Causes of the Gulf War

History of War - War in The Middle East





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The Gulf War, or should it now be called the First Gulf War, is a well known war that occurred in the early 1990’s in response to Iraq invading Kuwait. While many know of the war itself and the outcome of the war, it seems the actual causes of the Gulf War are lost on many.

The causes of the Gulf War can actually be tracked back quite a few years, even a decade before the war started so can be complex to understand. Below are the causes of the Gulf War and the impacts it had on the countries involved.

Causes of the Gulf War

The causes of the Gulf War actually started when Iraq was at war with Iran. During this war Iran was not only attacking Iraq but also attacking oil tankers from Kuwait at sea too. To support the ending of the war Kuwait financially aided Iraq by lending the country 14 Billion US Dollars.

Gulf War photo collage. Via Wikimedia CommonsGulf War photo collage. Via Wikimedia Commons

Iraq tried to convince Kuwait to dissolve the debt as Iraq had done Kuwait a favour by being at war with Iran, Kuwait declined and this caused a rift between the two countries. For a year they tried to resolve the financial situation but to no avail.

The next step was for Iraq to ask all OPEC members to reduce oil production so the price of crude oil would increase, this would in turn increase revenues for Iraq allowing the country to pay back its debts.

While other countries may have agreed Kuwait did the opposite and asked to increase its quota by fifty percent, much to the dissatisfaction of Iraq.

Next Iraq started alleging that Kuwait was drilling in a diagonal manner into Iraq Rumaila oil field territory over the border; this would mean that Kuwait was stealing Iraq’s oil rather than taking their own.

Saddam Hussein decided that he had no other option but military might so he stationed 100,000 troops on the border and in early August invaded Kuwait. As the Iraqi forces invaded and took over Kuwait they set fire to hundreds of Kuwaiti oil fields on the way.

After invading Kuwait the UN declared Iraq’s actions as invalid and economic sanctions were put in place. By November Iraq was still in control of Kuwait so the UN drew up Resolution 678 in which Iraq had until midnight on January 15th 1991 to leave otherwise military intervention could be used.

On 16th January Iraqi forces were still in Kuwait and a coalition force made up of 34 countries headed by America took up the challenge and started Operation Desert Storm which in turn ended up being the beginning of the Gulf War.

It must be said that while Iraq caused military action to be brought against it, there is another cause which could help explain the speed in which the Americans were happy to start military action.

Iraq had been an ally with the Soviet Union throughout the Cold War. This was something that had irked the Americans for a while and could have had some impact in the Americans wishing to speed up the start of the Gulf War.





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