The attack of Kuwait by Iraq can also be referred to as “the Iraq –Kuwait War”. This was a serious war that involved Iraq and its neighbor Kuwait, which eventually culminated to a long stalemate of approximately seven to eight months. During the period of conflict, Kuwait was controlled by Iraq.
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This conflict drew international concern and the USA government got involved by sending its military to go fight against Iraq. Iraq alleged in 1990 that Kuwait was secretly tapping its oil deposits through a process known as slant drilling. Apart from this, some sources from Iraq revealed that Saddam Hussein had planned to invade Kuwait far much earlier before the real attack. Many people felt that there were so many underlying factors that could have led to Iraq’s attack on Kuwait.
Causes of the Conflict between Kuwait and Iraq
Accumulated War Debts
Before the “Iraq-Iran war”, Kuwait had a mutual relationship with Iraq and Kuwait even served as the main port of Iraq because Basra had been interfered with during the war. However, the cordial relationship between them turned sour soon after the war. This is because Iraq could not manage to settle the debt it had acquired from Kuwait during the war.
This was because its economy was extremely strained by the war expenses. These financial disagreements caused a greet tension between the two countries. Towards the end of 1989, they tried to solve the issue amicably through a series of meetings that were chaired by leaders from the two countries. However, they could not reach a consensus and this further worsened their relationship.
Economic problems in Iraq also contributed to the war. After the conflict between Iran and Iraq, Saddam came up with some dubious means to reconstruct the economy of his country, which by now had seriously been ruined. In this case he wanted to raise money for his debts by simply creating unnecessary shortage of oil.
This could consequently lead to high international cost of oil. Kuwait sabotaged his move by simply boosting its oil production capacity and this led to a significant fall in the oil prices internationally. These further destabilized the economy of Iraq which was already in bad shape. The government of Iraq so this as an “economic conflict” and there was also the question of the hotly contested oil field called Rumaila.
During Iraq-Iran war, it was noticed that there was a significant drop in oil produced in Iraq’s fields while that of Kuwait drastically increased. Iraq complained that Kuwait was tapping its oil without its consent and they ordered Kuwait to compensate them, but Iraq did not accept those allegations.
Hegemonic claims by Iraq on Kuwait
Iraq also envied the vast oil fields that were managed by Kuwait. They claimed that Kuwait was originally part of Iraq before the advent of European imperialism in the region of Middle East which had led to its division. They therefore claimed superiority over Kuwait. There was also a growing suspicion by Iraq that Kuwait was forging close ties with the West (USA) with a sinister motive of weakening its economy.
The course of the war
At this level there was a high tension and on the second of August the year 1990, the first raid was made on Kuwait’s capital city by Iraq. This marked the real onset of the popularly called the “Gulf War’’ of 1990. Within the first few days of the war, the Iraqi troops managed to annex a large portion of the Kuwait capital. They used very sophisticated machines like fighter jets and tankers and within a short period of time they managed to bring Kuwait under their control.
After winning the war, Saddam Hussein stripped off the reigning Emir from power and substituted him immediately with another. The royal family fled into the desert for security and they stayed a way for several months. While in exile, the royal family pleaded with the international community to dislodge Iraq from its occupation of Kuwait.
The international community seriously condemned what Saddam had done and they ordered him to quit Kuwait. At this time the USA government was increasingly becoming weary of the possible Iraq conquest on Saudi Arabia. The UN gave Iraq a notice to withdraw its troops but it failed to do so. It is in this context that the international community mobilized military and financial resources to attack Iraq.
The US government managed to remove the Iraq troops from Kuwait after fighting them tirelessly. The US government had several motives for its engagement in the war. It made the following arguments. According to US, Iraq had undermined the territorial sovereignty of Kuwait which was really unlawful. Secondly, US wanted to defend Saudi Arabia which was of great strategic importance in the region.
This is because US depended on its oil exports which they did not want to lose. Iraq had also for a very longtime been violating the rights of citizens in the neighboring countries. The troops from Iraq were also engaged in several malicious activities during their occupation of Kuwait. For example they raided private properties of individuals and stole their valuables. They conducted careless torture and execution of the civilians in Kuwait.
Effects of the war
The outcome of the war had far reaching effects on the people of Kuwait. For example very many Kuwait citizens ran away due to the effects of the war.
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In the process of moving to other places, they left behind their investments and properties which were ravaged by the war and some were looted. Several citizens were seriously wounded during the air attacks. By the end of the war several people had died and they were well over two thousand in number. Families that lost property and loved ones during the war endured much pain, and they suffered seriously from poverty.
Some of them up to day have never had the chance to restore their previous status. The government was also seriously disorganized and it took a lot of time before they could reorganize themselves. For instance the capital city was so much interfered with and several installations were damaged. This left the government with a huge financial burden to repair its ruined economy and infrastructure. The war also affected the foreign policy of Iraq. The economy of Iraq was also further strained by this war.
The analysis of the Gulf War is today very much important in our history and it has always been used as appoint of reference when discussing the crisis in the Middle East. The current state of anarchy witnessed in Iraq and other neighboring Arab countries like Afghanistan are all examples of the long term stalemates which have never been solved.
The situation in Iraq at present is very bad and they have registered one of highest poverty indexes in the world. The government is also very unstable and it is always on the verge of bankruptcy. Suicide bombings have become part of life of the citizens. This is enough to explain the level of disillusionment in Iraq.
Several Arab countries are also becoming less stable. At present Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan and Yemen are all undergoing serious revolutions. These are enough indicators that democracy is still along term dream for most of the Arab countries. Despite the rich oil resources in many Arab countries they are likely to remain underdeveloped due to war. It is high time they changed their attitude toward war.