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Persian Gulf Crisis
Persian Gulf Crisis, 1990-1991: How Saddam Hussein's Greed and Totalitarian
Quest for Power Led to the Invasion of Kuwait, World Conflicts and the
Degredation of Iraq
Joseph Stalin. Fidel Castro. Adolf Hitler. Saddam Hussein. These names
are all those of leaders who have used a totalitarian approach to leading a
nation. Stalin and Hitler ruled in the early to mid-nineteen hundreds. Like
Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein is now. Saddam Hussein belongs to the Baath Party
of Iraq. This party adopts many techniques similar to those used by Stalin and
Hitler. Saddam Hussein conceived a plan to invade Kuwait. It was, perhaps, one
of the worst mistakes he could have made for his own reputation and for his
country. The invasion of Kuwait as well as the world's response to it, the
environmental disaster it caused, and the degradation of Iraq were completely
the fault one man and his government: Saddam Hussein and his Baath Government.
One of Hussein's weaknesses is negotiating. Negotiating in his terms is
to fight it out with as much carnage as possible until his side comes out
"victoriously". Repeatedly, Saddam and his government break international
convention laws. During his war fought with Iran, the Iraqi army used chemical
weapons on the Iranian troops and even on their own Iraqi population. This was
seemingly overlooked by the rest of the world because most nations didn't want
to see the Ayatollah's Islamic revolution rise. Iraq often obtained foreign arms
support from other nations because of this. It wasn't until the invasion of
Kuwait that the rest of the world seemed to realize the danger that Iraq posed
to its own people and to the Arab states surrounding it. Through poor planning,
Saddam Hussein made three major mistakes that enabled an easy defeat of the
The first mistake was that he captured all of Kuwait at the same time,
instead of leaving it as a border dispute. This might have kept it from becoming
an international affair. The second error was that Hussein positioned his
troops too close to the Saudi Arabian border. Because of this, other nations
feared that Saddam's aggression was endless. The third mistake was that Hussein
miscalculated the world's response. He overestimated the Arab "brotherhood" and
by doing so, didn't realize that the rest of the world would try to stop him. He
also overestimated his own country's military power, and believed that he could
annihilate military superpowers like the United States, Britain and France.
Saddam Hussein's ultimate dream was to possess a nuclear bomb. Most of
the world believed that Iraq didn't have the resources and materials to
manufacture one. Despite a failed attempt at building two reactors in the late
seventies, Saddam was determined to hold nuclear capability. He tried again in
1989 to purchase three high-temperature furnaces from a New Jersey company,
claiming that they were to be used for prosthetic limbs for Iran-Iraq war vets.
The deal was called off after the company, Consarc, was warned by the Pentagon.
Despite this, Iraq was still rich with weapons. Between 1975 and 1990,
this Arab nation had spent $65 billion in arms [Macleans, June 3, 1991]. In the
five years before the Kuwait invasion, Iraq was one of the world's largest
purchaser of arms. In those five years, Saddam had bought ten percent of all
weapons sold around the world. By 1990, Hussein's Iraqi army had 5,500 tanks
(mainly Russian), 8000 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), thousands of various
missiles (ground-to-air), 70 MiG 23s, 25 MiG 29s and 15 Su 24s [Outlaw State,
Saddam's quest for power by now was almost complete, except for nuclear
capabilities and a naval power. Most of this support of foreign arms came during
the Iran-Iraq war, against the Ayatollah's Islamic revolution. $500 million of
the $65 billion was spent on high-tech equipment purchased from the United
States. It is ironic that some of the missile sites that were set up by the
United States would later become bombing targets during the Gulf War, in 1991.
There were two primary reasons that Saddam Hussein wanted to invade
Kuwait. The first reason was so that Iraq would have a navy and eventually be
classified as a naval superpower because Kuwait situated on the Persian Gulf.
His quest for power would nearly be fulfilled by doing this. Hussein thought
that Iraq would be unstoppable with a navy. The other reason was that the oil
fields could greatly improve the Iraqi economy that had suffered during the
It is at this point that his greed comes into picture. Since most
industry had to be stopped during this war, Saddam had a reason to develop a new
military industry. The citizens were glad to support this because of a strong
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