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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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Saudi Arabia at the Center of the Twentieth Century’s Last Major War

Saudi Arabia at the Center of the Twentieth Century’s Last Major War

(p.125) 8 Saudi Arabia at the Center of the Twentieth Century’s Last Major War
Cold War in the Islamic World

Dilip Hiro

Oxford University Press

At the end of 1990, Saddam Hussein’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August of that year dominated headlines internationally. US President George H. W. Bush, an oilman, saw that by annexing Kuwait, Hussein would control 20 per cent of the global oil reserves almost on a par with Saudi Arabia’s. That would deprive Riyadh of being the swing producer able to cause rise or fall in petroleum prices. Such an eventuality had to be aborted with the backing of the international community, with Saudi Arabia as a crucial part of the project. After convincing King Fahd, on the basis of dodgy evidence, that Hussein was readying to attack his country, Bush got invited by Fahd to send US troops to the Desert Kingdom. It was thus that Saudi Arabia became the center of the century’s last major war. By December 1990, the Pentagon, leading a coalition of twenty-eight nations, thirteen of them Arab or Muslim, assembled the most lethal fighting machine since the Second World War to confront 545,000 Iraqi troops in Kuwait and southern Iraq. The fighting between 16 January and 28 February 1991 ended with the defeat of Iraq and the liberation of Kuwait.

Keywords:   Iraq invades Kuwait, Oil reserves, George H. W. Bush, Oil swing producer, King Fahd, 1991 Gulf War, US-led military coalition, Kuwait liberated

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