Gulf war: iraqs invasion of kuwait and the american response research paper examples

The Gulf war can be attributed to a number of factors expressed in the disagreement over the level of the price of oil all intertwined together. Other reasons for the Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait may be attributed to the property rights to Kuwaitian oil and especially the oil fields of Rumaila. The ambitions of Saddam Hussein to feature in international arena and politics play a role in the attacks.
A study of the history of the Middle East and the United States involvement proves a point of Iraq’s motivation to venture into war. The geopolitical perspectives explore the tendencies to control oil perspectives and production in respect to setting the price of oil. The paper will explore the probable factors that lead to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the subsequent invasion of Iraq by US and whether it was motivated by the desire to dominate the control of the oil markets.
Until the mid of twentieth century, nationalism norms were unknown to the Arab world. The colonialists introduced the maneuvering of powers by famous families often linked to too much influence at the expense of the others. To put the fact in focus, the ruling al-Sabah family had a consensus with Britain in an 1899 agreement to not cede or sell any territory without their consent. The al-Sabah family continually became famous and richer and subsequently looked for playing off the British interests off against the Ottomans- the Saudi family at the west as well as the province of Basra and Baghdad.
Traditionally Arabs regarded the territorial mass from Baghdad south to the Gulf as Iraq. The modern Kuwait which was part of the al-Sabah family did not like the idea and wanted to liberate themselves out of that territory and conduct their own economic activities without any external power and influence from the colonialist or the Arabs.
The Arab world was divided into “ spheres of influence” mainly by France and England after the WW1. According to this is contained on the secrets of Sikes-Picot agreement and the other Arab masses which had been liberated from the dominion of Ottoman Empire felt sidelined and betrayed. For instance the League of Nations gave its node to the taking over of the Basra and the Baghdad provinces by the British. Therefore, in 1922, the modern Iraq was created by Sir Percy Cox, the British steward of the Gulf region. The division included the Provinces of Baghdad and Basra and the Kurds to the north. This abrogated the Treaty of Sevres reached in 1920 by the Ottoman and allies to keep Kurds independence at all times. At the same time, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was created but the move favored the al-Sabah family and deprived the state of Iraq access to the Gulf. The Shatt-al-Arab is shared by Iran and Kuwait thus going against the traditional agreement of allowing Iraq’s extension to reach the Gulf.
Iraq’s attempts to restore Kuwait to Baghdad were futile after it achieved its independence in 1932 until 1930. A successful agreement by Kuwait parliament in 1938 to unite with Iraq saw its disbandment by the al-Sabah family. Thus in the wake of post WWII, Arab nationalism and discontentment arose witnessed by the 1958 National revolution in Iraq. After Kuwait’s official independence in 1961, the renewed claim of Kuwait by the al-Karim Qassim regime, the British intercepted by sending its troops and enlisting the help of the Arab League. It was until the overthrow and dead of al-Qassim that Iraq ended its quest for Kuwait and recognized it in 1963. The Gulf aggression first arose due to discontentment between Iraq and its neighbors in what is seen as unfair treatment of Iraq in respect to the Gulf access. This in context was culminated by foreign nationalism extended to the Arab rulers and prominent families. The interest by western powers can be explained in terms of economic significance of the Middle East. Nearly two thirds of the world’s known reserves lies in five countries along the Gulf. Saudi Arabia leads with 25% share followed by United Arab Emirates and Iraq at 10%. Both Iran and Kuwait are distant third at 9%. The five countries make up almost a quarter of the total world’s population and although they are not major players such as Commonwealth of Independent States 20% and the US (14%) they command almost half of the world’s trade.
The price of crude oil is globally determined by balance between the import demand and the export supply of oil. These dynamics are particularly important for price determination. There is wide reduction in the production and reserve levels of oil in countries outside the Gulf. Therefore Middle East plays a fundamental role in the world supply of crude oil. An instability or stability in any of the producing countries triggers pro or anti responses from the major world powers as per their interests. On the supply side, the reserve base and production horizon of the producer’s countries as well as the geographical concentration of the resources and domestic and foreign politics played the major role in the Gulf war. Other factors include the need for revenue by some countries and geographical concentration of the resources (Iraq at the time). On the demand side, economic growth, market operations, demand and supply elasticity’s and lack or existence of substitutes played a major role in the Gulf war since the 1930s.
Technological developments by Iraq’s neighbors (tilt drilling) and the coordination of energy conservation and diversification mechanisms played a role in the relationship with Kuwait and finally the collapse. It is obvious that when prices of oil is founded on diverse qualitative factors, assumptions and measures such as the above, then it is notably true that the future prices tend to be tilted according to the player’s interests. The perfect case in point is the way Iraq opted for military invasion rather than diplomatic negotiations to resolve the impending problem. Likewise, the United States quick response desired more questions than just the American stand with their friends in times of the needs. The president categorically affirms “ Let me be clear: The sovereign independence of Saudi Arabia is of vital interest to the United States.. I will ask oil-producing nations to do what they can to increase production in order to minimize any impact that oil flow reductions will have on the world economy”. The US as a major importer herself acclaims the fact that the instability and total destruction and subsequent success of Saddam Hussein’s forces in Kuwait means more damage to the world oil supply and prices than to the people of Kuwait.
As per just after the WWII, the United States was increasingly rising in terms of world power and keen to replacing Britain and French in the Gulf region. It wanted to protect its oil assets and, therefore, saw them utilize the same strategy as England and French of keeping the political families, emirates, and kingdoms just as much stronger to fight against each other but not too much to destabilize the region. This way, the US would have more control than when the Arabs were under one unifying factor. The plot played out in 1951 when Iran nationalized its oil companies only for the US-CIA to topple the elected government and of Muhammad Mossadeq and replaced it with a dictator (Shah). The same strategy played out in Iraq in 1969 when the Ba’ath party had taken power and more revenue was realized from the oil revenues. The CIA strategically used the northern Kurds by arming them to keep the country weak enough to be unable to rise against Iran.
Initially the US along with the western powers had unanimously supported Saddam Hussein in its 8 year war against Iran. This is after the Shi’a Muslims overthrow the American supported Shah in 1979. During the Iraq-Ira n war, Iraq had benefited from al-Sabah families $17 billion which saw Iranian revolution as a threat to itself. Al-Sabah family considered Iranian revolution as a threat to its farms and settlements in the Iraqi border. The family was also involved in oil drilling in the Rumailah fields which was 95% on the Iraqi border. Using sophisticated technology from the US, they conducted slant drilling in its 5% of the field towards the Iraqi side. The Iraqi’s themselves were unable to drill because of the war between them and Iran. Therefore al-Sabah family drilled the oil and sold it below the OPEC recommended prices to US and Japan. This made the al-Sabah family unimaginably rich with estimated value of over 90billion dollars.
Immediately after the Iran war, Saddam Hussein was increasingly politically and economically isolated and was indebted more than 60 million dollars. In addition, most OPEC countries including Kuwait and United Arab Emirates were unwilling to abide by the oil quota system. Iraq’s advancements to admit strict rules to regulate the quota system and stabilize oil prices were not fruitful. In order to reduce uncertainties in the oil prices which were their sole provider of revenue, it wished to maintain high unit cost. This could also lessen their debts since the west had cut off their credits after Hussein has a British reporter executed as a spy. The world army rankings of Iraq had improved only second to Israel in the Middle East and this became a major concern for the West.
The continued slant drilling of the al-Sabah family despite Hussein’s protest at the Arab League and OPEC triggered him to look for further options. Hussein requested to utilize the Bubiyan and Warba islands to access the Gulf. This measure was to avoid using the Basra and Shatt-al-Arab waterways which it shared with Iran. Moreover, the subsequent declaration by the al-Sabah family that the $17 billion grant should be repaid complicated the matters for Iraq. The oil prices subsequently dropped due to overproduction by United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Kuwait consistently produced more than the allocated quota and this lead to believe that Kuwait’s primary goal was to undermine Iraq’s potentials in the region.
The Iraqi regime sort for immediate incline in the oil prices so that it could pay off its debts to Kuwait and other Arab war financiers. The attempts failed and Iraq termed Kuwait’s actions as intentional subsequently leading to the failed negotiation deliberated by Saudi Arabia. The military intervention to solve border and military disputes was suggested by Hussein in the OPEC and Arab League meetings. According to the Tariq Aziz, Iraq’s foreign minister wrote a protest letter to the Arab league citing systematic and deliberate attempts by Kuwait to continuously harm them. “ systematically, deliberately and continuously” harming Iraq by encroaching on its territory, stealing oil, and destroying its economy. Such behavior amounts to military aggression”.
Saddam Husein’s involvement in the war goes more than economic reason. Some scholars such as cite the war with Kuwait as a form of western aggression. Hussein grew up with the hate for West and specifically the British for imprisoning his uncle that had cared for him. When he joined Ba’ath Party, a platform that yearned for Arab unity, he was sent to assassinate General Abdul KarimQasim who in their opinion was an ally of the Western “ infidels”. Thus the need to go to against Western nations was an attempt to reignite the Arab unity against the West. Founded by his believe that one day he would rule the Arab nations stretching from Euphrates to the Suez, he waged war against Kuwait in an attempt to put the West against him which subsequently in his opinion would attract the Arab nations support.
According to the United States has a lot of time to warn the Kuwait’s of the impending attack. However the narrow decision making in the Bush administration did not deliver much to the people of Kuwait. According to the American Ambassador in Baghdad, April C Glaspie, the believe was that Iraqis were not going to occupy all of Kuwait except the Rumaila oil fields, and the islands among the debts demands. Therefore Kuwaitis were reluctant to strike a deal that could have prevented the war. Hussein had indicated an Arab solution to the demands and it left no indication that the damage would be worse with threats to advance to Saudi Arabia. Kuwait was naturally an enemy of the United States as noted by Daniel Patrick in the Gulf War Congress meeting in the January of 1991. According to President Bush, the US relation with Hussein had not been fruitful using diplomatic and the only viable means to stop him from the war was through war.
The invasion of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein caught most of the US top officials outside the country and decisions to resist Saddam Hussein were reached after 6 days with the primary objective to secure Saudi Arabia. It was after three months that the US took an offensive role in the war after sanctions had failed to eject Hussein out of Kuwait. At first it was seen as a formidable technique given the significant magnitude of losses from lack of sell of crude oil amounting a billion dollars a day.
The cost of the war to the United States is insignificant and minimal. Although the American stance was defensive at first, repeated bombings in Iraq though not meant for civilian masses resulted in casualties. However, Kuwait’s infrastructure and oil pumps were destroyed. Once the Iraqis realized that they cannot hold on to Kuwait, they perpetrated crimes and depredations that were long felled. Many of the Kuwait’s foreign workforces were expelled while other was taken as prisoners in Iraq. The post war population in Kuwait was sharply in contrast with numbers obtained before the war. The National Bank of Kuwait estimated that the total population of the country was slightly more than one million compared to 2. 15 million before the war. There was a lot of fatalities as others especially non-Kuwait’s fled. The psychological impacts between those who experienced direct horror of the survivor’s left each and every family unit with a lost life. There was also the trauma as a result from those who went missing with raising concerns that they were held in Iraqi prisons. The people faced uncertainty of the future and their government was not in a position to assure them of stability. The post war period was characterized with lawlessness as a result of the breakdown of the social norms and the government’s inability to restore order and peace.
The Iraqi people on the other hand were got between the US bombings and Hussein’s selfish interests. A 1991 report described the Iraqi bombings as nearly apocalyptic and had the tendency a highly civilized society into a pre-industrial age society. The public health facilities were deplorable due to cumulative effects of the bombings. An international study team comprising of researchers from medicine, public health, and environmental sciences found that the public health status was far much worse than before. The children, women, elderly and the poor were the most affected as a result of contaminated water and raw sewage on the surface. Out of the UN resolution 706 that facilitated the sold of $1. 6 billion worth of oil to gather for the needs of the Iraqis of which Saddam Hussein rejected creating an impasse. The result were trading of accusations with the UN citing Hussein’s prevention of aid from entering the country while Hussein accused UN of undermining Iraq’s sovereignty.
The US though considered a helper in fighting aggression against Kuwait did not consider the consequences of their bombings. Representative Jim McDermott, a physician testified to the House Select Committee after visiting Iraq and questions the Congress decision to sacrifice 18 million Iraqis in an attempt to remove one person from power. “ The Iraqi people did not vote for Saddam Hussein, yet hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, most of them children, are hungry, sick, and dying because of Saddam’s intransigence and our commitment to oust Hussein at all cost. Starving the people of Iraq will not topple Saddam Hussein.. What is more important—feeding the Iraqi children or opposing Saddam? I believe a majority of the American people would overwhelmingly support providing humanitarian aid to the children of Iraq”. The Bush administrations indiscriminate and heavy bombing of Iraq while leaving Saddam Hussein in power produced the worst outcome for the people of Iraq. The deliberately stopped before ousting Hussein in what consider as lack of responsibility. Saddam Hussein was willing to hold on to power as much as possible at the expense of the suffering of his people.
It is evident that in the end, the Arab allies had more at stake than the Western benefactors. The Arab world was torn apart with no benefits but only the survival of the status quo. The Arab problems were not solved and in fact, the Arab-Arab fighting exacerbated the initial problems.


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