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The most compelling reason for the United States’ keen interest in Grenada was geopolitical.
There was growing unease in American policy circles about the wisdom of allowing the Cubans and Soviets to create a satellite so close to vital shipping lanes.
Britain finally granted the island independence in 1974, ending more than 300 years of colonial rule.
However, despite having sent military materiel, Moscow attached little strategic importance to Grenada and deemed such direct intervention in America’s backyard too great a risk. That evening President Ronald Reagan gave his final approval for Operation Urgent Fury— the American invasion not of Lebanon but of Grenada. So soon after the attack on the Marine barracks most of the division’s senior leaders assumed they would be heading to the Middle East, as part of what they were sure would be an overwhelming reaction to the Beirut tragedy. Marine barracks at Lebanon’s Beirut International Airport, killing 241 American servicemen. Army Rangers had received a warning order days before and were already preparing to assault the Caribbean island. C., the 82nd Airborne Division, which would supply most of the invasion force, was caught by surprise.That rule ended in March 1979, when Maurice Bishop, head of the Marxist New JEWEL (Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation) Movement, or NJM, staged an armed coup while Gairy was in New York trying to persuade the United Nations to conduct research on extraterrestrial life and UFOs.Many Grenadians welcomed the coup, although the new regime—the People’s Revolutionary Government (PRG)— soon proved as corrupt and vicious as Gairy’s.