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5.2.1 Iraq/Kuwait conflict

To understand the essence of the conflict it is necessary to descry the reasons of the conflict. Shortly after the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq\'s military dictator, Saddam Hussein, accused Kuwait of taking an unfair share of oil revenues. In August 1990 he made the claim that Kuwait was a part of Iraq and ordered his armies to invade and occupy Kuwait.

The Iraqi invasion alarmed President Bush and other world leaders for three reasons. First, it was an act of aggression by a strong nation against a weaker nation. (Iraq in 1990 had the fourth largest military force in the world.) Second, the taking of Kuwait opened the way to an Iraqi conquest of the world\'s largest oil-producing nation, Saudi Arabia. Third, the combination of Iraq\'s military power and aggressive actions would allow it to dominate the other countries of the Middle East.

To prevent further aggression, President Bush ordered 200,000 troops to Saudi Arabia, followed later by an additional 300,000. \"We have drawn a line in the sand,\" said the president, as he announced a defensive effort called Operation Desert Shield. US troops were joined by other forces from a UN-supported coalition of 28 nations including Great Britain, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and Egypt.

Members of the UN Security Council, including both the United States and the Soviet Union, voted for a series of resolution concerning Iraq\'s aggression. One UN resolution demanded Iraq\'s unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. Other resolutions placed an international embargo on trade with Iraq and authorized UN members to use force if Iraqi troops did not leave Kuwait by January 15, 1991. As the January deadline neared, members of Congress debated whether or not to authorize the president to send US troops into combat in the Persian Gulf. Both houses voted in favor of the war resolution. [ ]

The Gulf War had far greater significance to the emerging post-cold war world than simply reversing Iraqi aggression and restoring Kuwait. In international terms, we tried to establish a model for the use of force. First and foremost was the principle that aggression cannot pay. If we dealt properly with Iraq, that should go a long way toward dissuading future would-be aggressors. We also believed that the US should not go it alone, that a multilateral approach was better. [ ]

5.2.2. UNIKOM Establishment

On 3 April 1991, the Security Council adopted resolution 687 (1991), which set detailed conditions for a cease-fire and established the machinery for ensuring implementation of those conditions. By resolution 687 (1991) the Council established a demilitarized zone along the border between Iraq and Kuwait, to be monitored by a UN observer unit.

On 9 April 1991, the Security Council adopted resolution 689 (1991) which approved the Secretary General\'s plan for the establishment of the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission (UNIKOM). The UNIKOM advance party arrived in the area on April 1991. UNIKOM was established to monitor the Khawr \'Abd Allah and the DMZ set up along the border between Iraq and Kuwait, and to observe any hostile or potentially hostile action mounted from the territory of one State to the other.

The mandate was expanded in February 1993 by Security Council resolution 806 (1993), with the addition of an infantry battalion, to: take physical action to prevent, or redress, small scale violations of the DMZ and of the boundary between Iraq and Kuwait; and problems arising from the presence of Iraqi installations and citizens and their assets in the DMZ on the Kuwaiti side of the border. Since the demarcation of the Iraq-Kuwait boundary in May 1993 by the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Boundary Demarcation Commission, and the relocation of Iraqi citizens found to be on the Kuwaiti side of the border back into Iraq, the situation along the DMZ has been calm.

From the Security Council on down, nearly every UN diplomat, along with officials from many other countries, will not stop repeating their mantra: They want full and unfettered access to all sites in Iraq where the inspection team suspects weapons of mass destruction are hidden. And that is precisely what Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has refused to do, for the seven years that the inspection regime has been in force.

President Clinton has managed to put the United States on both sides of the diplomatic fence, repeatedly insisting America is making every effort to avoid violence, but is ready to use U.S. aircraft and cruise missiles to pound Iraq into submission if necessary.

The United States has assembled an armada in the Persian Gulf consisting of 30,000 soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines, 20 warships, and more than 400 attack and support aircraft. Although it doesn\'t compare to the huge multinational force that went to war with Iraq in 1991, neither does the coalition.

So far, only Britain and Canada have joined the United States in sending forces to the area. Most of the nations that supported the attack in 1991 seem to feel that a military solution is too unsubtle a tool for such a delicate diplomatic goal, and that the Iraqi people, already suffering under UN sanctions, do not need to endure another baptism by fire.

The demonstrations - never spontaneous and always state-organized - quickly became tedious affairs, with the same posters, the same chants, the same stunts.

What\'s more, the UN Security Council more than doubled the amount of oil Iraq can sell over six months in order to buy food, medicine and other goods for its people suffering from devastating sanctions imposed when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. At that time to put pressure on Iraqi forces to withdraw, the United States and the UN voted to place an embargo on the purchase of Iraqi oil. The resulting drop in oil supplies quickly led to higher prices at gas stations all across the country.

The vote was unanimous in the 15-member body. The new program—which raises the permitted oil revenue from $2 billion to $5.256 billion—does not go into effect until Annan evaluates and approves an Iraqi plan for how the goods should be distributed.

Iraq has expressed irritation over the plan and delayed the previous versions of it, citing what it called infringements on its sovereignty. UN officials insist on the right to strictly monitor the aid given under the plan to make sure it reaches those who need it.

U.S. opinion polls show support for attacks on Iraq remains strong, hovering in the 60 percent range, but a disastrous \"town hall\" meeting in Ohio on Wednesday suggested it was equally fragile.

State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said families were not being ordered to leave Israel and Kuwait, but that they were being allowed to do so over concerns they may consider it prudent.

Iraqis have in the past threatened to attack both Israel and Kuwait in the event that Iraq is attacked. The United States this weekend is beefing up forces in Kuwait, and Israel has been urgently distributing gas masks.

\"The probability of Iraq resorting to the use of chemical or biological weapons is remote, but it cannot be excluded,\" Rubin said.

U.S. officials acknowledge that any attack on Iraq could hit hard at civilians there.