Why did Saddam invade Kuwait

Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait and the war that following the involvement of the US, is popularly known as the “Gulf War”. The reasons for the gulf war and why Saddam Hussein actually decided to attack Kuwait and annex it in 1990 vary according to the source, but one thing is for sure, it was related to oil. The official reason that was given by Iraq was that Kuwait was stealing oil from Iraqi soils by using “slant drills”. It is to be noted that the relations that existed between Iraq and Kuwait was very good as long as the Iraq-Iran war was on, but the diplomatic and political conditions worsened to bitterness due to a host of problems that sprung up between the two countries once the Iraq-Iran war was over.

Although the official reason given for the invasion and annexation of Kuwait was that Kuwait was an oil-thief, other reasons had been brewing between the two countries for months since the eight year long Iraq-Iran war ended. One of the most important points of conflict was that Kuwait wanted Iraq to pay them back the huge sum of roughly $14 billion dollars that Iraq had borrowed from Kuwait during the long war with Iran. This was a huge sum and Iraq was in no position to repay such a huge debt. Kuwait was unwilling to let the money go, thus tension began to build in between the two Arab nations.

The most immediate and serious reason why the condition came up to the level of Kuwait’s annexation by Iraq was the oil policy that Kuwait followed. Iraq was not only under heavy debt, its economy was also crippled due to the cost of the war that it fought against Iran and thus it tried to raise the price of oil through OPEC, which was soon proven to be impossible to do as Kuwait, also a member of the OPEC, was producing oil at an increased rate. The tremendous oil production rate of Kuwait prevented the global price of oil from increasing and Iraq suffered huge losses. Tariq Aziz was the foreign minister during the time and he estimated the loss at 14 billion US dollars per year. Naturally, tensions grew more intense and Saddam Hussein saw this act of Kuwait as a signal of “Economic Warfare”. The final nail in the coffin was when the conflict regarding Rumaila oil field started as Iraq accused Kuwait of “slant drilling” into that part of the Rumaila field, which was inside the borders of Iraq.