The Persian Gulf War War was inevitable in the Gulf and it was a war in which Iraq was inevitability to lose. There were several reasons why this was and became a reality. How, when, where did this process of self destruction begin? It was quite evident that Saddam Hussein. the president of Iraq, was becoming a military giant in the Middle East and therefore a threat to the stability of the entire region. His war with Iran was proof of this.
The U.S. and other industrialized Western nations could not risk the loss of oil from the area. Kuwait is the second largest source of petroleum in the Middle East and so Iraqi invasion of Kuwait sent the world oil market into a frenzy. Iraqi forces then gathered their forces on the border with Saudi Arabia, the second largest supplier of oil in the world. This in turn brought the military might of the United States into the conflict.
There are several reasons why Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. “After the 8 year war with Iran over territorial disputes and religious rivalries between the Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunni factions, Iraq had a massive debt to many Arab nations including Kuwait.”2 The rulers of these nations wanted some of their money back but Iraq thought they were ingrates and were ungrateful for defending the Arab emirs from the Iranian Islamic fundamentalism. The Arab emirs were afraid that the Islamic fundamentalists would rise against the government and eventually take over the government as they had Iran against the Shah. Kuwait was also afraid of this and so they supported the Iraqi Arabs against the Iranian Persians. 2″Iraq”,World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 10, p.
260 The funds that Gulf countries lent to Iraq were used to buy high tech weapons, high tech weapons that made Iraq one of the largest armies in the world and a force to contend with. “Ironically much of the money and weapons came from the countries that united to fight against him.”1 The Gulf countries bankrolled him while the Western nations, who had many defense contractors going out of business because of the end of the Cold War, supplied him with the weapons to fight Iran and later Kuwait and the Coalition. With a large army like his, it would be very easy to defeat the far smaller Kuwaiti army compared to his. 1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991) Oil had made Kuwait one of the richest and most progressive countries in the world. This desert land is one of the world’s leading producers having over one-tenth of the world’s known petroleum reserves.
“All of this in 20150 square kilometres, a little smaller than the state of New Jersey.”3 Kuwait is one of the world’s wealthiest nations in terms of national income per person. It has free primary and secondary education, free health and social services and no income tax. There was much to protect. All of this was attractive and irritating to Saddam who would and did use a fraction of his army to attack and invade Kuwait in which it only took the Iraqi army 6 hours to reach the capital city. They had after their invasion about 19% of the world’s known oil reserves.
3″Kuwait”,World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 11, p.354 Historically Iraq had claimed that it had a right to Kuwait. “They were jealous that Kuwait was in control of the two islands needed for a deep water shipping port:the Bubiyan and Warbah islands.”4 These islands along with some parts of Kuwait were a part of Mesopotamia which the Ottoman Turks conquered. “The Ottoman Empire was defeated during World War I and the British made their “own lines in the sand”, dividing up the land according to their own strategic needs and in the process recklessly dividing up ancient communities and boundaries that had been recognized for decades.”1 Most of Mesopotamia became Iraq and some other parts to Kuwait. In 1961, Kuwait became independent and the Iraqis threatened to invade except that British troops kept the peace. This was to be the first of many border skirmishes which include Iraqi missiles fired at Kuwaiti oil installations and the reflagging of Kuwaiti oil tankers during the Iran-Iraq War in which U.S. ships patrolled the Persian Gulf and Kuwaiti tankers were reflagged with U.S.
flags. 1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991) 4AP Press Toronto Star (January 20, 1991) A18 The Iraqi government had also accused the Kuwaitis of stealing 2.5 billion barrels of oil from its Rumaila oil fields by sliding drills into Iraqi oil pipelines. They had also accused Kuwait of exceeding OPEC oil production which had dropped the price of oil from $20 a barrel to $13 a barrel in the first six months of 1990. This meant 1 billion dollars less for Iraq everytime that price of an oil barrel went down by a dollar. Saddam said he would stop them from continuing aggressive action:”The oil quota violators have stabbed Iraq with poison dagger.
Iraqis will not forget the saying that cutting necks is better than cutting means of living. O’God almighty, be witness that we have warned them”.1 His foreign minister Tariq Aziz later said in a letter to the Arab league that Kuwait is “systematically, deliberately and continuously” harming Iraq by encroaching on its territory, stealing oil, and destroying its economy.1 “Such behaviour amounts to military aggression”.1 These were just signs of the Desert Storm to come. 1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991) Personally, Saddam Hussein had reasons to want to go to war against the Western nations. He grew up as young boy hating the British for imprisoning the uncle that had cared for him. Later, he joined the Baath Party which was based on a platform of Arab unity and as a member was sent to try to assassinate General Abdul Karim Qasim who they believed to be very friendly with the Western nations.
By going to war, he hoped to foster Arab unity against the Western nations, like an Islamic holy war against the “infidels”. He also believed that it was his destiny to fulfil the prophecy of ruling an Arab nation streching from Euphrates to the Suez. The Western and Gulf nations united together to form a coalition to fight against Iraq that followed the United Nations resolution that Iraq must pull out of Iraq on January 15, 1991. They had several …