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  1. #1
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    Thirty years on, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait still haunts region

    Thirty years on, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait still haunts region

    While Kuwait largely recovered from the first Gulf War, many believe invasion opened door to decades of devastation.
    In the early hours of August 2, 1990, Iraq's army under President Saddam Hussein launched an attack on neighbouring Kuwait.

    Within hours, the capital city of the small oil-rich country had fallen, while Kuwait's head of state, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, had fled to Saudi Arabia.

    "When I heard the news that morning, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of pain and despair," said Subhi Tawfiq, a retired general of the Iraq army at the time.

    "It was a dreadful day for both Gulf countries, but definitely the beginning of the end for Iraq," he said, recalling the events 30 years ago.

    "Nothing has been the same again."

    'Expansionist agenda'
    Although Iraq and Kuwait had decades-old border disputes, the two countries became close allies during the former's 1980s war against Iran.

    Kuwait provided Iraq much needed funding in the form of loans for military equipment during the eight-year conflict.

    But after the Iraq-Iran war ended in 1988, Iraq, economically exhausted and laden with enormous debt, needed more financial assistance. It had its eyes on Kuwait's massive oil resources and expected it to forgive its debt.

    Soon after Kuwait rejected its request to forgo the loans, Baghdad launched its offensive. Weeks later, Hussein had annexed Kuwait and pronounced it Iraq's 19th province.

    "From Kuwait's perspective, Iraq has always harboured an expansionist agenda towards Kuwait and their invasion fit into that agenda," said Dania al-Thafer, director of the Gulf International Forum.

    "Many in Kuwait also argued that the invasion was largely motivated by Iraq's desire to control Kuwait's large oil reserves," she added.

    Operation Desert Storm
    The invasion was met with swift condemnation by the international community which moved to isolate Iraq politically and economically.

    On August 6, the UN Security Council (UNSC) demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. It also slapped a trade, financial and military embargo on Baghdad.

    But by late November, Kuwait was still under Iraqi occupation. The UNSC then authorised the use of "all necessary means" to force Iraq out of Kuwait if its troops did not withdraw by January 15, 1991. In the meantime, US President George Bush sent troops to Saudi Arabia and assembled a US-led international coalition with the goal of intervening if the deadline was not met.

    As the deadline passed with Hussein refusing to retreat, the US-led coalition launched Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991, with the fierce bombardment of targets in both Kuwait and Iraq.

    The 43-day operation ended on February 27 after a 100-hour ground offensive forced Iraq to withdraw its troops.

    After nearly a seven-month occupation, Iraq had finally accepted all UN resolutions - but only after suffering thousands of military and civilian casualties and extensive damage to its infrastructure.

    In Kuwait, meanwhile, entire neighbourhoods had been destroyed, hundreds of Kuwaitis were killed or tortured and most of its oil wells had been set alight.


    Iraq brought 'to its knees'

    Shortly after the cessation of hostilities, Sheikh al-Sabah returned to rebuild and recover a shattered Kuwait.

    Some analysts argue Kuwait never fully returned to its prewar opulence. Still, the small Gulf state eventually regained domestic harmony despite resentment among some Kuwaitis against the US operations and towards those who fled the country during the war.

    Kuwait also preserved its international standing, especially after parliament was restored following a 1992 election, explained Courtney Freer, an expert on Gulf states and research fellow at the London School of Economics Middle East, adding that "the invasion solidified feelings of nationalism and loyalty to the ruling family".

    For Iraq, however, the invasion opened the door to decades of devastation. In 2003, a US-led invasion devastated the country and was followed by a bloody sectarian conflict and the emergence of ISIL (ISIS) that seized large swaths of the country's territory between 2014 and 2017. Until today, the country suffers from a lack of basic services and deep-rooted corruption amid growing anger over a sectarian ruling elite that has done little to alleviate the suffering of common Iraqis.

    Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was a dreadful day for both Gulf countries, but it was definitely the beginning of the end for Iraq.
    RETIRED IRAQI ARMY GENERAL SUBHI TAWFIQ
    Instead of gaining access to Kuwait's oil reserves or becoming a more strategic regional power, Iraq emerged from the war a pariah state led by what the international community now considered a rogue actor.

    "Iraq left the war weaker economically, politically, and militarily. Moreover, the neighbouring GCC states and Iran had developed antagonistic relations with Iraq, making Iraq politically isolated in the region," explained al-Thafer, using the acronym for the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional bloc comprising of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.


    Iraqis also continued to suffer under crippling sanctions and years of embargo imposed by the UN.

    "The sanctions and isolation brought Iraq to its knees. After the war, my whole monthly salary - a substantial income at the time - could barely buy me a pack of cigarettes," recalled the retired army general Tawfiq.

    "That invasion destroyed Iraq. Things only got from bad to worse," he added.


    Solidified US presence in Gulf
    A major long-term effect of the Gulf War was that it paved the way for greater US security and military presence in the region.

    Although US involvement in the war came on the heels of a request from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states for military assistance to curb Iraqi expansionism in the region, Washington had its own clear interests.

    "Bush was scared that Saudi Arabia and other GCC states could be next which would effectively cause disruption in oil production thereby causing a ripple-effect for economies across the globe," said al-Thafer.


    "Additionally, the Gulf War provided a geostrategic opportunity to expand US military presence in the Gulf region and solidify its position as a superpower," she added.

    "The US benefitted economically from its expanded security role in the Gulf. Defence and military trade increased as the US began having more military-to-military cooperation with the GCC states."

    The Gulf War provided a geostrategic opportunity to expand US military presence in the Gulf region and solidify its position as a superpower.
    DANIA AL-THAFER, DIRECTOR OF THE GULF INTERNATIONAL FORUM
    Freer agreed: "The war arguably justified a larger US military footprint on the Arabian Peninsula, with large bases in Kuwait, Qatar and a naval base in Bahrain, since the invasion had revealed vulnerability of the smaller states in the region."

    It also set the stage for the US-led invasion of Iraq more than 10 years later. Unsurprisingly to many, tens of thousands of US troops assembled in Kuwait before the start of the operations, with Kuwait serving as a bridgehead for the US military occupation of Iraq.

    According to Freer, the US's successful involvement in the first Gulf War emboldened its decision to invade Iraq in 2003.

    "There was a sense of unfinished business, since US involvement did not lead to regime change in Iraq - something that the first Bush administration wanted but did not impose," said Freer.


    Since the end of the first Gulf War, there have been major signs of mending regional and global relations with Iraq. Several global powers supported Iraq in a military operation against the ISIL until Baghdad's victory against the armed group in 2017.

    Furthermore, several Gulf states provided financial support for the post-ISIL rebuilding efforts and have since shown growing interest in boosting bilateral relations.

    Notably, Kuwait also dedicated $30bn aid in 2018 to help Iraq - but 30 years on, the memory of the devastating war still haunts many in both Kuwait and Iraq.

    Thirty years on, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait still haunts region | Iraq News | Al Jazeera

  2. #2
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    How the Iraq-Kuwait crisis unfolded 30 years ago

    AFP Filed on August 1, 2020

    Thirty years have passed since Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein invaded neighbouring Kuwait.

    On August 2, 1990, the army of Saddam Hussein swarmed into neighbouring Gulf emirate Kuwait, annexing the oil-rich territory.

    Seven months later, Iraq was chased out by a US-led international coalition, leaving behind a devastated and pillaged Kuwait, and 750 oil wells ablaze.

    Here is a recap of the conflict and its aftermath:

    July, 1990

    On July 18, 1990, tensions spiral after Iraq accuses Kuwait of stealing petrol from the Rumaila oil field and encroaching on its territory.

    Saddam demands $2.4 billion from the emirate.

    Kuwait counters, saying Iraq is trying to drill oil wells on its territory.

    It is one of several disputes, the most complex involving their border - a bone of contention since Kuwait's independence in 1961.

    Iraq also accuses the emirate of flooding the oil market, driving down crude prices.

    Attempts by the Arab League and Saudi Arabia to mediate an end to the crisis fail and talks are suspended on August 1. The next day, Iraq invades.


    "Iraqi troops began at 2am local time to violate our northern borders, to enter Kuwait territory and to occupy positions within Kuwait," Radio Kuwait announces in its first news bulletin.

    It is followed by patriotic music and calls on Kuwaitis "to defend their land, their sand and their dunes."

    Violent clashes with heavy weaponry break out in Kuwait City between Kuwaiti units and the Iraqi army.

    Faced with 100,000 Iraqi troops and 300 tanks, the 16,000-strong Kuwaiti army is overwhelmed.

    The capital falls that morning and Kuwait's head of state Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah flees to Saudi Arabia.

    His brother Fahd is killed as Iraqi troops seize the palace.

    In Baghdad official radio announces the end of the "traitor regime" it accuses of being an accomplice in an "American Zionist plot," aimed at undermining the recovery of the Iraqi economy.

    The international community condemns the invasion and oil prices soared on world markets.

    At an emergency meeting, the UN Security Council demands the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

    Washington freezes Iraqi assets in the US and its subsidiaries abroad, along with Kuwaiti assets, to prevent them benefiting Baghdad.

    The Soviet Union, Iraq's main arms supplier, halts its deliveries.

    August, 1990

    On August 6, the UN Security Council slaps a trade, financial and military embargo on Iraq.

    Two days later, the US president George H.W. Bush announces he is sending troops to Saudi Arabia.

    Iraq closes its borders to foreigners. Thousands of western, Arab and Asian civilians are held against their will in Iraq or Kuwait, with some 500 people used for months as human shields at strategic sites.

    On August 8, Baghdad announces Kuwait's "total and irreversible" incorporation into Iraq.

    Later in the month, Iraq annexes the emirate as its 19th province.

    "Kuwait is part of Iraq," Saddam declares.

    November, 1990

    On November 29, the UN Security Council authorizes the use of "all necessary means" to force Iraq out of Kuwait if it has not withdrawn its troops voluntarily by January 15, 1991.

    Baghdad rejects the ultimatum.

    January, 1991

    On January 17, after diplomatic initiatives fail, Operation Desert Storm is launched with intensive bombardments of Iraq and Kuwait.

    February, 1991

    On February 24, Bush announces a ground offensive.

    The allied troops free the emirate in days.

    Bush announces on February 27 the liberation of Kuwait and the cessation of hostilities the next day, at 0400 GMT.

    Iraq accepts all UN resolutions.

    The crisis divides Arab states.

    Egyptian and Syrian armies take part in the coalition, but it is denounced by other Arab countries.

    March, 2003
    More than a decade later, in 2003, Kuwait serves as a bridgehead for the US-led invasion of Iraq, which leads to the overthrow of Saddam.

    How the Iraq-Kuwait crisis unfolded 30 years ago - News | Khaleej Times

  3. #3
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    At least the first George didn't go all the way. When the muslims are killing other brands of muslims they're at least to busy to be killing everyone who is not a muslim.

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    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    It's a silly thread anyway if that's the title.

    Things didn't start going askew until they invaded Iraq which led to the creation of ISIL, ISIS, and IS in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Cow View Post
    At least the first George didn't go all the way. When the muslims are killing other brands of muslims they're at least to busy to be killing everyone who is not a muslim.
    (As if Christians have never been killing other brands of Christians...)

    How the Arab world after centuries of ruling by the British crown had been divided and the portion given to friendly sheiks? The territory division between Kuwait and Iraq was not really very logical and fair when such large country has almost no access to the sea. And when Kuwait had started to steal oil by slant-drilling into the Iraq fields and not keeping the limits of oil production as agreed with OPEC, Saddam Hussein had come to decision to help himself. Moreover, in his wrong decision he was assured just a week ago by then friendly superpower:

    On 25 July 1990, April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, asked the Iraqi high command to explain the military preparations in progress, including the massing of Iraqi troops near the border.

    The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, "inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion" on the disagreement between Kuwait and Iraq, stating "we have no opinion on the Arab–Arab conflicts".

    Glaspie also indicated to Saddam Hussein that the United States did not intend "to start an economic war against Iraq". These statements may have caused Saddam to believe he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait. This exchange only became public knowledge in 2011, following a WikiLeaks release of a cable, sent by the US embassy in Iraq, following on from Ms Glaspie's meeting with Saddam Hussein. In addition, one week before the invasion, the Assistant Secretary of State, John Kelly, told the US congress that the US had no treaty obligations to defend Kuwait.
    Invasion of Kuwait - Wikipedia

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    Iraq paid massive reparations to Kuwait. Fat Kuwaitis got richer whilst people literally starved in Iraq as a consequence.

    I was at Kuwait airport when it was bombed and overrun by Iraqi troops on August 2. Three T72s bearing down on us was somewhat unsettling, having just sat out the bombing by Mirage jets in the stairwell of the terminal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Klondyke View Post
    (As if Christians have never been killing other brands of Christians...)
    Did Hugh Cow say they didn't?

    You really must wallow in whatabaoutism - a joy to behold.


    Yes, well Russian troops killed Muslims by the hundreds of thousands - and Muslims killed Russians by the . . . <insert number here> . . . so you can't say that Muslims don't kill Russians or that Russians don't kill Muslims or that spreadable cheese is healthier than seaweed cooked in pork lard

  8. #8
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    I suppose the 2003 American invasion of Iraq, similarly unsanctioned by the UN, must be a fading memory then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Things didn't start going askew until they invaded Iraq which led to the creation of ISIL, ISIS, and IS in general.
    Which is what the first article said...

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    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealKW View Post
    Which is what the first article said...
    I was referring to the ridiculous title.

    I stopped reading klondyke's shit a long time ago.

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