Why did the First Gulf War take place?

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Name the reasons as to why Iraq invaded Kuwait

  • Economic reasons
  • Historical relationship with Kuwait
  • Standing in the world
  • Problems within Iraq
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Economic reasons

  • Iraq was economically weak following the Iran-Iraq war and needed to increase the wealth of the country.
  • Kuwait had valuable oil wells that could be taken over
  • In 1990 world oil prices dropped steeply and Saddam blamed Kuwait and the UAE for deliberately overproducing to undermine the Iraqi economy
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Historical relationship with Kuwait

  • Saddam claimed that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq although it has existed as a separate territory much longer than Iraq had
  • Iraq blamed the British for it being an almost land-locked state - meddling by imperialists was how they viewed it
  • In the early 1960s the British recognized the full independence of Kuwait but Iraq didn't at first and this caused border tension to exist
  • Saddam was angry that Kuwait was demanding the repayment of a $14bn loan lent during the Iran-Iraq War.
  • Many Iranians thought the Kuwaitis ungrateful after being protected from the threat of Iranian expansion
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Standing in the world

  • Saddam had failed to gain the regional leadership from the war - this was another opportunity to become the most powerful Arab leader in the Middle East
  • Iraq was militarily the strongest country in the area
  • Saddam did not believe the USA or Europe would take any action seeing as they supported the overthrowing of the Shah, an American ally, and had supported Saddam with arms during the Iran-Iraq War
  • Saddam valued a stabilizing influence in the region - the USA had taken no action when he crushed the Kurds and suppressed the Shi'ites
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Problems within Iraq

  •  Saddam needed to divert attention away from the problems he was considered to have caused
  • After the Iran-Iraq War, the Iraqi economy was in tatters and yet Saddam continued to strengthen his military machine
  • There was to be no post-war economic recovery
  • Saddam was held to blame by factions within society and there were several attempts to overthrow him between 1988 and 1990
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Describe the wider-world's reaction to the invasio

The UN took the following actions:

  • Placed trade sanctions on Iraq - no country was to trade with Iraq; this prevented their oil exports
  • Ordered Saddam to remove his troops by 15 Jan. If not, the UN would use "all necessary means" to remove them
  • Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt were concerned about what Saddam's next move might be and so supported the UN action
  • British PM Margaret Thatcher and President Bush decided that Saddam's power should be curbed
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Describe the invasion of Kuwait

  • ordered on 2 August 1990 by Saddam Hussein
  • invasion occurred within 24 hours
  • 100 000 Iraqi troops and 300 Iraqi tanks crushed the 16 000 Kuwait army
  • ruler of Kuwait escaped to Saudi Arabia with his family
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Outline the course of the First Gulf war

  • Saddam's Iraqi troops invaded and occupied Kuwait in August 1990
  • An international force of over 600,000 troops assembled in Saudi Arabia
  • A coalition of 34 nations contributed troops, armaments and cash
  • The involvement of troops from Arab countries i.e. Egypt and Syria as well as from Muslim countries i.e. Pakistan and Bangladesh meant Saddam could not claim that this was the West against Arabs and Islam
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Operation Desert Shield

  • after the invasion of Kuwait
  • no fighting for 5 months
  • 7 Aug 1990 - 17 Jan 1991
  • build up of American, British and French troops in Saudi Arabia
  • A series of UN resolutions were passed
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Operation Desert Storm

  • liberation Kuwait.
  • 17th Jan 1991 - 28 Feb 1991
  • consisted of an air war and a ground war
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Operation Desert Storm: Air War

  • 17 Jan - 23 Feb 1991
  • bombing attacks were carried out on Baghdad causing many civilian casualties
  • Military targets, bridges and roads were also attacked
  • Iraq launched SCUD missile attacks on Israel hoping to provoke a split between the west and their Arab allies. This didn't happen.
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Operation Desert Storm: Ground War

  • 24 Feb - 28 Feb 1991
  • Kuwaiti oil wells were set on fire and blown up by Iraq
  • Millions of gallons of crude oil poured into the Persian Gulf
  • Iraq carried out brief invasion of Khafji in Saudi Arabia but was driven out by coalition forces
  • Iraqis were routed and driven out of Kuwait
  • Iraqi dead estimate = 90,000
  • Coalition forces dead estimate = 400
  • Around 10,000 were killed on the "Highway of Death", the 6-lane motorway from Kuwait to Basra
  • The retreating Iraqis were at the mercy of the coalition but Bush called a ceasefire as he feared the Allies would lose the support of the Arab nations
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What were the consequences of the First Gulf War?

  • Saddam suffered a massive, humiliating defeat - his forces had been removed from Kuwait within 100 hours of the start of the Ground war
  • Much of Iraq's infrastructure had been destroyed by coalition air attacks including power stations, oil refineries, water purification plants, roads and bridges
  • Civilian fatalities estimated = 100,000
  • Civilians lacked food, clean drinking water and medical supplies
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What 6 peace terms did the UN impose on Iraq after

  • recognition of Kuwait's sovereignty
  • payment of reparations
  • Iraqi cooperation to dismantle all biological, nuclear and chemical "weapons of mass destruction" or face future international intervention in Iraq
  • trade sanctions - this virtually cut off Iraq from the rest of the world
  • establishment of "no-fly zones" policed by American planes flying out of Saudi Arabia; feared that Saddam would carry out further atrocities against his own people in the southern and northern areas of the country
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Describe the future of Iraq after the First Gulf W

  • Saddam had lost the trust of most of the international community through his actions against Kuwait
  • Major countries whose main concern was the stability of the region began to wonder if Saddam should be removed from power
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