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The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait began on 2 August 1990 and marked the beginning of the Gulf War. After defeating the State of Kuwait on 4 August 1990, Iraq went on to militarily occupy the country for the next seven months. The invasion was condemned internationally, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted numerous resolutions urging Iraq to withdraw from Kuwaiti territory. The Iraqi military, however, continued to occupy Kuwait and defied all orders by the UNSC. After initially establishing the "Republic of Kuwait" as a puppet state, Iraq annexed the entire country on 28 August 1990; northern Kuwait became the Saddamiyat al-Mitla' District and was merged into the existing Basra Governorate, while southern Kuwait was carved out as the all-new Kuwait Governorate. By November 1990, the adoption of UNSC Resolution 678 officially issued Iraq an ultimatum to withdraw unconditionally by 15 January 1991 or else be removed by "all necessary means" from Kuwaiti territory. In anticipation of a war with Iraq, the UNSC authorized the assembly of an American-led military coalition.
|Iraqi invasion of Kuwait|
|Part of the Gulf War|
Iraqi T-72s in Kuwait City
|Iraqi Republic||State of Kuwait|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Saddam Hussein||Jaber III|
|Casualties and losses|
Invasion of Kuwait
After Iraq failed to meet the UNSC's deadline, the coalition pursued the directive to forcefully expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait by initiating the Gulf War aerial bombardment campaign on 17 January 1991. As the bombardment campaign continued over the next month, Iraq fired missiles at Israel; the Iraqi government had hoped that an Israeli retaliation would prompt the coalition's Muslim-majority states to rescind their support for the campaign against Iraq. However, no such retaliation took place, and the coalition began a ground invasion of Iraqi-occupied Kuwait and parts of Iraq on 23 February 1991. As Iraqi troops retreated from Kuwait, they set fire to over 700 Kuwaiti oil wells, but this strategy was ultimately unsuccessful in thwarting the coalition's advance. By 28 February 1991, the Iraqi military had been devastated and Kuwaiti independence was restored.
Though the true intent behind Iraq's decision to attack Kuwait is disputed, a variety of speculations have been made. One possible motive concerned Iraq's inability to repay the US$14 billion that it had borrowed from Kuwait during the Iran–Iraq War. Proponents of this theory point to Kuwait's surge in petroleum production, which kept Iraq's revenues down; Kuwait's oil production levels were above the mandatory quota that was specified by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), which had consequently urged the country to moderate production amidst a sharp decrease in global oil prices. Iraq interpreted the Kuwaiti government's refusal to decrease oil production as an act of aggression against the Iraqi economy. In early 1990, Iraq accused Kuwait of slant drilling to steal Iraqi petroleum across the Iraq–Kuwait border, though some Iraqi sources indicated that Saddam Hussein had already made the decision to attack Kuwait a few months before the actual invasion. In the two days after the invasion began, most Kuwaiti troops were overrun by the Iraqis and most Kuwaiti officials had retreated to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.