By Alan Munro
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Extra resources for Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War
This latter instrument, outlawed by international agreements to which Iraq was herself a party, was turned without compunction against his own Kurdish population in the massacre of the inhabitants of the northern town of Halabja in early 1988, and shortly after-mrds in the successful action by the Iraqi army to dislodge the Iranians from the Faw salient, from where they had been threatening the city of Basra. 8 Thp Snddam Hussein Factor So it was that, following Iran's exhausted call for a ceasefire in July 1988, Saddam Hussein lost no time in throwing Iraq's considerable weight about once again on the Arab scene, with his customary mixture of bullying and blackmail, and through well-targeted deployment of the sophisticated propaganda apparatus which Iraq had developed during the conflict with Iran.
The impression of a shortsighted pursuit of self-interestwas enhanced in 1990 by Kuwait's production of crude oil at a level in excess of the quota which she had agreed with her partners in OPEC. 4 million barrels a day during the first part of 1990 and was now finding it galling to see her neighbour flouting her quota. The Kuwaiti plea that she qualified for an exemption, on the grounds that her extensive overseas refining ventures had to be kept supplied, cut little ice. Above all the Kuwaiti action afforded a source of particular grievance to Iraq, already in the mood to find cause for affront, and faced with a calamitous economic situation and a need to maximise oil revenue to cushion her transition from an all-out war effort to a civilian economy.
He also reacted in hostile fashion to an American move, taken in response to Iraqi troop movements, to bring forward the timing of an amphibious military exercise in the UAE involving US marines and Emirate forces. At the same time, however, Saddam Hussein gave the ambassador to understand that no act of aggression was imminent. In the course of the meeting Saddam Hussein received a telephone call from President Mubarak confirming that the Kuwaitis had agreed to attend the proposed discussions in Jedda the following week - a further pointer against hostilities.
Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War by Alan Munro