When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the Persian Gulf Crisis began. The United States became involved in an effort to remove Iraq from Kuwait. Ultimately, a coalition of forces from more than 30 nations participated in a military campaign that liberated Kuwait and restored its government.
Since then, the Persian Gulf region has been relatively stable. However, tensions have flared up at times, most recently in 2012 when Iranian warships entered waters claimed by both Iran and Bahrain. While there have been no major incidents since then, the potential for conflict remains.
The Persian Gulf Crisis was a significant event in recent history, and it continues to have an impact on the region today. Here is a closer look at the crisis and its aftermath.
Iraq’s motives for the invasion are still not completely clear, but it is believed that Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader at the time, was seeking to take advantage of Kuwait’s vulnerabilities. These included a weak military, reliance on foreign workers, and disagreements between members of the ruling family.
In addition, Iraq may have hoped to gain control of Kuwait’s oil resources. The invasion was quick and relatively bloodless, with Iraqi forces taking control of Kuwait City within hours.
The international community responded quickly to the invasion. The United Nations Security Council issued a series of resolutions condemning Iraq’s actions and demanding a withdrawal from Kuwait. The United States, which had close ties to both Kuwait and Iraq, also condemned the invasion and began to assemble a coalition of forces to liberate Kuwait.
On January 17, 1991, the coalition launched a massive air campaign against Iraq. This was followed by a ground offensive that began on February 24. After just 100 hours of fighting, Iraqi forces were driven out of Kuwait and the government was restored.
The Persian Gulf Crisis was a significant event in recent history. It led to the first major military conflict since the end of the Cold War and demonstrated the power of international coalitions in addressing global threats. In addition, the crisis had a major impact on the Persian Gulf region itself.
When it comes to analyzing the Persian Gulf Conflict, one must first understand the elements that triggered it. In 1980, Iraq launched a massive aerial and land assault on Iran. For eight years, the Iran-Iraq War grew worse until the United States accidentally downed an Iranian plane, causing 290 deaths.
This war was caused by several factors, including: (1) territorial conflict, (2) religious differences between Islamic moderates and fundamentalists, and more significantly, (3) a personality clash between Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s president, and Ayatollah Khomein, Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Why did Iraq invade Kuwait? There are several reasons: (1) to reduce Kuwait’s production of oil so that Iraq could increase its own production and become the dominant producer in the Persian Gulf region; (2) to eliminate Kuwait as a financial competitor since Kuwait was using its oil wealth to support Iraq’s war effort against Iran; (3) to gain control of Kuwait’s ports and coastline so that Iraq would have a longer coastline and access to the Persian Gulf; and (4) to add to Iraq’s territory since Saddam Hussein believed that the people of Kuwait were really Iraqis who had been separated from Iraq when the British created Kuwait as a separate country in 1922.
In the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, the United States started to provide protection for Kuwaiti tankers, which triggered clashes with Iranian speedboats. Indirectly, the United States aided Iraq’s operations during this war. While the United States was maintaining a presence in Kuwait to defend it against Iran, Kuwait gave Iraq more than $10 billion in financial backing.Iraq wanted to pay off its foreign debt at the conclusion of the Iran-Iraq War in 1990.
Kuwait, however, refused to forgive Iraq’s debt and also demanded that Iraq repay the $14 billion that Kuwait had spent during the Iran-Iraq War. These economic disputes were the main reason behind the Persian Gulf Crisis.
In early 1990, Saddam Hussein sent his Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, to Kuwait to resolve these economic disputes. However, the meeting between Tariq Aziz and Kuwaiti officials did not go well. As a result of this failed meeting, Saddam Hussein became even more determined to take military action against Kuwait. In July 1990, he started massing his troops on Kuwait’s border. On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait with his army and took control of the country within a few hours.
Once Kuwait was under Iraq’s control, Saddam Hussein started making a number of changes in Kuwait. He changed the name of Kuwait to “The 19th Province of Iraq” and appointed a new governor. He also announced that all Kuwaiti oil fields now belonged to Iraq. In addition, Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to start looting Kuwaiti homes and businesses. Within a few days, more than 300,000 Kuwaitis had been forced to flee their homes.
The United Nations responded quickly to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. On August 6, 1990, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 660, which condemned Iraq’s actions and demanded that it withdraw from Kuwait immediately. The Security Council also passed Resolution 661, which imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. These sanctions prevented Iraq from importing or exporting any goods, except for food and medicine.
In response to the UN resolutions, Saddam Hussein said that he would only withdraw from Kuwait if the UN lifted the economic sanctions and also agreed to pay Iraq $2 billion in compensation. The UN refused to accept these terms and the Persian Gulf Crisis continued.
In November 1990, Iraq released a number of Western hostages who it had been holding in Kuwait. This led to heightened tensions between Iraq and the United States, as the U.S. feared that Saddam Hussein might use the hostages as bargaining chips in negotiations with the UN.
On December 16, 1990, US President George Bush announced that he was sending troops to Saudi Arabia to help defend the country against a possible Iraqi invasion. This decision led to a number of UN Security Council resolutions, which authorized the use of force against Iraq if it did not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991.
On January 17, 1991, the Persian Gulf War began when US and coalition forces launched a massive air campaign against Iraq. This was followed by a ground offensive, which began on February 24, 1991. After just 100 hours of fighting, Kuwait was liberated and Saddam Hussein’s army was in retreat. On February 28, 1991, a ceasefire was declared and the Persian Gulf War came to an end.
Although Saddam Hussein’s army was defeated in the Persian Gulf War, he remained in power in Iraq. In May 1991, he crushed a rebellion by Kurdish insurgents in the north of Iraq. In March 1992, he suppressed a Shia uprising in the south of the country. As a result of these military actions, Saddam Hussein’s grip on power in Iraq remained strong.
The Persian Gulf Crisis was a significant event in recent history. It led to the liberation of Kuwait and also resulted in the defeat of Saddam Hussein’s army. However, it also left Iraq weaker and more isolated than it had been before the crisis began.