1980-1990 since 1991

Kuwait, 1990-1991

Prehistory of the Iraqi Occupation . The Iraq-Iran War 1980-1988 has eroded Iraq's finances. Iraq suggested to her fellow OPEC members to reduce oiol production in order to raise prices and revenues. This incentive was not taken up; Iraq then accused Kuwait of having stolen Iraqi oil (from Rumailah oil field, shared by both nations) and demanded the payment of several billion U.S. Dollars in damages. Negotiations were held in Jeddah, Saidi Arabia. Kuwait, rejected the demands and refused to cede disputed territory (Babuyan). On August 2nd 1990, Iraqi forces invaded.

Administration . On August 2nd 1990, Iraq installed a Provisional Government of Free Kuwait. On August 8th 1990, Iraq annexed Kuwait, turning it into the 19th province of Iraq. Martial law was imposed.
Emir Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah and his cabinet had fled into exile in Taif, Saudi Arabia. They were actively engaged in organizing an international coalition with the object of liberating Kuwait, and paid much of related expenses.

The Economy . The occupation authorities made Iraqi Dinar a valid currency in Kuwait at par with the Kuwaiti Dinar. Kuwait shared Iraq's fate of being placed under an embargo. Oil production plummeted, because it could not be sold. With the annexation of Kuwait, the food rationing system of Iraq came to theoretically apply in Kuwait as well; however, existing supplies in food were confiscated and used to supply the Iraqi forces; the lack of food in Kuwait was of such a nature that the animals in Kuwait's zoo disappeared, ending up on somebody's table.
Kuwait's economy was in chaos; to this, destruction inflicted during the first hours of the occupation, and later arbitrary destruction by Iraqi troops, added. Particularly hurting in a desert country like Kuwait was the destruction of water desalinization plants.

Social History . The Statesman's Yearbook of 1992-1993 gives the estimated population of Kuwait in 1990 (pre-invasion) as 2.04 million (p.868). The 1985 census counted 1,697,301, of whom c.60 % were foreigners. Jan Lahmeyer gives a population of 1.4 million for 1992. The population of Kuwait shows a significant decline; partially to be explained by deaths directly or indirectly (starvation, disease) to be attributed to the occupation, partially due to the exodus of a large part of the foreign population no longer essential because of destroyed industrial facilities.
Among Kuwait's community of foreigbn residents at the time of the occupation, the c.400,000 Palestinians, recently denied Kuwaiti citizenship, were suspected of having aided the Iraqi invaders.
Iraqi troops looted the property of Kuwaiti citizens. As Iraq used foreigners as human shields, foreigners had to go into hiding. Kuwaitis hiding foreigners faced execution by hanging.
The Kuwaiti population was antagonized by the Iraqi invasion, and most Kuwaitis supported the resistance.

Cultural History . Kuwait's tv and radio stations were taken over by the Iraqi authorities. Iraqi authorities had Kuwaiti historical treasures transported into Iraq. A resistance radio station, al Huna, broadcast from within Kuwait.

Articles Invasion of Kuwait (of 1990), Jaber al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah, from Wikipedia
Kuwait Timeline, from BBC News
Operation Desert Shield, from Global Security
Gulf War : Invasion, from Kuwait Information, Iraqi Occupation, from Kuwait Information
The Gulf Wars : Iraq occupies Kuwait, 1990-1991, from History of the Middle ast Database, by Ted Thornton
Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, from ACIG (Tom Cooper)
Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait, from British Council
Persian Gulf War 1990-1991, from ACED
Human Rights in Iraq and Iraqi-Occupied Kuwait, 1991 report before the House Foreign Affairs Committee by Ansdrew Whitley
DOCUMENTS Kuwait Statesmen : World Statesmen, by Ben Cahoon
Historical Population Statistics, Kuwait, from Population Statistics posted by Jan Lahmeyer
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Article Kuwait, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1991 pp.411, 638, 1992 pp.385-386, 637 [G]
Article : Kuwait, in : Statesman's Yearbook 1990-1991 pp.791-794, 1991-1992 pp.791-795 [G]
Article : Kuwait, in : Americana Annual 1992 pp.314-315 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 12th 2007

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