Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait

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By 1990, Iraq had spent eight years at war with Iran and was £50 billion in debt.

Explaining why Iraq invaded Kuwait, Tariq Aziz, the Iraqi foreign minister said: "The leadership was focusing domestically on rebuilding the country, those cities and towns that had been destroyed during the war… improving the standard of living for people in Iraq."

Iraq may have invaded Kuwait because of the oil policy pursued by Kuwait. Kuwait was deliberately producing oil far beyond its OPEC quota. This brought down the price of oil per barrel into the low $ teens. Iraq needed the price of oil to stay high per barrel because it was vital to its recovery after the war it had just had with Iran. Iraq tried to reverse this policy with the help of Saudi Arabia and Egypt but to no avail. Each one-dollar drop in the price of oil cost the Iraqi nation one billion dollars. So Iraq could claim that Kuwait was waging an economic war upon Iraq. Iraq saw their invasion of Kuwait as a defensive move, one to stop Iraq losing all its money from the falling oil prices.

Iraq also considered Kuwait as a part of Iraq. After failing to invade Iran, Saddam Hussein may have thought it would be easier to conquer weaker nations.

[IMAGE]

Iraqi troops preparing for their invasion of Kuwait

2. Why Did The Coalition Attack Iraq?

Iraq had invaded Kuwait and Kuwait had called for help from the UN. The Bush Administration constructed a rationale that stated that they were going to war based on the following reasons:

1) Iraq had violated international laws by invading a sovereign country.

2) Iraq had amassed troops and tanks and was set to invade Saudi Arabia.

3) As Congress was deliberating on a vote to grant the President authorisation to use force (12 January, 1991), a story surfaced that Iraqi soldiers had removed babies from incubators that they were stealing and had left these babies to die on the floor of the hospital. This story made the headlines around the world and was a big factor in the positive result of the congressional vote.

4) Saddam Hussein was a dangerous, bloodthirsty dictator. He had stockpiled weapons of mass destruction, both chemical and nuclear (or was close to developing a nuclear device). He was a vicious, Hitler-like killer who had gassed his own people, and was ready to commit untold atrocities (the precursor of the Human Rights' discourse against any designated villain).

Although the Bush Administration stated in the rationale that the Iraqis had troops and tanks along the Saudi border and were preparing to invade, these claims were false, as the former Soviet Union provided satellite pictures showing that there was no concentration of Iraqi troops and equipment.

[IMAGE]These four reasons were the main reasons for the Coalition going to war with Iraq.

General Norman Schwarzkopf who was leading general in Operation Desert Shield

3. Who Went to War Against Iraq and What Did They Send?

Nation

Military Sent

Afghanistan

300 troops

Australia

4 frigates

Bahrain

400 personnel, 36 aircraft

Bangladesh

6,000 troops

Belgium

1 frigate, 2 minesweepers, 2 landing ships, 6 C-130 planes

Britain

43,000 troops, 6 destroyers, 4 frigates, 3 minesweepers, 168 tanks, 300 armoured vehicles, 70 jets

Canada

2 destroyers, 12 C-130 planes, 24 CF-18 bombers, 4500 troops, Field Hospital (1 Canadian Field Hospital)

Czechoslovakia

200 chemical warfare specialists

Egypt

40,000 troops

France

18,000 troops, 60 combat aircraft, 120 helicopters, 40 tanks, 1 missile cruiser, 3 destroyers, 4 frigates

Germany

18 Alpha-Jets and 212 soldiers stationed in Erhac/Turkey during the gulf war. To Iraq they sent 5 minesweepers, 2 supply vessels, 500 sailors.

Honduras

150 troops

Italy

3 frigates, 4 minesweepers, 10 tornado aircraft

Kuwait

11,000 troops, 2 missile boats, 1 barge...
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