The War

The Persian Gulf War all started because of one country’s greed for oil. Iraq accused Kuwait of pumping oil and not sharing the benefits, and Kuwait was pumping more oil than allowed under quotas set by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, it decreased the price of oil, Iraq’s main export. Iraq’s complaints against Kuwait grew more and more harsh, but they were mostly about money. When Iraqi forces began to assemble near the Kuwaiti border in the summer of 1990, several Arab states tried to intervene the dispute. Kuwait did not want to look weak so they did not ask for any help from the United States or other non-Arab powers for support. Arab mediators convinced Iraq and Kuwait to negotiate their differences in Saudi Arabia, on August 1, 1990, but that meeting resulted only in charges and countercharges. A second meeting was planned to take place in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, but Iraq invaded Kuwait the next day, leading some people to think that Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had planned the invasion all along.

The Iraqi attack began shortly after midnight on August 2. About 150,000 Iraqi troops, many of them veterans of the Iran-Iraq War, easily overwhelmed the unprepared and inexperienced Kuwaiti forces, which numbered about 20,000. By dawn, Iraq had assumed control of Kuwait City, the capital, and was soon in complete control of the country. The United Nation Security Council and the Arab League immediately condemned the Iraqi invasion. Four days later, the Security Council forced an economic restriction on Iraq that forbidden nearly all trades with Iraq. Any armed attempt to roll back the Iraqi invasion depended on Saudi Arabia, which shares a border with Iraq and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia did not have the power to fight Iraq alone .So Saudi rulers did eventually open the country to foreign forces, in mainly because they were worried by Iraq’s aggressive negotiations also U.S. intelligence reports claimed that Iraqi forces were well positioned for a strike against Saudi Arabia. Beginning a week after the Iraqi take over of Kuwait and continuing for several months, a large international force called the “international coalition” gathered in Saudi Arabia. The United States sent more than 400,000 troops, and more than 200,000 additional troops came from Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, France, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria, Senegal, Niger, Morocco, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. Other countries contributed ships, air forces, and medical units, including Canada, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Poland, and South Korea. Still other countries made other contributions: Turkey allowed air bases on its territory to be used by coalition planes, and Japan and Germany gave financial support. The primary goal of the force was to prevent further Iraqi action, but most countries were aware the force might eventually be used to drive Iraq from Kuwait.

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