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Why did Iraq invade Kuwait in August 1990?. 1. Historic claims Both Arab countries once belonged to the Ottoman Empire Iraq was a British Mandate and.

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Presentation on theme: "Why did Iraq invade Kuwait in August 1990?. 1. Historic claims Both Arab countries once belonged to the Ottoman Empire Iraq was a British Mandate and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Why did Iraq invade Kuwait in August 1990?

2 1. Historic claims Both Arab countries once belonged to the Ottoman Empire Iraq was a British Mandate and Kuwait was a British protectorate after WWI Iraq claimed Kuwait as its 19 th province

3 2. Background: the Islamic Revolution in Iran (1979) The Shah of Iran had long been an ally of the West He was deeply unpopular with the Iranian people, who viewed him as a US/UK puppet The Shah fled Iran in 1979 The exiled Shi’a cleric, Ayatollah Khomeini, returned to Iran 2 weeks later Khomeini set about dismantling the Shah’s regime and created a Shi’a Islamic republic Iran threatened the Sunni kingdoms in the region and became a pariah state

4 3. Background: Why did Iraq declare war on Iran (1980)? Saddam’s ruling Ba’ath party represent a Sunni minority in a predominantly Shi’a country- he was worried that the revolution in Iran would spread to Iraq He wanted to take control of the Shatt al-Arab Waterway and the Khuzestan region of Iran, both of which were long disputed The Shatt al-Arab was the main point of access for Iraqi oil tankers to the Arabian Gulf and its division favoured Iran Khuzestan was an oil-rich region of Iran with excellent coastal access which was populated predominantly by Arabs of Iraqi descent

5 4. Effects of the War on Iraq The Iran-Iraq War lasted for 8 years and cost the lives of half a million Iraqis (many of whom were civilians) They failed to achieve any of their war aims, except preventing the spread of revolution There were no border changes or reparations levied Iraq’s foreign debt ballooned to roughly $80 billion, almost half of which was owed to other Gulf countries. This debt was unsustainable compared to GDP and they were borrowing money to pay off interest The demobilization of 200,000 soldiers put added pressure on the Iraqi economy, where unemployment was already high GDP per capita more than halved between 1989 and 1990 Oil production had slowed significantly and Iraq lost $7 billion a year as result, causing a massive balance of payments deficit

6 5. OPEC oil quotas during the 1980’s The OPEC oil embargo caused global oil prices to increase dramatically, an energy crisis and a worldwide economic slump As result, the Gulf countries became very rich but the West sought to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil When revenues dropped during the 1980’s, OPEC decided to break its quota rules to flood the markets with cheap oil, pricing out other market competitors This increased revenues and increased Western reliance on Middle Eastern oil However, Iraq (a fellow member of OPEC) suffered massively as their oil was becoming too costly to produce compared to the Gulf States

7 6. Specific Iraqi-Kuwait disputes Kuwait refused to forgive debt Kuwait was aggressively flooding market with cheap oil Kuwait was assisted in this by good coastal access Iraq also accused Kuwait of slant-drilling into the Rumaila oil field

8 7. Iraqi foreign relations The US had supplied weapons to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War France and the UK had both supplied weapons to Iraq France installed a nuclear reactor in 1976 The US, Britain and France were increasingly concerned by human rights abuses (Halabja) and the execution of a journalist working for a British newspaper Relations with other Arab nations were deteriorating because of the plight of immigrant workers at the hands of unemployed Iraqis

9 8. Political Miscalculation Although the US had also supplied Iran, the outcome of the war convinced Saddam that Iraq’s anti-Iranian stance would make it a staunch US ally He also believed that the West’s dependence on oil meant that they would accept an invasion of Kuwait Saddam also failed to appreciate that the end of the Cold War meant that both superpowers were cutting overseas aid US Ambassador inadvertently gave Saddam the impression that the US was neutral on any actions Iraq might take against Kuwait Equally, during negotiations over debt and oil quotas, both Kuwait and the UAE interpreted Iraqi troop movements on the Kuwait border as bluster and tried to call his bluff

10 9. Osama bin Laden Bin Laden was a Saudi national who returned to his homeland fresh from the Mujahedeen's victory over the USSR in Afghanistan Saudi felt threatened by the Kuwait invasions (as did the rest of the world- invasion of Saudi Arabia would mean Saddam would control 25% of all global oil reserves) Bin Laden offered the services of his Jihadist fighters to defend it but the Saudi royal family rejected this in favour of a US/UN offer Bin Laden was outraged that non-Islamic troops were stationed in the land of Mecca and Medina (as well as the US being granted military bases after the war)

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