At approximately 0200 on 2 August 1990, the people of Kuwait were
awakened by the unmistakable sounds of a military force on the move. Given the
recent high tension between the government of this oil-rich nation at the top of the Persian Gulf and that of Iraq, its large and powerful neighbor to the north, few doubted the meaning of the noise filling the night sky. Iraq's President, Saddam Hussein, had conducted a highly public war of nerves with the ruling family of Kuwait during the late spring and early summer apparently designed to extort the
forgiveness of the Iraqi debt to Kuwait accumulated over his nearly ruinous war
with Iran during the 1980s. Saddam charged the Kuwaitis with drilling into the
Iraqi side of the Al Rumalia Oilfield that straddled their common border, thus supposedly robbing the Iraqi treasury of much-needed revenue.
Kuwait, the diminutive state to his south, served also as a convenient proxy target for Saddam's rage against the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states for refusing his insistence that they cut back on their production of crude oil, so that he could get the highest price possible per barrel.
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