Superpower Responses to International Agression

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  • Created by: R
  • Created on: 27-04-13 12:06

Kuwait and Gulf War 1991-Context

Bet. 1980-88 Iraq engaged in bloody and expensive war w/ Iran.By end Iraq owed nearly $100 billion.

To compound economic crisis main source of foreign revenue from oil: prices fallen and crisis threatened political survival of Iraq's dictator Saddam Hussein.

Iraq had reasonable relations w/ non- Middle Eastern powers. USA keen to have ally after fall of Pro-US Shah of Iran in 79. By 1990 US provided $3 billion worth of trade.

Despite this, W-states reluctant to provide financial assistance due to Saddams bad human rights record.

Little hope of help from USSR as own economy under severe pressure.

Regionally, allies were Jordan and PLO: Saddam had borrowed heavily from Gulf states in war w/ Iran but by 1990 clear debts couldnt be repaid.

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Invasion of Kuwait

By July 1990 Saddam accused neighbouring Kuwait if stealing oil from Iraq's Rumalia Oilfield and demanded immediate repayment of $2 billion.

blamed Kuwait's overproduction of oil for depressed international price ($18 a barrel by early 1990).

Solution to reduce production and increase oil prices and Kuwait to suspend all war debts owed by Iraq. Diplomatic moves supported by massive Iraqi troop movements towards Kuwait-Iraq border.

Initially Kuwait ignored demands. US ambassador to Iraq met w/Hussein in July and failed to emphasise any potential military response by USA should Iraq invade Kuwait.

Even by end of July, when 100 000 Iraqi troops Bush took no action to prevent invasion.   w/in hours any effective resistance in Kuwait was over. Appeared as if Hussein's economic problems over now he controlled all of Kuwaits oil production.

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International Response-Kuwait

Immediate collective response to impose economic sanctions through UN and demand immediate w/drawal from Kuwait.

Appeared as if, in post-CW environment, UN united and would lead collective security response to invasion.

But real force behind invasion was USA, who received large percentage of oil imports from Saudi Arabia.

Also problem of passage of free oil from Persian Gulf, route oil took to Europe and Japan.

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Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

6th August 1990 Saudi Arabia agreed to let USA est. Operation Desert Shield         meant moving 250,000 troops into Saudi Arabia.

Deadline for Iraq's w/drawal set for 15th Jan 1991. If not met, then Desert Shield would become Desert Storm: Kuwait would be forcibly liberated.

USA assembled coalition of powers that could be used to implement Op. Desert Storm:

  • Egypt- military debt of $6 billion written off
  • Syria- Assad joined bc thought removal of Hussein would strengthen his own position as head of Ba'ath party
  • Jordan- opted to remain neutral
  • Israel- most obv. US ally agreed to reamin out of coalition: Bush convinced Israel's participation would alienate Arab states and undermine coalition.
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European Response

Despite some opposition in Parliament, Britain fully behind USA. One of Thatcher's last major political acts was to commit Britain to atni-Iraq coalition.                

French little less enthusiastic- long-term supporter of Iraq.

Although offering no military contribution, Germany provided financial aid and accpeted redeployment of US troops from NATO commitment in Europe.

Other European states such as Greece, Denmark, Italy and the Netherlands gave some naval and air support.

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Desert Storm

During this period USA and allies built up military presence in Saudi Arabia.

November- Un passed resolution 678, authorising use of force unless Iraq w/drew by Jan 15th.

Final diplomatic move came at end of November when US Secretary of State Baker met w/ Iraq Foreign Minister Aziz in Geneva. Aziz demanded any negotiations be linked to Palestinian-Israeli Crisis. USA refused.

16th Jan 1991 USA and coalition partners launched Desert Storm and Gulf War.

Not only were Iraqi forces pushed from Kuwait but coalition forces struck deep into Iraq itself.

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