Reasons behind the First Gulf War

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“What was the main cause of the gulf war?”

“What was the main cause of the Gulf War?” Section A

The aim of this investigation is to identify what led the gulf conflict become a global war.. I will investigate how a feud dating back to the 1st world war between Iraq and Kuwait evolved into a 40 billion dollar globally supported war. In this investigation, by careful analysis of chosen texts I will collect evidence in section B on: A. Minor causes of the Gulf War B. American oil interests in the Middle East C. Intrinsic conflicts between Kuwait and Iraq To examine points 1. and 2. I will use Alastair Finlanʼs The Gulf War 1991. In order to examine point 3. I will mainly make reference to War in the Gulf, 1990-1991: The IraqiKuwait Conflict and It's Implications: Views from the Other Side by M. Khadduri and E. Ghareeb. Other sources are used to understand different Historians opinions on the causes of the Gulf War.

Christopher Schrader


“What was the main cause of the gulf war?”

Table of Contents
Section B
A. Causes of the war
B. American oil interest in the Middle East
C. Intrinsic conflicts between Iraq and Kuwait

3 3 4

Section C
Figure A
Figure B

7 8

Section D
Part 1
Part 2

9 10

Section E


Christopher Schrader


“What was the main cause of the gulf war?”

Section B
A. Minor causes of the gulf war
1. OPEC flooding market with oil 1.1.OPEC guidelines called for a Quota of 22 million barrels a day, in 1989 there were 24 million barrels being exported a day 1. 1.2. The price per barrel was at an all time low of $18 2. 1.3. Iraq owed Kuwait 14 billion for the Iran-Iraq war3 . 1.4. Saddam Hussein idealised that by raising oil prices Iraq could pay back the loan to Kuwait, however, Kuwait was making this impossible by flooding markets with oil reducing the price per barrel. 2. Kuwaiti and Saudi Ignorance 2.1. America had good ties with Iraq, but could not lend it money becoause of its ongoing nuclear programme and conflict with Israel. 3. Economic situation in Iraq 3.1. Post Iraq-Iran war, Iraq was globally in debt by 100 billion 3.2. In 1988, Iraq was earning 10 billion dollars a year 4. April Glaspieʼs quote 4.1. American ambassador to Iraq, April Glasbie, was quoted saying to Saddam Hussein that “[the American government] has no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like [the] border disagreement with Kuwait.” 4

B. American oil interest in the Middle East
5. American Oil Interest in the Middle East 5.1.5 (figures in US 2005 billion dollars) Arab states US govt. US private sector War Expenditure Profit of Increasing oil prices 30 21 9 11 9 Net profit/loss

30 10 n/a

1 2 3

A Finlan, op. cit. p.16 ibid. Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, 1990, by Tom Cooper, with Brig.Gen. Ahmad Sadik (IrAF) Sep 16, 2003

The New York Times, 23 September 1990. Accessed on February 29th 5 Accessed on February 29th Christopher Schrader 3

“What was the main cause of the gulf war?”

5.2. The total cost of the war was $40 billion, of which 75% came from Arab nations and 25% came from the US 5.3. Oil prices before the war were on average $15 per barrel whilst by the end of the war they were $426 5.4. If Iraq invaded Kuwait and could potentially attack Saudi Arabia, a potential for the possession of 40% of the worldʼs oil existed 7 5.5. The government of Kuwait funded as many as 20 PR, law and lobby firms in its campaign to mobilize US opinion and force against Hussein8

C. Intrinsic conflicts between Iraq and Kuwait
6. Iraqi Kuwaiti history 6.1. In 1923, Percy Cox, the British high commisionar in Baghdad acceptd a proposal submitted by Major More, a British agent in Kuwait, for settling the border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait. It included the disputed islands of Warba and Bubiyan and left Iraq with 35 miles of Coastline.9 6.2. Kuwait refused...
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