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In the discussion thread: George H.W. Bush dies at 94. [View all]

Response to Liberty Belle (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 1, 2018, 05:24 AM

77. While Bush I resisted the push to Baghdad,

that war never should have happened. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was based on long-standing disputes between the two countries for the Rumaila oil field. Instead of launching a war, Bush should have led negotiations to resolve that most recent dispute and he knew that. This would have been much less costly to the ME overall and would likely not have had the kinds of consequences that we later saw with Al-Qaeda and are seeing ultimately with Daesh. It also resulted in hundreds of thousands of Palestinians being expelled from Kuwait after the war, most without any justification whatsoever except that Arafat had supported Saddam. Awful as he undeniably was, Saddam Hussein was not entirely in the wrong.

But even then, those who later were initiators of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and relied primarily on Kuwaiti misinformation won that call.

See., e.g., https://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/03/world/confrontation-in-the-gulf-the-oilfield-lying-below-the-iraq-kuwait-dispute.html

From the link:

Oil formations frequently run beneath political boundaries, whether they involve unfriendly leaseholders in West Texas or neighboring Arab states, and procedures have existed for years to settle disputes that arise. Typically, participants in the same field share both production costs and revenues, using a formula that sets percentages of ownership.

But Iraq refused to negotiate with Kuwait on such an agreement. So Kuwait produced oil from Rumaila with out any agreement, and then adopted a policy of producing far more oil than it was allowed under the quota system of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. That policy became an other sticking point in relations with Iraq, which contended that the over production depressed oil prices and revenues for all OPEC members.

Iraq had produced oil from the field before it went to war with Iran. Of a total of 615 wells in Iraq, 225 were in the Rumaila field, according to 1986 figures, the latest available, from John S. Herold Inc., an oil industry consulting firm in Greenwich, Conn.
Iraq's dispute with Kuwait, has its roots in Britain's decision in 1899 to establish Kuwait as a British protectorate. The Kuwait royal family had ruled the area since 1756, but Iraq still considered it part of its southern province, The dispute flared again more than 30 years ago, shortly after oil was discovered in 1953 in Iraqi territory in the huge Rumaila reservoir. After the Arab League of States established the Kuwait-Iraq border two miles north of the southern tip of the oilfield, Kuwait erected oil rigs on its own territory and drilled into the rich pool below. Kuwait has never disclosed how much Rumaila oil it has pumped. $2.4 Billion Claim by Iraq But President Saddam Hussein says Kuwait owes Iraq $2.4 billion for oil taken from the field. In addition to asserting that Kuwait owed Iraq for the oil it had produced, Mr. Hussein told an emergency meeting of the Arab League in May that excessive supplies of Kuwaiti oil in the world market in the last two years had undermined OPEC production quotas and depressed world oil prices. He said that action cost Iraq $14 billion a year, or far more than Kuwait had lent Iraq during Iraq's confrontation with Iran.

Personally, I have never forgiven Bush I for doing this because he should never have heeded buddies like Cheney, Bolton and Saudi Arabia, etc. when he knew better. Of course, everyone hated Saddam Hussein, so he was an easy scapegoat.

Unlike his son, however, Bush I was at least successful in forming an international coalition and consensus and fortunately had enough sense to stop when he did. But this war NEVER should have happened.

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