30th May 2017
The Gulf War: The Conflict That Still Kills
The First Gulf War was the first modern American involvement in the Middle East. Saddam Hussein's regime had gone into deep financial debt from Iraq-Iran which justified his initial saber rattling of the neighboring Kuwait. This war started as a result of Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait. For a long period, the Iraqi had also claimed Kuwait as Iraq’s territory In early July 1990, Iraq complained about Kuwait's behavior, such as not respecting their quota, by exceeding its OPEC quotas for oil production. and openly threatened to take military action. (Nurses After War). The Iraqi government described it as a form of economic warfare. They also claimed Kuwait was slant-drilling across the border into Iraq's Rumaila oil field. In 1988, at the Iran–Iraq war's end, the Iraqi Army was the world's fourth largest army which consisted of 955,000 standing soldiers and 650,000 paramilitary forces in the Popular Army. On August 2, 1990, at 2:00 am local time, Iraq launched an invasion of Kuwait with four elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions. The UN coalition led by the George Bush, allied to protect Saddam from having access to 50% of the world’s oil across the border in Saudi Arabia and the overall area. Despite pushing Saddam Hussein back, the coalition did not totally stop his forces, which allowed Saddam Hussein to grow in power again. If the collation has gone further than just the goal of liberating Kuwait and pushing Iraq back into its territory, it would have weakened him to a point where a domestic conflict would have removed Saddam and Baath party from power. This could have lead to the further conflict being avoided i.e the Operation Iraqi Freedom and would have allowed the possibility of stability to come to the region. What actually happened was a lack of full completion and execution in this first modern Middle East war, leading to the longest sustained conflict in the region and it has lead to the United States continually entering Iraq to stabilize the region.
To trace back the origins of this war, we have to look at another conflict. “Though the long-running war between Iran and Iraq had ended in a United Nations-brokered ceasefire in August 1988.” (History.com). This stall mate of a war had left Iraq deeply in debt. And his nation was at very much a breaking point. Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring nation Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from the Ar-Rumaylah oil fields located along their common border. (History.com) His tactic was to cancel the “$228 billion dollars [that] were directly expended, and more than 400 billion dollars of damage” (History.com) and protect his people’s standard of living which was severely at risk. Preventative measures were taken by neighboring Arab countries, such as Egypt. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt initiated negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait in an effort...