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Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait POWER POLITICS IN A WORLD OF FLOWS Introduct

When Saddam Hussein dispatched Iraqi troops to invade Kuwait in the late summer of 1990, he acted on a variety of motives. Among these were to assert Iraq's claim to Kuwait as its "nineteenth province," to inhance his domestic standing with a military victory in the wake of the unsuccessful Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, to inhance his standing in the Arab world by defying the United States (and thus by indirection Israel), and of course the economic motive of siezing control over Kuwaiti oilfields as an addition to Iraq's own oil reserves.

In addition, the Iraqi invasion had a further economic motive: "Saddam Hussein, by invading and holding Kuwait's territories, also hoped to gain and keep its electronically accumulated wealth" (Luke, 1991, p. 324). This financial wealth, the accumulated profits of Kuwait's oil sales, was by 1990 very large, estimated to have a net value of some $100 billion. Indeed, as Timothy Luke points out in "The Discipline of Security Studies and the Codes of Containment: Learning from Kuwait" (1991), in the course of the 1970s and 1980s the income derived from Kuwait's financial portfolio was actually larger than its income from oil sales. Kuwait's underlying oil income was larger than it could either consume or invest in its domestic economy, and it had in effect invested the balance to buy a piece of the global economy.

This financial treasure trove, were Saddam Hussein able to lay hands on it, would offer advantages even over the Kuwaiti oilfields. Oil may be black gold, but unlike the yellow kind it is valuable only in bulk. Many thousands of barrels of oil must be sold even to earn one million dollars, and such large bulk quantities are subject to effective interdiction. The embargo against most Iraqi oil sales, which has hamstrung the Iraqi regime throughout the 1990s (even if it has failed to topple that regime) would have been almost equally effective had Iraq retained control over Kuwai...

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Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait POWER POLITICS IN A WORLD OF FLOWS Introduct. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 01:35, March 22, 2019, from