1979-1990 since 2003

Iraq 1990-2003

Administration . Saddam Hussein was president from 1979 to 2003. He maintained control of the country with an iron first, leaning on an administration mainly recruited from his hometown of Tikrit. The secret police was an instrument to secure the regime; Hussein's sons were built up as potential successors.

Foreign Policy . 8 years of war had resulted in Iraq's finances being eroded. In 1990 Iraq accused Kuwait of having stolen Iraqi oil (pumped oil out of an oilfield which is partially Kuwait, partially Iraq property) and demanded compensation. Negotiations failed; U.S. ambassador April Glaspie expressed that Iraq's relations with Kuwait would not concern the U.S. On August 2nd 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, on August 9th Iraq annexed Kuwait as the country's 19th province.
Iraq now controlled the oil wealth of Iraq and Kuwait. Saudi Arabia perceived to be in a similar situation Kuwait held prior to the invasion, incapable to defend herself against Iraq's superier forces, and this view was shared in Washington.
The UN demanded Iraq to evacuate Kuwait; meanwhile a U.S. force established bases in Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield). When Iraq, by January 17th 1991, did not comply with U.N. resolutions, strikes of a U.S.-led coalition force against Iraq began; by February 22th Iraq accepted a cease-fire; Kuwait was liberated.
Iraq found herself in the role of an international pariah; the object of an international boycott.
For diplomatic reasons, the coalition force stopped short of moving into Baghdad and toppling Saddam Hussein's dictatorial regime. Instead, in front of tv cameras, U.S. president George Bush called upon the Iraqis to bring about such a regime change. Shia rebels from Iraq's south tried just that; the ebellion was crushed by the remainder of Iraq's air force, without the U.S. interfering. Before Iraq could proceed to crush the Kurd rebellion in the north, No Fly Zones were established.
Iraq, while remaining under embargo, was required to destroy her weapons of mass destruction arsenals and permit international observers to monitor the process.
In 1994 Iraq recognized the independence of Kuwait and withdrew her claims to the hitherto disputed islands of Bubiyan, Warbah.
Iraq continued to support certain Palestinian factions.

The Economy . In 1990, Iraq produced 100.6 million metric tons of crude petroleum, in 1991 13.7 million, in 1994-1996 36.6 million each, in 1997-1998 55-56 million each (IHS p.364).
In 1995 the UN authorized the Oil for Food Programme, intended to permit Iraq to purchase medication and food, a programme which is much criticized for mismanagement.
Unable to freely obttain food from abroad, the country's wheat production which in previous years oscillated between 0.4 and 1.5 million metric tons per year from 1990 until 1999 stabilized around 0.9 - 1.4 million metric tons (IHS p.199).
Iraq experienced a shortage of most products, had to maintain a rationing system.
A 1991 currency reform wiped out savings; the government adopted the policy of printing money to pay for expenses, causing rampant inflation.

Social History . Jan Lahmeyer estimates the population of Iraq in 1990 as 18.0 million, in 2000 as 22.6 million; the 1997 census counted 22.0 million.
During the period between 1990 and 2003, Iraq experienced a rise in infant mortality, a decrease in life expectancy, because of a crippled health care system. Another factor affecting the population figures were the killings and massacres of political opponents of the Ba'ath regime.

Ethnic and Religious Minorities . The No Fly Zone over northern Iraq permtted the emergence of an autonomous Kurdish zone in northern Iraq, which, not subject to the international embargo, actually flourished during the period 1990-2003.
The Shia population of southern Iraq, a part of which had rebelled in 1991, suffered Saddam Hussein's revenge. Several hundred thousand were executed and buried in mass graves. Saddam Hussein ordered the waters of the Euphrates diverted, which resulted in the desertification of the marshlands; the (Shia) Marsh Arabs were systematically deprived of their livelihood.

Cultural History . Iraqi athletes participated in the Summer Olympics of Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sidney 2000.

Wars of Iraq, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Iraq (B. Taylor)
Articles History of Iraq, April Glaspie, Gulf War, Oil-for-Food Programme, Iraqi Kurdistan, Marsh Arabs, Iraq at the 1992 Summer Olympics, Iraq at the 1996 Summer Olympics, Iraq at the 2000 Summer Olympics, Saddam Hussein, The Iraq-based Baath Party, Ashurah, from Wikipedia
Provinces of Iraq, from www.statoids.com
Iraq, from Library of Congress Country Studies
History of U.S.-Iraq Relations, by Mike and Bruce
History of Oil in Iraq, from Global Policy Forum
Iraqi Nuclear Weapons, from FAS
Background on Women's Status in Iraq Prior to the Fall of the Saddam Hussein Government, from Human Rights Watch (2003)
State-Mosque Relations in Iraq, 1968-2004, by Amatzia Baram
Iraq's Legacy of Terror : Mass Graves, from USAID
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Iraq, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Iraq, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Iraq, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.21, pp.972-996 Article Iraq. KMLA Lib. Call Sign R 032 B862h v.21
Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge : UP 2000 [G]
Courtney Hunt, The History of Iraq, Westport CT : Greenwood 2005, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 956.7 H939h
Samir al-Khalil, Republic of Fear. The Inside Story of Saddam's Iraq, NY : Pantheon 1989 [G]
Nuha al-Radi, Baghdad Diaries. A Woman's Chronicle of War and Exile, NY : Vintage (1998) 2003 [G]
Article Iraq, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1990 pp.428, 639, 1991 pp.407-408, 624, 1992 pp.381-382, 623, 1993 pp.384-385, 631, 1994 pp.383-384, 632, 1995 pp.422-423, 632, 1996 pp.420-421, 632, 1997 pp.433, 630, 2002 pp.443-444, 634 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1990-1991 pp.714-718, 1991-1992 pp.712-717, 1992-1993 pp.787-792, 1993-1994 pp.784-789, 1994-1995 pp.777-782, 1995-1996 pp.773-777, 1996-1997 pp.715-719, 1997-1998 pp.722-727, 1998-1999 pp.774-780, 2000 pp.890-896, 2001 pp.867-872, 2002 pp.903-908, 2003 pp.904-910 [G]
Entry : Travel Warnings - Iraq, pp.513-517 in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2000, Supplement [G]
Entry : Republic of Iraq, Cabinet, pp.50-51; Background Notes, pp.708-712, in : Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook, 2003 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Americana Annual 1992 pp.292-294, 1993 pp.292-294, 1994 pp.289-291, 1998 pp.284-285 [G]
Entry : Iraq, pp.572-575 in : IMF, International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2001 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 16th 2007, last revised on June 17th 2008

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