The Persian Gulf War


War was inevitable in the Gulf and it was a war in which Iraq was
inevitability to lose. There were several reasons why this was and became a
reality. How, when, where did this process of self destruction begin? It
was quite evident that Saddam Hussein. the president of Iraq, was becoming
a military giant in the Middle East and therefore a threat to the stability
of the entire region. His war with Iran was proof of this. The U.S. and
other industrialized Western nations could not risk the loss of oil from
the area. Kuwait is the second largest source of petroleum in the Middle
East and so Iraqi invasion of Kuwait sent the world oil market into a
frenzy. Iraqi forces then gathered their forces on the border with Saudi
Arabia, the second largest supplier of oil in the world. This in turn
brought the military might of the United States into the conflict.

There are several reasons why Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. "After
the 8 year war with Iran over territorial disputes and religious rivalries
between the Iranian Shiites and Iraqi Sunni factions, Iraq had a massive
debt to many Arab nations including Kuwait."2 The rulers of these nations
wanted some of their money back but Iraq thought they were ingrates and
were ungrateful for defending the Arab emirs from the Iranian Islamic
fundamentalism. The Arab emirs were afraid that the Islamic fundamentalists
would rise against the government and eventually take over the government
as they had Iran against the Shah. Kuwait was also afraid of this and so
they supported the Iraqi Arabs against the Iranian Persians.

2"Iraq",World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 10, p. 260
The funds that Gulf countries lent to Iraq were used to buy high tech
weapons, high tech weapons that made Iraq one of the largest armies in the
world and a force to contend with. "Ironically much of the money and
weapons came from the countries that united to fight against him."1 The
Gulf countries bankrolled him while the Western nations, who had many
defense contractors going out of business because of the end of the Cold
War, supplied him with the weapons to fight Iran and later Kuwait and the
Coalition. With a large army like his, it would be very easy to defeat the
far smaller Kuwaiti army compared to his.

1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
Oil had made Kuwait one of the richest and most progressive countries
in the world. This desert land is one of the world\'s leading producers
having over one-tenth of the world\'s known petroleum reserves. "All of this
in 20150 square kilometres, a little smaller than the state of New
Jersey."3 Kuwait is one of the world\'s wealthiest nations in terms of
national income per person. It has free primary and secondary education,
free health and social services and no income tax. There was much to
protect. All of this was attractive and irritating to Saddam who would and
did use a fraction of his army to attack and invade Kuwait in which it only
took the Iraqi army 6 hours to reach the capital city. They had after their
invasion about 19% of the world\'s known oil reserves.

3"Kuwait",World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 11, p.354
Historically Iraq had claimed that it had a right to Kuwait. "They
were jealous that Kuwait was in control of the two islands needed for a
deep water shipping port:the Bubiyan and Warbah islands."4 These islands
along with some parts of Kuwait were a part of Mesopotamia which the
Ottoman Turks conquered. "The Ottoman Empire was defeated during World War
I and the British made their "own lines in the sand", dividing up the land
according to their own strategic needs and in the process recklessly
dividing up ancient communities and boundaries that had been recognized for
decades."1 Most of Mesopotamia became Iraq and some other parts to Kuwait.
In 1961, Kuwait became independent and the Iraqis threatened to invade
except that British troops kept the peace. This was to be the first of many
border skirmishes which include Iraqi missiles fired at Kuwaiti oil
installations and the reflagging of Kuwaiti oil tankers during the
Iran-Iraq War in which U.S. ships patrolled the Persian Gulf and Kuwaiti
tankers were reflagged with U.S. flags.

1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
4AP Press Toronto Star (January 20, 1991) A18
The Iraqi government had also accused the Kuwaitis of stealing 2.5
billion barrels of oil from