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2014, iss. 37, pp. 321-350
Historical background to the Iraqi Kuwait conflict
College of Letters and Sciences, La Jolla, USA

emailshanish@nu.edu
Abstract
In order to understand the 1990-1991 Iraqi-Kuwaiti conflict, it is essential to study the roots of the conflict, when Kuwait was part of Basra Vilayet1 within the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century. Also, we should stress the role of the imperialist powers which played a role in the autonomous status of Kuwait and in the division of the Ottoman territories after World War I, and we should emphasize their role in their quest to influence and control the politics of the region. In addition, we should investigate the changes in Iraq's politics since its independence in 1932 in order to understand its policy toward Kuwait. Kuwait's relations with Britain during this period (the nineteenth and twentieth centuries) also have bearing on this discussion because Britain protected and prevented Kuwait from becoming an integral part of the Ottoman Empire, and becoming part of Iraq when it was created after World War I. Britain's power was stronger than the Ottoman power and the Ottomans could not challenge it. Also, this paper will examine Iraq's policy in 1961 when it claimed Kuwait after independence from Britain was granted. Change in Iraq's policy in 1963 and its recognition of Kuwait due to regime change will be explained. I will also examine Iraq's policy after July 17, 1968, when the Ba'ath came to power for the second time. I will also look at the emergence of the presidency of Saddam Hussein in 1979. Moreover, I will address the Iran-Iraq war and its impact on Iraq's relations with Kuwait to demonstrate that Iraq improved its relations with Kuwait during the war to serve Iraqi national interests by getting financial aid and using Kuwaiti territory for trade and war purposes. The outcome of war and Iraq's need for capital to build its economy and military turned Iraq to confront Kuwait when the balance of power was perceived by the Iraqi leadership to be in its favor. These issues will be addressed with reference to realist notions of power and national interest and the use of Arab nationalism to justify the invasion. Finally, I will be blending the review of literature into this historical overview, starting with Iraq's modern history.

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article language: English
document type: unclassified
published in SCIndeks: 01/10/2015

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