for the good of the whole world, the miracle revealed to all nations.

The Rebbe goes on in his letter to list the miracles that occurred during the Gulf War:

It was expected ... that the war would engulf many nations and it, G‑d forbid, would escalate into a world-war, but in fact, contrary to all expectations, this war did not escalate into a world war, but was quickly over!

All signs indicated that it was necessary to gather a huge and strong army equipped with numerous and advanced weaponry, to prepare for the hard and long war, which would continue for weeks and months, but the victory came swiftly!

This swift victory resulted in avoiding the great bloodshed, moreover in the release of captives including those who had been captured in the past.

And the Rebbe continues to write:

Moreover, those who know what is happening “behind the scenes” — who know many confidential details that do not reach the general public — are achieving more and more miracles that are happening right now, in our time.

Next there is a chronicle of the war events that shows how true and accurate the Rebbe’s words were, and by what great miracles the entire world, and in particular the inhabitants of the Holy Land, upon whom, according to the Rebbe, G-d’s special Providence extends, has been saved.

By the mercy of G-d there was no regional or global war

One of the main dangers during the entire period of the Gulf War was the threat of Israel being drawn into a major regional war against several Arab states. Immediately after the invasion of Kuwait, Saddam declared that this was only the first step toward Jerusalem, and then, hoping to mobilize not only the Arab countries but also dozens of countries in the Islamic world (over a billion of them) on his side, declared jihad — holy war — on the United States and its allies, especially Israel.

The Israel Defense Forces were preparing for a major war, based on a logical intelligence assessment that Saddam, hoping to save himself from a US crippling strike, would attack Israel using the air force and Scud missiles, and, similar to previous Arab wars against Israel, would send ground forces toward Israel passing through Jordan.

This would have allowed Saddam to preserve his reputation in the eyes of Iraqis and the entire Arab-Muslim world. However, most importantly, it would involve the Arab countries in a confrontation with Israel, breaking up the international coalition created by the Americans, which, in turn, would deprive the United States and Britain of the possibility to deploy their forces on the bases of the Gulf countries.

More than once in the past, Israel has said that the entry of Iraqi troops into Jordan is a direct threat to its security, and therefore would be a “red line” and would result in a military response. Obviously, an Israeli attack against Iraqi troops in Jordan would undoubtedly involve Jordan (as well as other Arab countries) in a war against Israel.

The King of Jordan himself said, even before the Gulf War began, that Jordan would decisively prevent any Israeli action against Iraq and would not allow Israeli planes to pass through Jordanian airspace.

In other words, Israel understood that even if Saddam did not send his troops through Jordan, but fired rockets at Israel, the Israeli response, including flying the Israeli air force through Jordanian airspace, would result in a clash with the Jordanian air force and its ground units.

Amid these considerations, while preparing for a military clash, Israel and Jordan strengthened military positions along their common border. As the war in the Persian Gulf approached, the Jordanian army raised its alertness and mobilized all of its army reserves, increasing the size of the army to five divisions. Additionally, weapons were distributed to the “Popular Army” (a militia of about 100,000 men, with a core of battle-trained citizens, trained to support the army in case of a big war).

According to declassified documents, the IDF was also preparing for war with the Jordanian army by deploying armored divisions in the Jordan Valley, preparing artillery battalions in battalion training camps and mobilizing reservists. In turn, the air force was preparing to suppress firing threats in the Jordan Valley. Moreover, in case Iraqi armored units started to move through Jordan, the IDF was preparing a large-scale offensive to outrun the enemy’s forces, planning to move the Israeli armored divisions hundreds of kilometers deep into the territory of the kingdom.

According to declassified reports, approximately a week after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, the head of military intelligence warned the prime minister and the defense minister that the Jordanian and Syrian armies had also increased their level of readiness.

During a meeting at the IDF General Staff on the same day, the Chief of the General Staff ordered the IDF to prepare for the possible entry of Iraqi troops into Jordan and their movement toward Israel, as well as for the possible Iraqi-Jordanian military cooperation, and even for a full-scale war with the entire “eastern front”: Iraq, Jordan and Syria.

About 10 days later the IDF General Staff conducted a big “war game”, practicing a scenario in which two Iraqi armies (about 150-100 thousand soldiers together with thousands of APCs, tanks and guns), supported by attack helicopters and covered by ground air defense and air force systems, would enter Jordan in the direction of Israel.

According to the above scenario, the Syrian army and the Jordanian army were setting their forces on the alert ready for war with Israel.

About two weeks before the start of the war, the Jordanian army had concentrated a large force on the border with Israel, which had not happened since the Yom Kippur war. The Jordanian army announced large-scale maneuvers involving all military services, including the air force, ground troops, armored vehicles, and paratroopers.

In an unprecedented move, the U.S. evacuated all its citizens from Jordan, fearing that the country would soon become a war arena.

All the countries of the Middle East were preparing for a big war

Tensions in the countries of the region have risen drastically. Iran announced the largest military maneuvers in its history, and supreme leader Khamenei declared war with the U.S. — jihad. The King of Morocco warned that the war would be “extremely destructive, perhaps the most destructive of all”.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria said that if Israel launched a preemptive strike against Iraq, they would withdraw from the international coalition formed against Saddam. The declassified IDF documents show that in addition to preparing for an offensive against Iraq, the IDF was preparing plans for simultaneous defense on the Syrian and Egyptian fronts.

Turkey began to evacuate its citizens from the border with Iraq. Many villages in the area were evacuated and the Turkish army sent tens of thousands of soldiers there, including artillery, APCs and the air force. Publications that Scud missiles were moving toward Turkey caused panic in that country. Soldiers were given individual protective equipment against chemical weapons, and all vacations were canceled. To protect Turkey from the 200,000-strong Iraqi army, which had been brought to its borders, NATO forces were moved into the country.

The ABC news network reported that Iraq had moved its air force and missiles into Sudan, suggesting that Saddam was preparing to attack the Aswan Dam. This news caused a stir in Egypt, which was part of the coalition against Iraq. Indeed, damaging the giant dam could have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians.

Mass demonstrations took place in all Arab countries, demanding support for Saddam. Thousands of volunteers from all over the Arab-Muslim world rushed to Iraq. There were serious concerns in Israel that these demonstrations would encourage Arab leaders to go to war with Israel. Libyan dictator Gaddafi also announced that he was going to support military action against the United States, its allies and Israel. “We will set the whole world on fire,”- he declared in his aggressive speech.

The countries of the region were preparing for a brutal war, possibly with unconventional weapons. Egyptian President Mubarak even warned of a “catastrophe that could destroy many countries”. Egypt and Jordan began air defense drills, and many people in these countries desperately bought up protection against chemical weapons, installing airtight facilities.

On the eve of the Gulf War, Iraq called on all Arabs and Muslims to join the Holy War — “jihad” — against the United States and Israel. The King of Jordan, in a stirring address to his people, said: "I will not hide from you that our region is on the brink of an abyss, as the crisis in the Persian Gulf is turning into a catastrophe.

For his part, Mubarak warned of “the most dangerous war in the history of mankind (since World War II) ... and directly addressed Saddam: “I call upon you at this dramatic moment to keep your country, your people and the region from disaster ... step back and save the people.”

The UN Secretary General also made a dramatic appeal to Iraq from New York: “As the world shifts between peace and war, I ask ... to turn the flow of history away from catastrophe”.

As all these threats and hysteria escalated, many began to ask the Rebbe for his blessing to leave Israel and to cancel plans to travel to Israel. The Rebbe’s response, however, was straightforward — stay in the country and do not cancel any plans to visit Israel!

One Israeli reservist, who received a dollar from the Rebbe (it was in New York, 5 Elul), asked: “If there is a war in Israel, should I go to defend it?”. “There will be no war there!”- the Rebbe replied. When the reservist asked again: “But if it does start — should I go to defend it?” the Rebbe answered him, “There will be no war now — there will be peace in Israel!”

Note that although Israel was attacked by the Iraqi Scud missles, there really was no war in the ordinary sense, i.e., a confrontation between the two armies. In other words, the reservist living in the US should not have given up everything and rushed to fight the armies of the neighboring Arab countries in defense of Israel.

Apparently, this is what the Rebbe had in mind when he told him that there would be no war.

In short, all of the aforementioned emphasizes the Rebbe’s holy words that war indeed could have involved many nations and only by a miracle revealed to us, it did not happen.

Fears of World War

For many years Iraq was a servant of the USSR. It was the USSR that provided Saddam’s regime with tens of billions of dollars worth of arms, trained and created the Iraqi army and military industry. It is no coincidence that when the events in the Persian Gulf began, the 400 deputies of the USSR Congress of People’s Deputies from the Union bloc demanded to support their ally, i.e. Iraq, and to stand firm against the United States, even at the cost of a direct confrontation.

The intensification of this political pressure even resulted in the unexpected dismissal of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardandze. Shevardandze was one of the main advocates of the large-scale reforms implemented in the Soviet Union at that time — “perestroika” and the process of increasing openness and democratization — “glasnost” — and in fact, one of the leaders of these democratic transformations. That’s why the resignation of Shevardnadze raised great concerns in Europe and US about the political and even physical survival of President Gorbachev, and hence, about the continuation of nuclear disarmament and democratic reforms.

At the same time, with the possible decision of the USSR to use its veto power at the UN, there was a threat to preserve the international coalition against Saddam’s regime.

Throughout the crisis, the U.S. tried not to provoke a conflict with the USSR. It was the opposition of the USSR and China to U.S. moves against Saddam that forced the U.S. to make a huge effort to build a broad international coalition. It is clear from the recently declassified documents that at all stages of political and then military action, the U.S. seriously feared the possibility of the conflict escalating into a world war.

In fact, Saddam, may the memory of the infidel be damned, made it clear that he wanted, G-d forbid, to provoke a world war.

If a regional war broke out between Israel and the Arab countries, it would complicate the international situation even more. In fact, the USSR has traditionally supported the Arab countries’ anti-Israeli aggression. During the Yom Kippur war, the United States and the Soviet Union declared their readiness for nuclear war.

All these facts are clear evidence of the already mentioned words of the Rebbe about the great miracle revealed to us by G-d, which prevented many nations from being engaged in a terrible war.

A short war without great sacrifice — despite all estimates

Having captured Kuwait, the huge Iraqi army was preparing for battle. It numbered about a million and a quarter regular army personnel and, in addition, at least 650,000 militia from the so-called “People’s Army”.

This army had about 4,500 artilery units and rocket launchers, 5,500 tanks, 6,000 APCs, 1,600 planes and helicopters of all types (among them MiG-29 fighter-interceptors and Su-24 advanced bombers), armed with also “smart” ( in other words, guided) bombs and missiles.

Iraq’s anti-aircraft system was considered one of the largest in the world. It included about 200 surface-to-air missile batteries (including French-made ones) and American Hawk missile batteries captured in Kuwait, as well as 8,500 anti-aircraft guns linked to 700 radar systems. All these weapons posed a significant threat to international coalition aircraft and helicopters.

At sea, the Iraqis had missile boats and a deadly arsenal of sea mines and anti-ship missiles. Much of Iraq’s weaponry was modern and of high quality, manufactured by Western European countries (especially France, Britain, and Germany) that had sold advanced weapons worth billions of dollars to Saddam. The United States also had time to take part in arming Iraq, seeking previously to strengthen Saddam’s regime against Iran and providing him with sophisticated technology and electronic equipment. In short, it was the fourth largest army in the world (after China, the Soviets and the Americans).

Iraq’s military might has legitimately frightened many. Over the eight years of war with Iran, the Iraqi army had gained considerable combat experience. Among other things, it had gained experience in defensive warfare, which it was now waging against the international coalition, using massed artillery fire, infantry, armored forces, and special forces sabotage behind enemy lines.

The “Republican Guard” was considered an elite army whose defeat was seen as a strategic objective by U.S. leaders, who had insisted from day one on bombing its camps in order to reduce the combat readiness and size of the base of Iraqi military power even before confronting the international coalition armored forces.

In addition, Saddam’s regime possessed a range of unconventional weapons, including chemical and biological weapons, as well as advanced nuclear weapons technology.

Preparing for a long and hard war

Thus, a coalition of 50 countries was preparing for a long and hard war. A large and well-equipped army was created and deployed. As the Rebbe said, “huge and strong army equipped with numerous and advanced weaponry, to prepare for the hard and long war”.

Coalition forces assembled in the Persian Gulf: dozens of stealth bombers, Tomahawk and ALCM cruise missiles (advanced cruise missiles with nuclear warheads replaced by conventional ones) dozens of other “smart” weapons, spy planes, radar and radio reconnaissance systems, American Abrams (M1A1), British Challengers (the equivalent of Merkava), thousands of modern fighters and helicopters.

Getting ready for the long war, the coalition countries have sent about 750,000 soldiers, about 13,000 modern armored fighting vehicles, 4,800 airplanes and helicopters, a large naval fleet of about 170 battleships and six American aircraft carriers.

The groups of experts provided the President of the United States with the evaluations of the potential casualties among the American servicemen: from 20 to 45 thousand. Another group of experts, who studied the possible losses in the war, suggested that the total number of casualties would reach 300,000, of which 50,000 would be among the coalition forces and 100,000 among the civilians.

Approximately one month before the start of the war, the commander of the international coalition forces, the American General Norman Schwarzkopf, stated that he thought the war could last six months! The experienced general warned that “it will be an uphill battle, and it is not impossible that we will get stuck on the battlefield.”

Ground Battles

Despite the massive aerial bombardment of Iraqi army positions by the U.S. and British air forces, U.S. experts estimated that coalition forces would suffer huge losses in the ground battles against Saddam’s army. Just a week before the ground attack, the United States had concluded that Iraq’s defenses had not been seriously damaged.

The main concern about Saddam’s use of unconventional weapons was the ground battles. It was clear that during these battles, a cowering Saddam could use his most dangerous leverage to save himself from defeat.

Shortly before the ground campaign, Saddam, in a very harsh statement, “apologized to the people of justice” around the world for “any action” that Iraq would soon take. This statement further heightened fears about the use of non-conventional weapons.

The ground offensive by coalition forces began on the night of the 10th day of the month of Adar. According to the estimates made by the Americans, in case of a determined resistance of the Iraqi army, the fighting could last at least 5-6 weeks. So the coalition was preparing for two months of hard and bloody fighting.

Meanwhile, the British Ministry of Defense reported that their intelligence had spotted Iraqi artillery units bringing chemical munitions (poisonous gases) to the front lines.

No one knew what would happen...

Miraculous Victory

Immediately after the coalition ground assault began, there were reports of Iraqi soldiers surrendering in mass. Entire units literally scattered and surrendered at the first engagement, while others surrendered upon seeing coalition forces. There were those who managed to surrender to the Pioneer (an Israeli-made drone). One group managed to surrender to Italian TV reporters.

The success in defeating the Iraqi army was amazing, but more importantly completely unexpected. At the same time, the forces retreating from Kuwait were bombarded from the air, blocking their return to Iraq.

Contrary to all estimates, even at this critical moment Saddam refused to use unconventional weapons. Kuwait was taken from Saddam almost as swiftly as it had been captured. Meanwhile, 86,000 Iraqis surrendered. American casualties were surprisingly low — the US Army’s Seventh Army Corps, for example, reported the destruction of 2,800 enemy armored fighting vehicles, losing only about twenty-five!

All the dramatic fears that the number of wounded coalition fighters would reach tens of thousands were dispelled. In reality, only a few hundred Coalition fighters were wounded.

Just in time for Purim, at 07:00 AM Israeli time, the fighting was over — the prophecy of the Lubavitcger Rebbe SHLITA King Moshiach that the war would end on Purim was fully accomplished.

By the way, the studies, carried out after the war, showed that the Iraqi army surrendered most of the time, practically unharmed by the bombing. According to one of the investigations, only 10 to 20 percent of the Iraqi tanks were bombed and another 30 to 40 percent were damaged in the ground battles, while the remaining 50 percent were abandoned completely intact.

We now know that the coalition air bombing was ineffective both because of the severe winter weather that prevailed in the area throughout the winter months of the war (from the beginning of Shvat to mid-Adar) and because of the heavy smoke from oil wells set on fire by Saddam, massive Iraqi anti-aircraft fire, extensive use of camouflage, decoys and underground shelters.

A study published in the United States even claimed that none of Iraq’s armored divisions were seriously damaged by the bombings. Even less affected were the elite Republican Guard units, in whose defense Saddam had invested a great deal of effort. Nevertheless, in dozens of major battles (especially against the notorious “Republican Guard,” which, it seems, did not surrender at all — that must have ended in many hundreds of casualties by coalition forces — almost not a single American soldier was hurt!

All this highlights once again that the stunning victory over Saddam’s regime was a vivid embodiment of the gift of the Almighty, manifested in visible miracles to the people of Israel and to all mankind.

Unconventional Weapons

In the letter mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Rebbe mentions “those who know what is going on ’behind the scenes’ - who know many confidential details that do not reach the general public — seeking more and more miracles that are happening right now, in our time.”

In my previous articles, too, I have repeatedly cited the many miracles that have been revealed to us in recent years, especially as they relate to rescuing us from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.

Contrary to all initial assessments and fears, the Saddam regime did not use the enormous stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons at its disposal. When General Schwarzkopf was asked why Saddam refrained from using these weapons, he said: “I don’t know the answer. I just thank G-d that they did not use these weapons!”

As Lubavitcher Rebbe SHLITA King Moshiach predicted, it was a miraculous war, and only by the grace of G-d, blessed be His Name, were these deadly weapons never used.

In recent years we have witnessed great and amazing miracles: the fall of evil and oppressive regimes in a number of Arab countries, major upheavals in other countries (such as Iran, where revolutionary protest has been going on for over six months), the downfall of huge and dangerous terrorist organizations (like al-Qaeda and ISIS) and, on the contrary, the strengthening of positive forces throughout the world.

The Rebbe’s words are still true in our time: G-d, blessed be His name, protects the people of Israel, and the Land of Israel remains the safest place in the world. It is our duty and our great privilege to strengthen our faith in G-d in all matters related to learning Torah and keeping the Mitzvos, because we are promised that in the very near future, we will be granted complete Redemption in goodness and joy!

Translated by D. Bilyayev From Хроника событий в Персидском заливе Comments: 0

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