During the Gulf War, the main purpose of countries that interfered was to prevent Iraq from being too powerful in the Middle Eastern region. However, some of President Bush’s decisions were guided by other interests. Additionally, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait not only because he was a dictator – the leader was partly forced to do that by the second and third level factors.
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On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops entered Kuwait, “a small, oil-rich emirate on the Persian Gulf”, and started the Gulf War, which later involved a lot of countries (“The Persian Gulf War” par. 1). As Saddam Hussein, the President of Iraq, officially stated, he did that because Kuwait was a historical part of Iraq, and he wanted to reunite the territories. Still, it was a simple annexation.
The first reason for Iraq to invade Kuwait was oil. Since the greatest part of the national revenue of Iraq depended on it, it was crucial for this country to maintain high prices (“How the Gulf Crisis Began and Ended” par. 1). This necessity was even more urgent considering the need of the country to recover from the Iran-Iraq war and pay its debts. However, the prices for oil dropped by 33%, and Iraq started to blame Kuwait for such an outcome since, as Saddam Hussein claimed, this country exceeded the established quota for oil production, which caused the drop in prices (“How the Gulf Crisis Began and Ended” par. 1).
Finally, Saddam stated that Kuwait illegally located oil facilities on the land of Iraq taking advantage of the fact that the country was involved in the Iran-Iraq war at that time. Referring to that, Iraq demanded Kuwait to cancel its debt (“How the Gulf Crisis Began and Ended” par. 1). Kuwait refused, and Saddam launched an aggressive policy against it, which finally resulted in the invasion. Therefore, not only the fact that Hussein’s regime was “a brutal military dictatorship” played its role but also the second and third level factors, such as the outcomes of the Iran-Iraq war and the prices for oil, affected the President’s decision (“The Persian Gulf War” par. 2).
After August 2, 1990, many countries intervened in the war, and America was the first to do that. Firstly, it was much of the balance of powers since “with Kuwait under its belt” Iraq could control nearly 19% of all oil reserves in the world (Yetiv, Explaining Foreign Policy 33). Moreover, the invasion of Kuwait was a threat to Saudi Arabia, and if Iraq had invaded this country, its share of oil would have raised to 45% (Yetiv, Explaining Foreign Policy 33).
In that case, Iraq could blackmail other Arab countries or manipulate the prices for oil. However, the US actions in 2003, when an attack on already weakened Iraq was launched, and the events of the Iraq War began to unfold, can hardly be considered as another attempt to balance the powers (“Persian Gulf War” par. 7). As a prime example, that and the subsequent US attacks on Iraq “seriously flouted balancing policy”, eliminating the distribution of power between Iraq and Iran (Yetiv, Time for some American realpolitik par. 6).
As the result, Iran became too powerful in the Middle Eastern region. Therefore, it can be concluded that after 2000, the US was mostly guided by its domestic policies and own interests. But what exactly were those policies and interests? Firstly, the US was concerned about the problem of security and terrorism, particularly the attack on September 11, 2001. Secondly, oil also became an issue. In the twentieth century, the flow of Middle Eastern oil was one of America’s greatest political-economic concerns (Jones 208). That is why the US protection of Kuwait was partly provided in the States’ own interests. Considering this fact, we can say that President’s Bush decision-making has something in common with Saddam’s – both of them wanted to strengthen their countries using the others. However, Bush’s policy was still less aggressive.
How the Gulf Crisis Began and Ended n.d. Web.
Jones, Toby Craig. “America, Oil, and War in the Middle East.” The Journal of American History 99.1 (2012): 208-218. Print.
Persian Gulf War 2015. Web.
The Persian Gulf War 2014. Web.
Yetiv, Steve. Explaining Foreign Policy: U.S. Decision-Making in the Gulf Wars. 2nd ed. 2011. Baltimore, Maryland: JHU Press. Print.
Yetiv, Steve. Time for some American realpolitik in the Persian Gulf 2015. Web.