Ch8-PersianGulfWar2010

Ch8-PersianGulfWar2010 - 8 The Persian Gulf War and...

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8 The Persian Gulf War and Sanctions, 1990-2002 On 2 August 1990, only two years after the end of the Iran- Iraq War, Iraq invaded Kuwait with the intention of annexing this oil-rich country. Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to take over Kuwait for a number of reasons. First, Hussein was angered that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia would not forgive the $60 billion debt incurred during the Iran-Iraq War. In Hussein’s view, he had saved the entirety of the Sunni world from Shii radicalism, so all Arab countries must help pay. Second, Kuwait, despite quotas set by OPEC, was overproducing oil. The resulting drop in global prices meant that Iraq was losing approximately $6 billion in annual revenue, which made it even harder to pay back its war debt. Hussein spoke to the US Ambassador April Glaspie on 25 July 1990, and this was the last high-level contact between the two governments before the invasion. The US Ambassador told Hussein that: “we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border agreement with Kuwait” (Sifry and Cerf, 68). Iraqi troops invaded the country eight days later, and Hussein announced that Kuwait would henceforth be the nineteenth province of Iraq. Iraq, however, had grossly miscalculated American concerns in regard to the Gulf region, for the US immediately took action
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to liberate Kuwait from Iraq. In the opinion of US policymakers, Iraq, already a principal oil-producer in the world, would simply be too powerful to contain if it controlled oil-rich Kuwait and its coastline. This was especially true since it would give Iraq access to a sea port. (Basra, Iraq’s sole port, had been destroyed during the Iran-Iraq War, leaving the country all but landlocked.) Within four days of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the Security Council adopted Resolution 661, which imposed sanctions on Iraq in order to induce Iraq to withdraw its troops. Sanctions, however, would not be enough. Military operations in the Gulf region can be divided into two distinct phases. At first, and with the assistance of other members of the UN, the US began to act defensively to protect its ally Saudi Arabia, an operation called Desert Shield. By 9 August, the UN Security Council went so far as to declare Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait “null and void” (UN SC Res 662), and the exiled Kuwaiti government requested military assistance in implementing these resolutions. Exhibiting a brilliant use of multilateral diplomacy, US President George H.W. Bush forged a Coalition of thirty-four countries, all of which agreed to military action against Iraq. By 29 November 1990, the UN’s Security Council authorized member states to facilitate Iraq’s withdrawal by “all necessary means” (UN SC Res 678). This 211
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resolution gave Iraq until 15 January 1991 to withdraw troops and restore Kuwaiti sovereignty.
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