{{Information |Description={{en|1=A British Challenger 1 main battle tank moves along with other Allied armor during Operation Desert Storm.}} |Source=[http://www.dodmedia.osd.mil/DVIC_View_Internal/Still_Details.cfm?SDAN=DNST9207988&JPGPath=/Assets/Still;IGCSE History events in the gulf

Background to Saddam Hussein's rise to power

  • Iraq became a mandate of the UK in 1920, as it was previously part of the Turkey's empire
    • From 1920-1958 Iraq was ruled by a monarchy, under the Hashemite family (despite a brief coup); the last King was King Faisal
  • In 1958 Abd al-Karim Qasim staged a socialist coup d'etat with the army
  • In 1963 Abdul Salem Arif ousted Qasim in a coup. After his death his brother took control
  • In 1968 the 17 July Revolution took place and the Ba'athist Party took control.
  • In 1979 Saddam becomes President after purging the party
  • What is Ba'athism?

  • Ba'athism is a pan-Arab form of nationalism
  • The ideology means 'renaissance'
  • Created by Syrian academics: notably Michel Aflaq & Zaki al-Arsuzi
  • It calls for a united Arab country, based on Arab values
  • It is secular, but socialist in nature
  • What was the 17 July Revolution?

  • On 17 July 1968, civilian Ba'athists and soldiers seized control of key government buildings
  • They were led by Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr
  • Tanks arrived outside the Presidential palace, where President Abdul Rahman Arif was residing
  • Arif surrendered after failing to gather enough military support
  • In return, Arif was given safe passage to London with his family
  • al-Bakr was made Prime Minister, President and Chairman
  • After the Revolution, the key military figures - Naif and Daud - involved were swifly exiled and later assasinated
  • Saddam Hussein was put in charge of internal security and intelligence and was Deputy President
  • Its greatest success came with a brief political union of Syria and Egypt into the United Arab Republic fom 1958-61
  • How did Saddam Hussein come to power in 1979?

    After joining the Ba'ath Party in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was involved in the October 1959 assassination attempt on President Qasim, which went wrong (Qasim escaped as Saddam opened firing prematurely), leading to Saddam escaping in Syria before living in Egypt until 1963. Upon re-entering Iraq in 1964 he was arrested, escaping in 1967. After becoming a prominent member of the Ba'athist party, he served as Deputy and head of intelligence. After ousting al-Bakr in 1979, he purged the party, executing 68 members immediately and hundreds more in the following weeks. But how did he get in to power?

  • Through political skill - as Deputy he was able to kickstart the economy whilst maintaining unity in a very fragmented country; he reclaimed oil sites from overseas companies at a time when oil prices were soaring (esp. 1973). This allowed him to provide popular services through campaigns like 'National Erradication of Illiteracy' and free healthcare
  • By nurturing support in the countryside - subsidies were given to farmers, land was redistributed to poorer farmers and existing machinary stocks were updated. This made him very popular accross the country
  • Through his use of internal intelligence - as he was in charge of the secret police (the mukhabarat) he was free to imprison or silence any dissenting voices. A very favourable impression of him therefore appeared in the national press
  • By appointing supporters in key positions - al-Bakr was elderly and ill in his last years of power, allowing Saddam to build up a network of sympathisers and supporters in government, such as Ramadan (head of Peoples Army). As the de facto ruler of Iraq, he appointed his half-brother to government, as well as his cousin as head of the military in Kurdistan, and ensured dissenters were removed.
  • In response to revolts - notably ICP and Shi'ite uprisings
  • Because of rumours that al-Bakr was planning his succession - al-Bakr was looking to create a united Syrian-Iraq country, but Saddam's position was under threat. He therefore moved to force al-Bakr into resigning before this could happen, on 16 July 1979
  • Key events in Saddam Hussein's rule of Iraq

  • 1979 Purge
  • - 68 members of the Ba'ath party were declared as 'traitors' and executed by firing squad. Hundreds more were rounded up and arrested in the following months
  • 1979-1990: Iran-Iraq War 1979-1990
  • Halabja 1988
  • 1990: The Invasion of Kuwait
  • 1991: The Gulf War
  • 2003: Invasion of Iraq
  • Life in Iraq under Saddam Hussein

    Iraq was - and is - a very divided country. Under Saddam it had Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims, Ba'athists and Communists, rural and urban populations, Arabs and Kurds. Life under Saddam was therefore different, for different groups.

    Benefits of life under Saddam

  • Rising living standards - as oil prices boomed in the 1970s - thanks in part to OPEC witholding supplies - oil revenue for Iraq rose enormously and contributed to funding a variety of projects, from infrastructure to farming subsidies under the 'National Development Plan.' Many jobs were available - so many that people as far away as Yugoslavia came to work! Oil revenue rose from D219million Iraqi Dinars in 1972 to D8.9billion in 1980!! Economic growth in the 70-80s was about 10%
  • Free Education - a national campaign to erradicate illiteracy took place; schooling was free to all, including university
  • Drawbacks of life under Saddam

  • Heavy propaganda - schools were taught about the greatnest of Saddam (he encouaged the fatherly, first-name basis); the National Assembly was responsible for continuing this propaganda. Look at the video below; what forms of propaganda can you see?
  • Repression of any form of resistance
  • - he had complete control over the mukhabarat, which he used to deadly effect.
  • Persecution of minorities - the Kurds and the Shi'ite Muslims (who, incidently were a majority, but Saddam was a Sunni Muslim), were persecuted. 200 000 Shi'ites were sent to Iran in 1980-1
  • Who were - and are - the Kurds in Iraq?

  • The Kurds are an ethnic group in the Middle East, present in northern Iraq and Syria, western Iran and southern Turkey. This area is sometimes informally called ‘Kurdistan’
  • They are Sunnis and have their own language
  • In all areas they are found, Kurds have tried to push for independence
  • TURKEY: has the PKK - a vaguely Marxist independence movement
  • IRAQ: Kurdistan Democratic Party, which had Peshmerga (“those who face death”) armed forces
  • IRAN: Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan
  • After the Treaty of Sevres (1919), the Kurds were promised their own country; the Turks refused to allow this and overturned it
  • Iranian Kurds, with Soviet support, established Mahabad as an independent country but the Iranians crushed it.
  • How did Saddam deal with the 'Kurdish Problem'?

  • Arabization - this had started before Saddam, but he continued displacing Kurds away from their homelands; 200 000 were forcibly moved in 1979; Arabs were moved into Kurdish areas e.g. Kirkuk oilfields. New towns were built
  • Nationalization of land - Revolutionary Command Council Decree (RCCD) 795 (1975) and 358 (1978) allowed the legal transfer of all non-Arab property to Arabs or to the Iraqi state.
  • Terror - the Al-Anfal campaign, during the end of the Iran-Iraq War 1986-89, resulted in the Anflal Genocide of up to 180 000 Kurds, led by Saddam’s cousin al-Majid (“Chemical Ali). Included Halabja massacre. 4500 Kurdish villages were destroyed
  • IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddam hussein; baathism; revision notes CIE; Iraq

    Saddam Hussein, 1979 [source: public domain Wikimedia]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddem hussein; ba'athism; revision notes CIE; Iraq

    A map showing Baathist interests and involvements in the Arab world 1963-2003 [source: CCAU3.0 Roxanna]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddam hussein; baathism; revision notes CIE; Iraq

    Baghadad in the 1970s [source: public domain Wikimedia]

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddam hussein; revision notes CIE; baathism; Iraq

    Kurds, fleeing to Turkey in 1991 [source: public domain Phan April Hatton]

    How important was terror in Saddam Hussein's Iraq?

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; saddam hussein; baathism; revision notes CIE; Iraq

    Terror organisations in Iraq[source: public domain, C.Duelfer, 2008]

  • Organised Dujail Massacre - after a failed coup against Saddam in 1982 the Mukhabarat rounded up and executed over 140 in Dujail, where the assasinators were from. Hundreds were detained.
  • Attempted assassination of George Bush Snr in 1993 the Mukhabarat orchastrated a foiled plot which led to Bush's successor President Clinton, firing ship missiles at their complex.
  • How did Saddam maintain power?

  • Terror - Eliminated internal political opposition - the Department of General Intelligence (Mukhabarat), run by Saddam’s half-brother - Balanced out the threat of the Army - the Peoples Army meant the Army could not act without causing a civil war - Ensured the country did not fragment - the Kurds wanted indpendence - show trials of ‘traitors’ purged opponants and acted as propaganda
  • Propaganda - created a cult of personality which the Ba’ath Party helped promote through literature and academic works - National Assembly; made it seem like the people had a say in the running of the country
  • How did Saddam deal with the Shiites??

  • Repression - in the 1970s the Shiite political party Al-Dawa was repressed; its newspaper shut down, and any Shiites who had been to a Shiite faith school had to undergo military service - Al-Dawa members were then targetted, imprisoned and even executed - after Iran became an Islamic Republic (1979), Saddam dismissed Shiite Ba’ath Party members - in 1980 membership of Al-Dawa = death
    - - in 1991 the holy Shiite city of Karbala was razed to the ground and thousands killed after an uprising
  • Executions- when a Shiite Uprising began in 1979, Saddam responded by taking on titles of President, Ba’ath Party Leader, and Revolutionary Chairman. Executed 60. - Executing clerics (95 in 1984) - al-Sadr (leading Shiite cleric in Iraq) was executed in 1980 after an assasination attempt
  • Propaganda; when the war with Iran began, Saddam emphasised the Arabness of Iraqis compared to Iranian Persianness; he also deported hundreds of thousands 'Iranian sympathisers'
  • IGCSE History; CIE revision notes; Events in the Gulf; Saddam Hussein

    Case Study: Iran


    In 1921, after decades of unrest and invasions from Turkey and Russia, a British backed Iranian Cossack Brigade staged a coup in Iran, installing Mohammed Reza Khan as the Prime Minister, and later as king ("Shah"). When the British and Soviets invaded Iran in 1941, he abdicated and his son Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi assumed the title.

    Who was Mohammed Reza Shah?

  • Born in Tehran, as eldest of 11 children to Moahmmed Reza Kahn
  • He lived in fear of his father, who was quite brutal and violent at times
  • He believed God spoke to him personally, and that he had a divine mission for Iran
  • Studied in Switzerland as a boarder before training in the army in Iran
  • He married into the Egyptian royal family (she was unhappy, he was unfaithful)
  • He had many complexes, including not being tall enough, not being manly enough and seeing women as merely sexual objects
  • He took the Peacock Throne from his father after the Russians and British invaded in 1941, as they wished to get supplies through to each other through the 'Persian Corridor'
  • Watch the above video; an interview with Mohammed Reza Shah.
    1. What kind of person does he come across as?
    2. Why do you think Iranians may have been angered by him in 1978?

    Watch the above video; the Shah's Coronoation as 'King of Kings'.
    1. What kind of person does he come across as?
    2. What differences were there between the Shah's Coronation and the British State opening of Parliament?
    3. What warning signs are there for the Shah in 1968? What might the Iranian people dislike?

    IGCSE history; revision notes; Iran; Events in the Gulf

    Map showing modern day Iran's regions: [source: CCASA4.0Peter Fitzgerald]

    IGCSE revision notes; history; IGCSE; Events in the Gulf; Shah;{{Information |Description={{en|1=Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, anniversary of the 37. mashruteh revolution, 1942}} |Source=	Catherine Legrand, Jacques Legrand: Shah-i Iran. Creative Publishing International (farsi edition), Minnetonka, MN 1999, S. 43. IR

    Mohammed Reza Shah [source: public domainwikimedia]

    Life under the Shah

    Key events in Mohammed Reza Shah's reign

  • Ascended to the Peacock Throne in Sept 1941
  • Stalin sets up two puppet states in northern Iran: Peoples Republic of Azerbaijan and Republic of Mahabad
  • Stalin finally takes troops out of Iran in 1946 in return for generous oil rights
  • Iran Crisis of 1946 - the pro-Soviet puppet governments, armed by the USSR, declare independance and begin clashes with Iranian troops. Mahabad had the newly created Peshmerga and were a Kurdish state. Diplomatic pressure from the US and negotiation by Iran sees the Soviets leave, after 2000 casualties. The peshmarga were pushed out into Iraq and many leaders escaped to the USSR.
  • 1949: Assassination Attempt on Shah - at a university ceremony in Tehran, he was shot at by a terrorist, and received injuries to the face. This led to the Shah taking a more active involvement in politics, and created a new Iranian Senate
  • 1951: Nationalisation of Oil Industry - Prime Minister Mosaddegh came to power. He was unhappy with the Shah's involvement in politics. His National Front Party took control of Iran's oil companies. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company was key to British interests in the region, and provided Britain with cheap oil.
  • 1953: Iranian Coup - following Mosaddegh's interference with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, plans were drawn up by Britain and America to remove him from power (interestingly, this was orchastrated by Alan Dulles, who was also behind the overthrow of the Guatamalan government, and the Bay of Pigs fiasco!).
    • Abadan Crisis — British engineers were told not to work with Iranians following nationalisation, leading to falling revenue especially in main oil fields like Abadan. The British also blocked exports to Iran. Food prices rocketed, and Mosaddegh began to lose his popular support
    • Alternative support — Mosaddegh needed friends - he was previously reliant on hardline Islamic groups who were abandoning him - and so allied with the Iranian Communist Party amongst others, who took to the streets to violently defend the Prime Minister. The UK saw this as Soviet intervention and feared it would fall to the USSR
    • Political chaos — Mossadegh, desperate to retain control, rigged a referendum and dissolved Parliament, giving himself total power.
    • Operation Ajax — the UK and USA jointly agreed to launch a coup; they felt the time was right as there was political and economic instability in Iran, and feared the USSR's influence. The Shah agreed to it (he had little option!). Mosaddegh, however, learnt of the plot and it became public, causing outrage in the streets. The Shah fled to Baghdad as the Communist Tudeh Party supported the Prime Minister. Mistakenly, Mosaddegh - thinking all was well - called off his supporters. Instead, the West's rival Prime Minister (Zahedi) hatched a plot, where a fake Communist takeover was staged. Horrified as businesses were looted, Iranians turned out against Moseddegh; a shell was fired at his home, and he turned himself in to the army. The Shah returned (he had gone on to Italy).
  • White Revolution Reforms - these were a series of reforms aimed at liberalizing society; women were allowed to vote. Other reforms included: redistribution of land, the acceptance of non-Muslims in government and a drive to full literacy in schools. This led to widespread rioting as Imams from the religious ulema (religious scholars). The Ayatollah (high ranking scholar) Khomeni was one of these
  • Regional Cooperation for Development - closer economic ties with Turkey and Afghanistan
  • 1965: Marble Palace Assassination Attempt - an assassin attempted to get access to the Shah's quarters; he was shot dead.
  • 1967: Coronation from Shah to "Shāhanshāh" ("King of Kings")
  • 1975: Abolition of Parties - all parties were merged into one, called the Rastakhiz
  • Who was the Ayatollah Khomeini?

  • Full name: Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini
  • He was a Shia scholar and cleric (a 'Mujahid'), who became active in Iranian politics and had studied at the holy city of Qom and wrote many books on religion and even poetry
  • Although the Shah was a Muslim, his rule was very secular, and he often drew criticism from more radical Islamic voices like Khomeini
  • He became the voice of opposition to the White Revolution Reforms and compared the Shah to a Sunni tyrant. This led to his arrest, and rioting in the streets, though he was released.
  • He spent 14 years in exile from 1964, mainly in Iraq. He became fiercly critical of the Shah and monarchy in general in the 1970s, and became the figurehead for Islamic opposition, and opposition in general, despite being based in Paris!
  • He returned to great enthusiasm in Iran once the Shah had left in 1979, becoming its Supreme Leader.
  • Why was there a Revolution in Iran in 1979?

    Short Term Reasons

  • The Khomeini article- annoyed that Islamic clericswere playing tapes of Ayatollah Khomeini's sermons, the Shah ordered a damning article to be written about him. It stated he was a corrupt, homosexual, trecherous Indian. This angered his supporters and led to protests in Qom (the holy city of Iran)
  • The Shah's cancer - after being diagnosed with cancer in 1978, the Shah left the capital to receive treatment by the Caspian Sea. The drugs given to him made him volatile and depressed, and he often sank into long periods of doing nothing. As the Iranian government was centred around him (there was now, only one government and Zahedi had long since been removed), this meant nothing got done. As rumours spread, nothing was done to stop them - except for a terribly photoshopped image of the Shah walking! This allowed opposition to grow.
  • Black Friday - On 8th Sept 1978, Iranian troops opened fire on the thousands of protesters that had gathered in Tehran's Jaleh Square.
    • This led to even more protests and outrage, causing the Shah to pass reforms that allowed previously exiled Iranians back into Iraq... including the Ayatollah Khomeini. Strikes then took place around the whole country at protest of Black Friday and the Shah, including from the oil industry. The Prime Minister Bakhtiar then asked the Shah to leave, which he did. Ayatollah Khomeini was invited to set up a religious independant city in Qom, in support for Bakhtiar - he rejected this and his supporters took to the streets. Bakhtiar stood down. Khomeini was now in charge

    Long Term Reasons

  • The Shah's lifestyle- Persepolis celebration 1971 (included 200 French chefs and 300 foreign dignatories!) cars, planes, Hollywood, womanising, Niavaran Complex. This contrasted starkly with the growing popularity of Ayatollah Khomeini, who was seen as pious, unjustly treated (his son was rumoured to have been killed by the secret police the SAVAK) and who portrayed the Shah as the hated Sunni ruler from the past: Yazid
  • Anti-Westernisation - the Shah spoke French, not Persian, to his children; he spent vast amount of times in the West, gave $1bn in loans to the USA and the UK and aligned himself along European lines. He often talked about being part of the 'European world'. This did not sit well with most Iranians, who remembered invasions from both the USSR and UK during WW2, and the UK and USA in 1953. They also saw the West as immoral and a drain on their resources (such as with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company).
  • Inequalities and economic problems - Iran imported heavily from the West, causing farmers to go out of business, whilst the Shah's attempts to modernise industry often meant that many labourers were put out of jobs
  • Growth of Islam - the Shah underestimated the importance of Islam to his people; he angered them by changing the calendar from the Muslim one to one that began with the pre-Islamic Cyrus the Great; his lifestlye contrasteed with Islam and he was repeatedly denounced by the country's ulema.
  • Reaction against oppression - the SAVAK were hated
  • Lack of support from the West - Jimmy Carter had become President in the USA and encouraged a thaw in the Cold War accross the world; the Shah was encouraged to free political prisoners, which he did, but this made opposition groups stronger, such as the Writers Group.
  • IGCSE history, events in the gulf, Iran, Iranian Crisis, 1953

    Participants in 'Operation Ajax': [source:wikimedia]

    Why did the USA get involved in the 1953 coup?

  • To weaken imperialist Britain - the US could improve their relations with Iran at the expense of old colonial powers, by installing US-friendly politicians. This would give them more influence in the region.
  • To gain access to cheap oil - although there was an abundance of global out at the time, the US had strategic interests in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; this would be another potential revenue stream. They also did not want these countries nationalizing their industries too
  • As part of their Containment strategy - the puppet states of Azerbaijana nd Mahabad showed that the USSR was active in the region, as was the fact that Mosaddegh had support from the Tudeh Party and the Iranian Communist Party in government. The Korean War was ongoing, the 'Iron Curtain' had fallen in Europe, and this was part of Truman's Containment strategy.
  • Because of the 'Reds under the Beds' scare - there was public support for intervention owing to a fear of Communists infiltrating all arenas in the USA - this was seen through McCarthysim.
  • What were the consequences of the 1953 coup?

  • The Shah was weakened; the new Prime Minister strengthened
  • The Shah concerned himself with limiting Zahedi's power
  • Split opposition
  • Reforms and a more socialist approach - the Shah realised that Mosaddegh's popularity came from his messages. He therefore set about reforming land ownership and living standards. Seen through the 1963 White Revolution Reforms
  • Repression
  • - other faiths were persecuted, such a the Baha'i, in order to unify the country

    IGCSE history; revision notes; events in the gulf; Iran; Ayatollah Khomeini; Iranian Revolution

    Ayatollah Khomeini mural. Tehran, Iran. [source:babeltravel]

    How far did life improve for Iranians under the Shah?

    Watch the above documentary. Make a list of all the benefits and drawbacks of the Shah's reign. Do you think the benefits outweigh the drawbacks?

    IGCSE History; CIE revision notes; Events in the Gulf;

    The Road to War in the Middle East

    Causes of Iran-Iraq War

    On September 22 1980, Saddam Hussein's Iraq invaded the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran without warning. For the next eight years, the countries would be at war until August 1988. But what caused this war?

    Long Term Causes

  • Arab-Persian hostilities - Iran and Iraq had a long history of tension and bitter dispute. Saddam wanted to crush Iranian Shiite influence - the Iranian Revolution had encouraged Shiite rebellion in Iraq, and was a threat to Saddam’s power. There had been Shiite assasinations in Iraq
  • Tensions over oil
  • A build up of arms
  • Short Term Causes

  • Saddam's actions - Saddam Hussein spoke of becoming the regional Middle Eastern powerhouse, and a decisive victory against Iran would allow him to do this; he would gain access to huge oil reserves and weaken a formidable power. The Middle East would then turn to Iraq, not Egypt as its leader.
  • Ayatollah Khomeini's actions - Khomeini had rejected requests for an alliance from Saddam, and openly called for a Shia Revolution in Iraq. Given that the Ba'ath part was secular, this was fuelling religious tension, especially as Iraq had Shia, Sunni and Kurdish factions to deal with.
  • Iran's Revolution of 1978 - Iran seemed vulnerable and rich in oilfields - the Ayatollah’s Revolution had isolated it politically; it had no superpower backing (and had angered the US by taking over its embassy), and was in turmoil as Khomeni purged the army officers. Khuzestan was a largely Arab region in Iran, that had a lot of oil, plus Iran had greater access to the Persian Gulf which was vital for trade; now was the time to act.
  • The Algiers Agreement - Saddam wanted to overturn to Algiers Agreement - this was a border agreement in 1975 which he felt gave Iran too much influence in valuable areas such as the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway
  • The Events: Iran-Iraq War

    Consequences of Iran-Iraq War

    For Iran

  • Officially it was seen as a great victory for Iran but people were tired of war
  • Khomeni had cemented the Revolution as the leaders of Iran - it had paid in blood
  • Foreign reserves were almost totally depleted, oil revenues were down to only $5bn from $14bn
  • Khomeni’s Revolution lost its energy but he was revered when he died in 1989
  • Iran turned inwards, realising it had few international allies
  • Khomeni had purged Iran of all opposition after a failed coup attempt during the war
  • For Iraq

  • Saddam had failed in his original aims; they had promised victory but delivered avoiding defeat, Iran remained a dominant Shiite power
  • Iraq was devastated economically - they owed $21bn to the West and $67bn to other Arab countries. This led to the decision to later invade Kuwait
  • Saddam’s international reputation was low after using chemical weapons against both Kurds and Iranians. Showed he was untrustworthy.
  • Several domestic uprisings occured, and military officers blamed Saddam for not winning
  • Why did the Iraq war last so long?

    IGCSE history; events in the gulf; iran-iraq war; 	{{Information |Description={{en|1=English: Montage of Iran-Iraq War}} |Source=''Self-made, uses the following images (all public domain)<br/> Image:Chemical weapon1.jpg<br/> Image:Operation Nimble Archer DN-SC-88-01042.jpg<br/> [[:Image:Iranian

    A montage of the Iran-Iraq war [source: gIre_3piCH2005]

    IGCSE history; revision notes; events in the gulf; consequences of iran-iraq war; iran-iraq war

    Iranian Northrop F5 Fighter Jets during the Iran-Iraq war [source: CCASA 4.0 Unknown]

    How did other nations get involved?


    The US provided Iraq with:

  • — satellite systems for tracking troop movements and $200m worth of helicopters
  • — protection for Iraqi and Kuwati ships in the Tanker Wars
  • — France, Germany, Egypt and China all provided weaponary to Itaq
  • — Fr. gave hi-tech equipment - largest western backer
  • — Chin a provided aircraft
  • — UK, Ger, Singapore all sold chemical warfare defense equipment
  • The USSR provided equipment and advisors
  • Jordan provided a trade route to the Mediteranean
  • Italy provided $5bn to Iraq
  • The UK and Ger provided missile systems to Iraq
  • Other Gulf states backed Iraq financially loaning billions (Saudi loaned $30bn!)
  • IGCSE history; revision notes; events in the gulf; CIE history

    Causes of the Gulf War

    The cause of the Gulf War came with Saddam's decision to invade Iraq. He did this for many reasons:

  • To seize oilfields - Iraqi finances were a mess after the Iran-Iraq war, and they owed billions to Kuwait, Saudi and UAE. Kuwait refused Iraqi demands to forgive the debt. This was an easy way to repay! Also Kuwait produced a lot of oil, and so lowered international prices
  • To distract from internal problemsOfficially, it was because Kuwait was ‘slant drilling’ (drilling from Kuwait, at an angle, into Iraqi oilfields) in the rich Rumaila oilfields.
  • Iraq also claimed Kuwait was merely a made-up country, and was formerly part of Iraq anyway...!
  • This was all a huge problem for the West because...

  • Saddam had shown himself to be untrustworthy; he had already used chemical weapons on his own people and now invaded a former ally. Why would they back him?!
  • The US had regional interests owing to the Cold War. They could not afford to lose strategic allies like Kuwait and its neighbour Saudi Arabia
  • Saddam’s actions were repulsive; he used excessive force and repression against the Kuwatis (see below)
  • This was not a Sunni-Shiite division - this could not be explained away as internal factions and historic interests; this was one nation attacking another.
  • The West could not allow Iraq to own a large % of the worlds oil supplies; they would then be at his mercy
  • Course of the Gulf War

  • 1) Operation Desert Shield readies - to combat Saddam’s 300 000 troops in Kuwait, the allied forces brought together around 700 000 troops! The US landed fighter jets in Saudi and provided over 500 000 troops and highly specialised equipment including fighter jets and gunned helicopters The UK provided troops, RAF, Royal Navy France provided almost 20 000 troops NATO troops gathered in Saudi Egypt sent 20 000 troops Saudi readied 60 000 troops the USSR sent troops Japan sent military equipment Argentina sent naval destroyer, 650 men
  • 2) Operation Desert Storm begins in Jan 1991- huge ariel bombardment - US fighter jets bombarded Iraq’s infrastructure and communications with the aim of neutralizing Iraqi airforce - this was done immediately. Missiles were laser guided!
  • 3) Operation Desert Sabre begins in Feb 1991 - troops from Saudi pour into Kuwait and even pushed into southern Iraq, encercling the Iraqis and defeating them by late Feb. Only 300 hundred coalition lives were lost.
  • 4) Saddam lashes out - on the retreat, Saddam set fire to Kuwait’s oil reserves in a scorched earth policy, and with the US calling on local resistance (Kurds and Shia) to overthrow Saddam, he responded by turning his guns on his own people, killing thousand and draining Shiite marshlands. The coalition stopped short of Baghdad, then retreated
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    Consequences of the Gulf War

  • Large Casualities - 10 000 Iraqi troops were killed but only 300 coalition forces Uprisings - Saddam Hussein remained in power; the US decided against pushing on and deposing him, despite calling for the Kurds to rise up. A series of uprisings did occur in 1991 but they lacked firepower to topple Saddam.
  • Economic Hardship - UN economic sanctions (Resolution 661) remained in place until 2003
  • Kurdish Repression - The Kurds felt betrayed by the Americans, who had not backed them, and which resulted in Saddam clamping down further on them resulting in over 1m Kurds fleeing. Ultimately, they established the Kurdish Autonomous Republic in northern Iraq, an unofficial country but up to 20 000 had died trying to listen to America’s advice and topple Saddam.
  • Shiite Repression - Saddam became even more repressive as he feared being toppled. He drained the Qurna Marshlands of 90% of its water in 1991, to flush out the Marsh Arabs, who were Shiite. Tension with the West - Tension remained over the no-fly zone, with Iraqi troops even opening fire on US planes; Tension remained over the WMD disarmament terms; Saddam was very hostile to weapons inspectors, which he continued to be in both 1998 and 2002
  • A Second Gulf War - The USA ultimately invaded invaded Iraq again (this time under George Bush Jnr) in 2003, officially because he refused to destroy his WMD. This was the Second Gulf War, which led to Saddam’s arresst and, ultimately, his death.
  • Click on the video for a brief overview of the Gulf War

    Click on the video to see the events of the Gulf War

    IGCSE History; CIE revision notes; Events in the Gulf;

    Revision Guides