Cover image for The continuing storm : Iraq, poisonous weapons and deterrence
The continuing storm : Iraq, poisonous weapons and deterrence
Haselkorn, Avigdor.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxvi, 374 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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DS79.744.C46 H37 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This study offers a reassessment of the 1991 Gulf War, focusing on the role of biological and chemical weapons. The narrative reviews the events of the war, examines intelligence and planning during the war, discusses why President Bush terminated it, and analyzes the strategic consequences.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Mass destruction weapons, unpleasant to ponder, must nevertheless be faced up to. Haselkorn investigates their underreported influence on the Persian Gulf War and the difficulty of disgorging them from Iraq; Stern describes how such weapons work and analyzes America's vulnerability to them. Intellectually gussied up as "deterrence," guessing how to out-terrify one's enemy without actually resorting to anthrax, nerve gas, or nuclear bombs was a critical subtext in the Gulf War. Haselkorn describes this vital but arcane interaction of threat and belief in detail, with data about what has since become known about Iraq's preparation for germ warfare and Israel's straining at the U.S. bit to combat Iraqi missile attacks. The author's theory that Saddam Hussein's posture of "terroristic deterrence" indeed deterred Bush from marching on Baghdad challenges most views and should prolong the debate about the ragged conclusion to that war. In addition to the technical angles on how terrorists could acquire (and have, in the case of the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikiyo) mass destruction weapons, Stern's survey explores the psychological dread terrorists want to create. Dread is the aim common to such differently motivated groups as certain Islamic groups, white super-patriot gangs, and even fringe environmental and animal-rights activists. They want the targeted society to become uneasy. To allay such anxieties, Stern assembles a roster of preventative actions that a government should take. Most of the proposals involve more money, but her expertise should convince policymakers of their wisdom, as well as raise public awareness of the danger. --Gilbert Taylor

Library Journal Review

Why did the United States abruptly end the Gulf War? Haselkorn (Geopolitical Forum, Palo Alto, CA) contends that Saddam effectively blackmailed us by threatening to use his chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, leaving President Bush with no choice. Haselkorn supports his conclusions with an in-depth (and occasionally repetitive) analysis and extensive documentation (over 100 pages of footnotes), tables, and appendixes. He cites numerous U.S. intelligence failures and even questions the truthfulness of Bush and Scowcroft. This book is bound to have its critics, but it is hard to disagree with Haselkorn's conclusion that in the future small extremist countries‘North Korea, Libya, Iraq, and Iran‘can use the threat of chemical/biological terrorism against the superpowers. A provocative and disturbing book; recommended for academic libraries and Middle East and military/international affairs collections.‘Ruth K. Baacke, Whatcom Community Coll. Lib., Bellingham, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Haselkorn argues that Iraq's possession of chemical and biological weapons led the US to call for a cease fire on February 27, 1991, to end the Gulf war. He rejects alternative arguments that the US did not march on Baghdad so that Iraq, albeit severely weakened, would still be able to act as a "balance-of-power" against Iranian hegemony in the Gulf. Haselkorn notes that Iraq's threat to Israel and Israel's potential nuclear retaliation against such a threat caused the US to call for a cease fire. Iraq's willingness to use weapons of mass destruction (WMD) deterred the US from pursuing the war further. Haselkorn concludes that, since the mass destruction option saved Saddam's life and regime, it "probably means that it is naive to expect the Iraqi dictator to give up the weapons or the ability to reconstitute them quickly." The threat of WMD to Israel is seen as one of the main geostrategic concerns of the Allied forces during the Gulf war. The emphasis on WMD serves to erase the political context within which the war was carried out. The author's arguments, however sobering, seem, at times, shrill. Recommended for university and college libraries. R. W. Olson University of Kentucky