The Invasion of Kuwait
Written by Peter Fitzgerald
History of War - War in The Middle East
In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait over an argument about economic and diplomatic issues; many may know this invasion as the Iraq-Kuwait War.
Prior to the invasion of Kuwait the two countries were strong allies, in fact when Iraq was at war with Iran they found Kuwait to be very supportive and act as a port for ships importing and exporting goods.
The issue between the two countries happened after the Iraq-Iran war ended. It seems that when the war ended Iraq owed Kuwait a large sum of money in the region of 14 Billion US Dollars that it could not pay back. Iraq asked Kuwait to wave the debt as payment for Iraq protecting the Arab world from a Persian invasion. Kuwait had other ideas and did not wish to wipe the debt.
Throughout 1989 both countries sat and tried to resolve the issue to no avail, it seems that the issue was then exacerbated by oil production.
Oil production is big business in Iraq and Kuwait. Iraq asked fellow OPEC members to reduce their quota of crude oil production to raise prices of oil so they could generate more income and pay back debts, including the debt to Kuwait.
Kuwait did not agree with this reduction in quota and in fact asked to increase their quota amount by 50%, this move infuriated Iraq and the Foreign Minister of Iraq Tariq Aziz said "every US$1 drop in the price of a barrel of oil caused a US$1 billion drop in Iraq's annual revenues triggering an acute financial crisis in Baghdad."
The final straw for Iraq came when they made allegations that Kuwait was drill at an angle over the agreed international borders of the Rumaila oil field, effectively stealing Iraq’s oil.
Invasion of Kuwait
With tensions running really high Iraq stationed 100,000 troops on the border with Kuwait; this was until the start of August 1990.
On 2:00am of 2nd August in the year 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait. The initial invasion came in the form of four divisions of the elite Iraqi Republican Guard divisions as well as Iraqi Special Forces. The invading forces came from land, sea and air to attack the capital city Kuwait, bearing the same name as the country. The invasion also quickly took control of all airports and airbases.
The Iraqi air force then used helicopters and airplanes to support troops and take control of Kuwaiti airspace. Although tensions were high between Iraq and Kuwait the Kuwaiti army was not ready for this scale of invasion and were not equipped to fight the larger Iraqi force.
As the Iraq forces moved through Kuwait they set over 600 oil fields alight causing huge economic hardship on the country.
The Kuwaiti air force was in a similar situation to its army, in fact they did scramble the air force planes available but 20% were destroyed or taken by the Iraqi’s. The remaining Kuwaiti air force planes were taken to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for protection where they were not used again in the defence of Kuwait.
With all this occurring the Emir of Kuwait fled the country to Saudi Arabia, unfortunately some of his family were not so lucky with his brother in law shot and ran over by a tank.
There continued to be pockets of resistance by Kuwaiti forces but by the afternoon of the 4th August all resistance stopped and any forces left fled to the Saudi desert.
After Iraq took overall control Saddam Hussein installed close allies from his government as Prime Minister and Governor of Kuwait.
The Deposed government and Royal family of Kuwait who were now in Saudi Arabia called on the International community for support, which soon came in the form of UN resolutions that eventually led to the Gulf War.