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Un conflitto che dura da venticinque anni Guerre del golfo 1991/2016. Era in gioco non il Kuwait ma la leadership del mondo post-bipolare

Un conflitto che dura da venticinque anni

Guerre del golfo 1991/2016. Era in gioco non il Kuwait ma la leadership del mondo post-bipolare

 

il mondo era cambiato, doveva cambiare o forse, più propriamente, stava cambiando. Nessuno poteva dire con certezza come sarebbe cambiato. Il 1989 era alle spalle. La simbologia del Muro riempiva l’immaginario. Il violoncello di Mstislav Rostropovich era risuonato a Berlino sull’antico confine. Bush pensava a come gestire in futuro le alleanze della guerra fredda. Gorbaciov tentava di salvare i resti dell’Unione Sovietica. Fu necessario un azzardo di Saddam Hussein, considerato un satrapo di provincia e quindi manipolabile, per accelerare l’ora della verità sul bipolarismo, sull’Onu, sull’Europa e sul Sud del mondo rappresentato intanto dall’Iraq e dal Medio Oriente.

Il colpo di mano che portò all’occupazione irachena del Kuweit nacque come un regolamento di conti fra governi arabi al termine della lunga guerra fra Iraq e Iran, lanciata da Saddam nel 1980 e chiusa nel 1988 con un nulla di fatto. Di per sé lo scontro fra Iraq e Iran era un capitolo ulteriore della storia iniziata nel VII secolo con l’espansione dell’islam e dell’arabicità verso est. La rivoluzione di Khomeini era uscita dagli schemi che parevano acquisiti introducendo la religione al posto delle ideologie mondane. All’interno della comunità musulmana, tornò d’attualità la faida fra sciiti e sunniti. L’Iraq, dove gli sciiti erano maggioranza ma con un apparato di potere tradizionalmente controllato dall’establishment civile e militare sunnita, si scoprì vulnerabile.

Rispetto a oggi, negli anni Ottanta del secolo scorso gli stati del Medio Oriente dimostrarono una tenuta a tutta prova. Durante la guerra i confini furono violati da incursioni aeree e puntate via terra ma alla fine furono ripristinati com’erano prima. Gli appelli dei due governi a possibili «quinte colonne» nel corpo nazionale, etnico o settario del «nemico» non furono decisivi e non spostarono i termini del conflitto. La stabilità delle frontiere era un punto fermo per la prassi della competizione Est-Ovest. Per molti aspetti, però, la guerra Iraq-Iran non rispettò le logiche e gli schieramenti della guerra fredda. Stati Uniti e Urss interferirono in vari modi nel conflitto, anche con forniture di armi (soprattutto all’Iraq), ma senza un’identificazione netta a favore dell’uno o l’altro dei due contendenti e cambiando posizione a seconda dell’andamento della guerra. Lo stallo era preferibile a un esito che vedesse un vincitore e un vinto.

Saddam si faceva forte del merito di aver combattuto una guerra panaraba anche per proteggere le monarchie del Golfo, minacciate dal vento rivoluzionario che spirava da Teheran con in più la minaccia sciita. Il Kuweit, già accusato da Baghdad di tramare contro, ardì sollecitare il rimborso dei milioni di dollari delle petrolcrazie che avevano permesso all’Iraq di resistere, con enormi perdite, per quasi dieci anni. Baghdad aveva rivendicato in passato un diritto sull’intero territorio dell’emirato. Il contenzioso Iraq-Kuweit era ben noto agli Stati Uniti. C’era stato in merito un colloquio fra Saddam e l’ambasciatrice americana che, secondo una versione mai veramente smentita, si era lasciata sfuggire una frase che il presidente iracheno aveva creduto di scambiare per una luce verde. A confermare il superamento delle leggi della guerra fredda, non valeva più il tabù dell’inviolabilità delle frontiere?

Il territorio del piccolo emirato fu invaso dall’esercito iracheno il 2 agosto 1990 e di lì a poco annesso formalmente all’Iraq. Nei primi giorni si consumò la rottura fra Iraq da una parte e Arabia Saudita e maggioranza della Lega araba dall’altra. L’Egitto approfittò dell’emergenza per riabilitarsi riportando il Cairo al centro. Dopo un’iniziale cautela, il re saudita si convinse o fu convinto di essere in pericolo e chiese la copertura degli Stati Uniti. Fu allora che per la prima volta truppe americane furono ammesse sulla terra che ospita i «luoghi santi» dell’islam facendo gridare al «sacrilegio».

I mesi che separano l’agosto 1990 dal gennaio 1991 sancirono il passaggio dalla confrontazione Est-Ovest a un diverso scenario imperniato sul rapporto conflittuale Nord-Sud. L’Unione sovietica subì l’iniziativa di Bush senza rendersi conto subito di essere un bersaglio indiretto del neo-egemonismo americano. Gorbaciov si illuse di poter riportare Saddam alla ragione. L’America non avrebbe certo permesso a Mosca di chiudere l’era bipolare con un successo di quelle proporzioni. Seguirono tentativi di mediazione e ultimatum, ma ogni compromesso con Saddam si rivelò impossibile.

In pochi si resero conto che la posta non era la sovranità del Kuweit bensì la leadership del mondo post-bipolare. Oltre alla Russia, anche l’Europa uscì fatalmente ridimensionata. Se qualcuno (Mitterrand?) aveva immaginato di superare la guerra fredda in avanti, con una maggiore libertà d’azione sulla scena internazionale, coltivando relazioni privilegiate con i paesi del Terzo mondo più vicini o più utili (il petrolio), restò deluso. Bush senior vinse la guerra ma non spinse le truppe americane fino a Baghdad.

Quella «mezza vittoria», del resto coerente con il mandato dell’Onu, darà lo spunto nel 2003 a Bush junior — fra imperizia, oltranzismo e ossessioni edipiche — per la seconda o terza guerra del Golfo.

È così che i raid dei bombardieri americani su Baghdad in quella notte fra il 16 e il 17 gennaio 1991 possono essere considerati il primo atto di una guerra che è continuata ininterrottamente fino a oggi sconvolgendo l’equilibrio e lo stesso status quo territoriale in tutta la regione arabo-islamica, Nord Africa incluso e fino al lontano Afghanistan.

 

 

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