The Causes of the Persian Gulf War
“Two dozen U.S. and British aircrafts bombed five radar and other anti-aircraft
sites around Baghdad with guided missiles yesterday in the first major military action of
the Bush administration. It was the largest airstrike against Iraq in two years and hit
sites near the Iraqi capital, a significant departure from the low-key enforcement of no-fly
zones in the country’s south and north. The U.S.-led alliance declared the zones
off-limits to Iraqi aircrafts after the Persian Gulf War. President Bush, speaking at a new
conference in Mexico alongside the Mexican President, Vicente Fox, called the ...view middle of the document...
In order to better understand the Iraqi position, it is necessary to look at some of
the historical factors. The discovery of oil by the the Anglo-Persian Oil Company
(APOC; later renamed the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and still later British Petroleum) in
Iran in 1908 stimulated a great interest in potential Iraqi oil resources. Financial groups
from several major nations engaged in protracted negotiations with the Ottoman Empire
(present-day Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, and Turkey) in order to obtain concessions to explore for
oil in Mosul and in Kirkuk, two locations in what later was north-central Iraq. Although a
few concessions were granted prior to World War I (1914-1918), little surveying or
exploration was actually done. In 1912, several rival groups banded together to
establish the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC), which would also seek a concession
to explore for Iraqi oil and would attempt to eliminate rivalry among the partners (Phyllis
and Moushabeck 49).
Establishment of the TPC did not, however, eliminate the rivalry among the
shareholders representing various national interests, such as those of Great Britain.
After World War I, Iraq became a British mandate in 1920 yet that did not guarantee the
TPC an exclusive concession. After lengthy negotiations, a concession was finally
granted in 1925. In fact, numerous amounts of oil were discovered and because of the
continuous negotiations with the Iraqi government, the TPC was renamed the Iraqi
Petroleum Company (IPC) in 1929. This resulted in complete IPC control over the oil in
Iraq (Phyllis and Moushabeck 47-49).
After the Iraqi revolution in 1958 and after the country was declared a Republic in
1961, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed in
response to a reduction in revenues due to a surplus amount of oil in Iraq. OPEC’s
main objective was to limit the impact of Iraq on IPC. In response, Iraq formed the
state-owned Iraq Nation Oil Company (INOC). Economically, Iraq remained stable with
oil booms throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. However, there was a period of political
instability, with one military coup swiftly succeeding another. Leaders came and went
throughout the 1960’s and early 1970s (Phyllis and Moushabeck 55).
Iraq's general policy during these years was one of hostility to the West and
friendship with the USSR. Iraq declared war on Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war,
and in the 1973, gave material aid to Syria. Problems were also compounded by border
disputes with neighboring Iran when Iraq claimed parts of the country. In 1979, Saddam
Hussein was declared president of Iraq. “Hussein, whose first name means ‘fighter who
stands steadfast,’ has been likened to both Hitler and Stalin for his willingness to employ
violence, terror, secret police, and a personality cult to obtain, sustain, and expand
power “ (Schwartz 76). “Saddam...