With his death on Monday, the former US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, left a long history of American politics, which had a major role in the Middle East region in particular.
With Powell’s departure, we recall the 10 most important stations in the life of the former US Secretary of State, and his role in shaping the most important US decisions in the recent period.
Powell was born in New York city in 1937 and raised in Harlem, where his parents Luther and Maud Powell immigrated to from Jamaica.
The seasoned politician was educated in public schools, and graduated from City College of New York, where he received a bachelor’s degree in geology.
He then participated in the training forces reserve at the college, and was appointed to the rank of second lieutenant after graduating in June 1958.
Powell entered Us army after graduating in 1958, and then served on two tours in South Vietnam during the 1960s.
In the Vietnam War, Powell was wounded twice, including during a helicopter crash where he rescued two American soldiers.
Powell remained in Us army after returning home, attending the National War College and advancing in command.
Promoted to brigadier general in 1979, he was appointed as President Ronald Reagan’s last national security advisor in 1987, and Bush Sr. appointed him in 1989 to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
National Security Adviser to President Ronald Reagan
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Powell’s tenure in the senior Bush administration was marked by his participation in some of the most prominent US military actions in the late twentieth century, including the Panama operation in 1989, the 1991 Gulf War, and the US humanitarian intervention in Somalia.
During his leadership in the US Army
Although Powell was initially reluctant to send American troops when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, he became one of the administration’s most trusted spokesmen when the attack on Saddam Hussein’s army finally came.
After the attack on the Iraqi army, Powell became an American national hero, enjoying a favorable rating of 71 percent in the first few years after the war.
His efforts during the war also earned him two prominent awards, the Congressional Gold Medal in March 1991, in recognition of his exemplary performance in planning and coordinating the American response to the invasion of Iraq, in addition to the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Powell in command of the US Army in 1990
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Powell was the first son of the Cabinet to be chosen by Powell, when the nomination for Secretary of State was announced, and with his experience in foreign policy and broad popularity, it was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Powell became the first black US Secretary of State, serving in the post from 2001 to 2005.
Powell next to former US President George Bush Jr
war on terror
He was reluctant to project American military might around the world, a view that quickly changed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
As the most senior diplomat under Bush Jr., he was tasked with mobilizing international support for the war on terror, including the war in Afghanistan .
However, his period was most well known during his leadership in pushing the US administration to intervene in Iraq, despite the fears of the US allies about this step.
During his famous speech to the United Nations
In February 2003, Powell addressed the United Nations, presenting evidence that US intelligence said proved that Iraq had misled international inspectors and hid weapons of mass destruction.
And Powell warned that “Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the ability to produce more of them very quickly.”
Inspectors later discovered that there were no such weapons in Iraq, and two years after Powell’s speech at the United Nations, a government report said the intelligence services were “completely wrong” in their assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities prior to the US invasion .
Recognition of ‘stigma’
Powell, who left the State Department in early 2005 after tendering his resignation to Bush, described his speech at the United Nations as a “disgrace” that will forever remain on his record.
“I’m sorry now that the information was wrong – of course I’m sorry,” he said in an interview with CNN’s Larry King in 2010.
“But I will always be seen as the one who brought the case before the international community,” Powell added.
Powell admitted that his speech influenced public opinion on the issue of the invasion of Iraq: “It influenced public opinion…there is no doubt about that.”
Powell supported Obama a lot
A few weeks before the 2008 US elections, Powell announced in a press interview with “NBC” , his support for the Democratic candidate Barack Obama , which surprised the Republicans and the American people.
Powell emphasized that Obama has the power to inspire, and all Americans, not just African Americans, will be proud of Obama’s victory .
Powell is the first prominent and senior Republican member to support the Democratic candidate Obama, who later won the election.
After retiring from military service, Powell wrote his bestselling autobiography, My American Journey.
In his 2012 book, Powell once again admitted the error in the famous speech, writing that this would be his last novel on the topic.
“I am angry at myself for not smelling the problem. My instincts failed me,” he wrote, referring to the report he used containing false evidence of Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.
“It was not my first mistake, but it was one of my most grievous failures, which had such a wide impact,” he added in his famous book