History of Iraq: Saddam Hussein & the invasion of Kuwait

History of Iraq: Saddam Hussein & the invasion of Kuwait Last updated on Tuesday 20th April 2010

In 1979 the president, Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, was replaced by Saddam Hussein, and once more the political situation flared into hostilities with Iran. The Iran-Iraq War, which began in 1980, lasted for eight years and had a crippling effect on the economy of both countries. Before Iraq had a chance to recover economically, it was once more plunged into war, this time with its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The invasion was the result of a long-standing territorial dispute, and Iraqi troops overran the country on 2nd August 1990. The UN security council condemned the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, and demanded a complete withdrawal by 15th January 1991.

When Iraq failed to comply with this demand, the Persian Gulf War ensued, with allied troops led by the US launching an aerial bombardment on Baghdad. The war, which proved disastrous for Iraq, lasted only six weeks, and a cease-fire was announced by the US on 28th February 1991. UN terms for a permanent cease-fire were agreed by Iraq in April of that year, and strict conditions were imposed, demanding the disclosure and destruction of all stockpiles of weapons.

By early 1992, it became apparent that Iraq still possessed weapons of mass destruction, and intense international pressure to eliminate these was brought to bear, in the shape of UN economic sanctions. In 1993 the Security Council voted to maintain these sanctions, despite attempts by Iraq to have them lifted.

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