U.S. Invasion of Panama

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The United States invasion of Panama happened on December 20th, 1989. The invasion, codenamed Operation Just Cause, was one of the shortest armed conflicts in U.S. history. It was also America’s first post-Cold War conflict. During the invasion, U.S. forces defeated Panamanian Defence Forces (PDF hereafter) and removed Dictator Manuel Noriega. The invasion of Panama, while a resounding military success and exhibition of supreme power, is earmarked as a very controversial incident in U.S. history. In 1903 America agreed the acquisition for a ten mile strip of land for the purpose of building a canal in Panama. In 1979 however, President Jimmy Carter signed a treaty with Panamanian leader Omar Torrijos. The terms of the treaty assured the Panamanians that the canal would be returned by 2000, on condition that the canal remained open to the American shipping trade. In 1983 leader Omar Torrijos died in a fatal plane crash. Manuel Noriega took control of the PDF in the wake of Omar Torrijos’ death. Noriega had a long standing relationship with America. He had worked as an intelligence asset for the C.I.A. since the 1960s. Noriega maintained close links with the American intelligence agency after he assumed power; he also cultivated contacts within the Medelin drug cartel in Columbia. Relations between America and Noriega began to show signs of increasing strain after his rise to power; in 1985 National Security Advisor to the President, John Pointdexter warned Noriega over his involvement in drug trafficking. In June of 1987, Noriega was accused of conspiring in the death of Torrijos and also instigating the murder of political rival, Hugo Spadorfa (GIlboa, p543). During the anti-Noriega demonstrations that ensued, Noriega's riot police violently crushed the unarmed demonstrators. In response to Noriega’s actions, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution requesting the

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