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In the early hours of 2nd August more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers backed up by 700 tanks invaded the Gulf state of Kuwait.

The Iraqi forces established a provisional government and President Saddam Hussein gave a speech in which he threatened to turn Kuwait city into a “graveyard” if any other country dared to challenge the “take-over by force”.

The invasion sparked strong condemnation from leaders around the world. British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, branded the invasion as “absolutely unacceptable” while American president George Bush condemned the attack as “a naked act of aggression.” 

Even the usually supine United Nations Security Council, sitting in emergency session, called for the “immediate and unconditional” withdrawal of Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Prior to this act of aggression, Iraq had alleged that Kuwait was exceeding oil production quotas set by the OPEC. Iraq had also accused Kuwait of stealing oil from the Ramallah fields, and establishing military bases and civilian establishments inside Iraqi territory.

This was total nonsense and it was clear that all Saddam wanted was to gain access to the oil fields for himself.

The UK and the US immediately froze Kuwaiti and Iraqi assets in the UK and the Soviet Union, Iraq’s main supplier of arms, suspended the delivery of all military equipment to Iraq.

On 9 August 1990 the UN Security Council voted 15-0 to declare Iraq’s annexation of Kuwait null and void.

During the next three months allied forces were deployed to the region as part of Operation Desert Shield. As the crisis intensified President Bush intensified preparations to remove Iraq from Kuwait by force.

Iraq ignored all deadlines set by the West to end its occupation and on 17th January 1991, coalition forces launched Desert Storm in what would be the longest air strike in the history of aerial warfare.

Iraq responded by launching Scud missiles against Israel and Saudi Arabia. Fierce fighting continued until 28 February when Iraq, whose military capability had by now been seriously harmed, agreed to a ceasefire.

Many people believe that the coalition forces should not have stopped short of Bagdad but should instead have gone in and removed Saddam from power. There is no doubt that this would have saved many lives – not to mention the need for a second Gulf War – but the fact was that the UN and the other Arab states who had supported Desert Storm woul not countenance what would have been seen as an American invasion of a sovereign country. They were happy to have American (and British) aid in removing Saddam’s forces from Kuwait – but that was all. Pity.

One Response to “On 2nd August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait”

  1. lowid says:

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