Saddam Hussein


War was inevitable in the Gulf and it was a war in which
Iraq was inevitability to lose. There were several reasons
why this was and became a reality. How, when, where did
this process of self destruction begin? It was quite
evident that Saddam Hussein. the president of Iraq, was
becoming a military giant in the Middle East and therefore
a threat to the stability of the entire region. His war
with Iran was proof of this. The U.S. and other
industrialized Western nations could not risk the loss of
oil from the area. Kuwait is the second largest source of
petroleum in the Middle East and so Iraqi invasion of
Kuwait sent the world oil market into a frenzy. Iraqi
forces then gathered their forces on the border with Saudi
Arabia, the second largest supplier of oil in the world.
This in turn brought the military might of the United States into the conflict.
There are several reasons why Saddam Hussein invaded
Kuwait. "After the 8 year war with Iran over territorial
disputes and religious rivalries between the Iranian
Shiites and Iraqi Sunni factions, Iraq had a massive debt
to many Arab nations including Kuwait."2 The rulers of
these nations wanted some of their money back but Iraq
thought they were ingrates and were ungrateful for
defending the Arab emirs from the Iranian Islamic
fundamentalism. The Arab emirs were afraid that the Islamic
fundamentalists would rise against the government and
eventually take over the government as they had Iran
against the Shah. Kuwait was also afraid of this and so
they supported the Iraqi Arabs against the Iranian Persians.
2"Iraq",World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 10, p.
The funds that Gulf countries lent to Iraq were used to buy
high tech weapons, high tech weapons that made Iraq one of
the largest armies in the world and a force to contend
with. "Ironically much of the money and weapons came from
the countries that united to fight against him."1 The Gulf
countries bankrolled him while the Western nations, who had
many defense contractors going out of business because of
the end of the Cold War, supplied him with the weapons to
fight Iran and later Kuwait and the Coalition. With a large
army like his, it would be very easy to defeat the far
smaller Kuwaiti army compared to his.
1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
Oil had made Kuwait one of the richest and most progressive
countries in the world. This desert land is one of the
world's leading producers having over one-tenth of the
world's known petroleum reserves. "All of this in 20150
square kilometres, a little smaller than the state of New
Jersey."3 Kuwait is one of the world's wealthiest nations
in terms of national income per person. It has free primary
and secondary education, free health and social services
and no income tax. There was much to protect. All of this
was attractive and irritating to Saddam who would and did
use a fraction of his army to attack and invade Kuwait in
which it only took the Iraqi army 6 hours to reach the
capital city. They had after their invasion about 19% of
the world's known oil reserves.
3"Kuwait",World Book (New York, World Book, 1990), Vol 11,
Historically Iraq had claimed that it had a right to
Kuwait. "They were jealous that Kuwait was in control of
the two islands needed for a deep water shipping port:the
Bubiyan and Warbah islands."4 These islands along with some
parts of Kuwait were a part of Mesopotamia which the
Ottoman Turks conquered. "The Ottoman Empire was defeated
during World War I and the British made their "own lines in
the sand", dividing up the land according to their own
strategic needs and in the process recklessly dividing up
ancient communities and boundaries that had been recognized
for decades."1 Most of Mesopotamia became Iraq and some
other parts to Kuwait. In 1961, Kuwait became independent
and the Iraqis threatened to invade except that British
troops kept the peace. This was to be the first of many
border skirmishes which include Iraqi missiles fired at
Kuwaiti oil installations and the reflagging of Kuwaiti oil
tankers during the Iran-Iraq War in which U.S. ships
patrolled the Persian Gulf and Kuwaiti tankers were
reflagged with U.S. flags.
1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
4AP Press Toronto Star (January 20, 1991) A18
The Iraqi government had also accused the Kuwaitis of
stealing 2.5 billion barrels of oil from its Rumaila oil
fields by sliding drills into Iraqi oil pipelines. They had
also accused Kuwait of exceeding OPEC oil production which
had dropped the price of oil from $20 a barrel to $13 a
barrel in the first six months of 1990. This meant 1
billion dollars less for Iraq everytime that price of an
oil barrel went down by a dollar. Saddam said he would stop
them from continuing aggressive action:"The oil quota
violators have stabbed Iraq with poison dagger. Iraqis will
not forget the saying that cutting necks is better than
cutting means of living. O'God almighty, be witness that we
have warned them".1 His foreign minister Tariq Aziz later
said in a letter to the Arab league that Kuwait is
"systematically, deliberately and continuously" harming
Iraq by encroaching on its territory, stealing oil, and
destroying its economy.1 "Such behaviour amounts to
military aggression".1 These were just signs of the Desert
Storm to come.
1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
Personally, Saddam Hussein had reasons to want to go to war
against the Western nations. He grew up as young boy hating
the British for imprisoning the uncle that had cared for
him. Later, he joined the Baath Party which was based on a
platform of Arab unity and as a member was sent to try to
assassinate General Abdul Karim Qasim who they believed to
be very friendly with the Western nations. By going to war,
he hoped to foster Arab unity against the Western nations,
like an Islamic holy war against the "infidels". He also
believed that it was his destiny to fulfil the prophecy of
ruling an Arab nation streching from Euphrates to the Suez.
The Western and Gulf nations united together to form a
coalition to fight against Iraq that followed the United
Nations resolution that Iraq must pull out of Iraq on
January 15, 1991. They had several reasons for wanting Iraq
out of Kuwait. "The 2 main reasons are the vast amounts oil
in the region which account for 53% of the world's known
petroleum reserves and the stability of the nations that
have the oil."4 The 2 biggest in the region are Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait. The Saudis were afraid that Iraq would
invade Saudi Arabia just like Kuwait.
4AP Press Toronto Star (February 20, 1991) A16
"The United States depends on Middle East petroleum for
about 25% of its energy needs and other Western nations
even more on Middle East."4 Many of these nations have very
few oil resources and if they did it would cost too much to
develop them like the estimated 300 billion barrels of oil
in the Alberta and Saskatchewan tar sands. "Other nations
like Japan have very few alternative sources for petroleum
so they depend greatly on the oil from the Middle East."1
Other sources of power are generally too expensive to be
practical or still under development. So any disruption of
oil from this region would seriously negatively affect the
economies of the Western nations, just as they were
slipping into a recession which would not be very good for
the leaders of these countries at the ballot box.
1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
4AP Press Toronto Star (January 16, 1991) A15
However going to war or even the real possibility of it
would give a big short term boost to the economies of these
nations by increasing the price for a barrel of oil which
would allow oil companies to make bigger profits and there
would be more exploration in North America to discover new
sources of oil. This would help boost the stock markets by
increasing positive activity in the trading of shares. Also
by going to war, it would create jobs in many sectors of
the economy from the defense contractors to the service
industries down the line.
The main reason that Coalition was formed was to protect
the "vital interests" in the often unstable Middle East.
"The Middle East had been the source of many of the world's
wars after World War II, sometimes almost to point of going
nuclear."4 The Arab partners in the Coalition joined the
union to prevent what had happened to Kuwait to occur to
them. The United States and the other Western partners
wanted to ensure a steady supply of cheap oil and the
invasion of Kuwait had risen the price of oil along with
creating instability in the Middle East. The best way to
restore order to the region and create some stability was
to force Iraq out of Kuwait and severely weaken his
government and military which the Allies were successful in
4AP Press Toronto Star (February 14, 1991) A13
Another reason that has been suggested is that Iraq was
permitted to invade Kuwait just to give the U.S. an excuse
to attack the Iraqis so that they would no longer be a
threat to other countries in the region. This would also
make the Arab nations dependent on the Americans for their
defense so that they would not try to attempt hostile
actions in terms of increasing the cost of the oil to them
or limiting the production of petroleum as had been
demonstrated by the OPEC nations in the 1970s.
George Herbert Walker Bush also had personal reasons as to
why he wanted Iraq to leave Kuwait. As the youngest fighter
pilot in the Navy during World War II, he flew in many
missions before being shot down. "These missions helped to
shape his beliefs that the U.S. should be like a global
policeman and Saddam Hussein must be stopped just as Hitler
should have been stopped from breaking the conditions of
the treaties the Germans signed ending World War I."1
Another reason he felt he had to take military action was
that there were American hostages held by the Iraqis after
the invasion of Kuwait for a couple of months.
1CNN The Gulf War (Video) (Atlanta, CNN News, 75 min., 1991)
Iraq would lose in the war with the Coalition because
"their forces were not as well trained as the Coalition
forces, their weapons were technologically inferior, they
had no air support and the Coalition forces were
well-prepared for moves against them."4 The Iraqi army is
mainly composed of draftees, who are not well- trained or
equipped. Only the few Republican Guard units that were the
elite of the Iraqi army would be any match for the
Coalition because the Coalition forces were composed of
mainly professional, well-trained volunteers. Also the
Iraqi weapons were inferior compared to the Americans. The
Iraqis had weapons mainly from the late 1970s to the early
1980s while the Allies had the most- advanced weaponry
available including the AWACS system, the Stealth bomber
and the Patriot missile. With this, they quickly achieved
air and naval superiority over Iraq and Kuwait. The Iraqis
had few planes that were of any threat to the Coalition and
most of these never faced combat for unknown reasons. This
made the Allies job much easier. The Coalition forces were
also well-prepared as to the enemies battle tactics as they
were Soviet ones which the Americans had studied for the
possibility of an invasion of Europe.
4AP Press Toronto Star (January 18, 1991) A14
A Gulf War involving Iraq was unavoidable and in this war
Iraq was defeated. The Iraqis were becoming a major
military power in the Middle East and therefore a danger to
the stability of the whole region. The United States and
other industrialized Western nations could not afford the
loss of oil from the region and therefore they were very
willing to ensure that they continued to receive the oil.
The U.N. and U.S. both wanted Iraq to leave but realized
that Iraq did not wish to leave and had no intention of
doing so unless they were forced out. Neither side wished
to back down diplomatically or militarily and with no other
useful options available, war was the only option left to
the U.S. and her allies. In this war, Iraq would lose
because it has inferior weapons, a poorly trained army and
the Americans were well prepared for the Iraqi tactics.
Bibliography CNN The Gulf War (Video), Atlanta, CNN News,
75 min., 1991 "Iraq",World Book New York, World Book, 1990,
Vol 10, pp. 260-261 "Kuwait",World Book New York, World
Book, 1990, Vol 11, pp. 354-355 Toronto Star:All A and
special sections from January 14, 1991 to March 8, 1991.
(Many seection were used) 

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