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Unit: Kuwait History


  • 1. Kuwait History KUWAIT HISTORY By Mr. Novick

2. In theBeginning.

  • In 1716 the Bani Utbah Tribe migrated across the Arabian Peninsula and settled in what is now Kuwait City.
  • It is unclear what brought this migration, but the Arabian (Persian) Gulf offered a break from their nomadic ways.
  • Initially the area was known as Guraine; the area would later become known as Kuwait meaning little fort, a derivative of the Persian language.

3. Early Life inKuwait

  • The Persian Gulf offered fish & pearls and there were ports from which the Kuwaitis could export goods.
  • Their culture changed from nomads to pearl divers and seafaring traders.
  • Initially Kuwait was very poor - people lived in mud homes, and poverty combined with the hot desert climate led to short life-spans.

4. The AlSabahs

  • No written record of the first rulers of Kuwait exists.
  • The 1 streference comes in 1752 when a tribal council elects Sabah Bin Jaber to administer justice. (Becomes first Sheikh)
  • The Sabah family was held in high esteem and thought to be fair minded and impartial.

5. The EuropeanConnection

  • In 1897, fearing attack from the Turks (Ottoman Empire), Kuwait asks and receives aid from Great Britain.
  • In 1898 Kuwait becomes a British Protectorate.
  • Great Britain gains control over Kuwaits foreign policy in return for military protection.
  • Kuwait would be caught in a political tug-of-war for the next 20 years between the Ottoman Emp. And G.B.

6. How do we know where it starts and stops?

  • In 1918 the end of World War I brought the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
  • Great Britain, France, and Russia dissolved the Ottoman Empire into territories.
  • In 1923 Percy Cox, the British High Commissioner in Iraq, drew up a new map, starting what would be a century of border disputes between Iraq, Saudi-Arabia and Kuwait.


  • In 1938 Oil was discovered in Kuwait, however with the outbreak of WWII, production was put on hold.
  • On June 30, 1946 the first oil tap was turned creating an economic boom.
  • In 1950 Amir Abdullah al-Salem al-Sabah takes rule. He creates the greatest welfare state the world has ever seen.
        • Free housing
        • Free Education
        • Guaranteed employment
        • Free Cradle to Grave healthcare

Sheikh Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah turns a silver wheel to start Kuwaits first crude oil export. ~ June 30 th , 1946 O i l ! ! ! Courage, determination and hard-work are all very nice, but not so nice as an oil well in your backyard.~ Mason Cooley 8. Inde pend ence!

  • On June 19 th , 1961 Kuwait gains its independence from Great Britain.
  • G.B. and Kuwait would keep strong relations.

Sheikh Abdullah al Salem al Sabah & William Loss signing independence document. 9. Trouble Brewingw/ Iraq

  • 1 week later, the Iraqi leader claims Kuwait is an Iraqi territory. He believed they were both under the same province during all pre-existing rule (Ottoman, Abbasid, Persian, etc.) PRE 1716 Migration . He sends troops to the border.
  • British troops again arrive for protection.
  • The Arab League (formed in 1945) refutes Iraqs claims and accepts Kuwait as a member state. Iraq withdraws its army.

2 British Marines Prepare for Possible Iraqi Invasion~ 1961 Vs. Why cant we all just get along? 10. Be careful of what you wish for ( cause you just might get it )

  • Iran becomes determined to replace secular leaders in Arab republics with more religious people. They soon become an enemy of Kuwait.
  • When Iraq and Iran engage in a 9 year war (1980-1988) Kuwaitis back the lesser of two evils Saddam Husseins Iraq.
    • Kuwait provides Iraq w/ over $5 Billion U.S. Dollars
  • In 1979 Fundamentalist IslamSweeps through Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini is the new leader.

Ayatollah Khomeini Saddam Hussein This GuyOrThis Guy 11. Why WouldIraqAttack Kuwait ?

  • In 1989 Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of Slant-Drilling the Rumailah oil field, ruining many Iraqi oil wells.
  • Hussein accused Kuwait of using this bonus oil to flood the international oil market driving prices down.
  • Kuwait demanded repayment of over $40 Billion U.S. that it had loaned Iraq to fund their war w/ Iran.
  • Hussein complained that the borders between Iraq and Kuwait were drawn in colonial times by colonial powers.

Rumailah oil field 12. Invasion of Kuwait

  • On August 2, 1990 @ 2:00 A.M. Iraq launched an invasion into Kuwait; the Kuwaiti military was caught unprepared.
  • Initially The Kuwaiti Armed Forces (KAF) fought valiantly but were vastly outnumbered.- 35 thArmored Brigade fought bravely near Jahra.
  • The KAF was forced to evacuate to Saudi-Arabia and Bahrain.
  • Amir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah fled to Saudi, while his half brother Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah stayed to defend his home. He was later shot and killed.

13. Occupation&Response

  • By August 4 th , Kuwait had fallen under complete control of Iraqi occupying forces.
  • Some Kuwaitis fled, but most stayed. Kuwaitis formed resistance groups, and fought occupation through both public demonstrations and military attacks.
  • The United Nations responded by condemning the invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops. They placed economic sanctions on Iraq. Saddam Hussein refused to back down.

In Kuwait, everyone from children to old men resisted. There were no Kuwaiti puppets which Iraq could use to form a government.Every Kuwaiti was in the resistance. ~ Ahmar ar-Rahmani, Lieutenant-Colonel Kuwait Army Kuwaiti resistance leaflet 14. Operation Desert Shield

  • The U.S. was worried Iraq would invade Saudi-Arabia (S.A.)
  • On August 7 th , President George H. Bush (NOT George W. Bush) moved U.S. troops into S.A.
  • The U.S. assembled a coalition of forces to join in opposing Iraq. 34 countries contributed military support.

American soldiers undergoing chemical training in Saudi Arabia in November 1990 during Operation Desert Shield. 15. The Coalition

  • Afghanistan 300 Troops
  • Australia 1,800 Troops
  • Bahrain 400 Personnel, 36 Aircraft
  • Bangladesh 6,000 Troops
  • Belgium 2 Minesweepers, 2 landing ships
  • Britain 43,000 Troops, 168 Tanks, 6 Destroyers, 70 Jets
  • Canada 4,500 Troops, 24 Bombers
  • Czechoslovakia 200 ChemicalWarfare Specialists
  • Egypt 40,000 Troops
  • France 18,000 Troops, 40 Tanks
  • Germany 18 Alpha Jets
  • Greece 200 Troops
  • Honduras 150 Troops
  • Hungary 1 Medical Unit
  • Italy 3 Frigates, 10 Tornado Jets
  • Morocco 13,000 Troops
  • New Zealand 50 Medical soldiers
  • Niger 500 Troops
  • Oman 25,500 Troops, 63 airplanes
  • Pakistan 4,900 Troops
  • Poland 1 Hospital Ship
  • Qatar 2,600 Troops
  • Romania 180 Chemical Weapons Experts
  • Saudi-Arabia 118,000 Troops, 550 Tanks
  • South Korea 5 C130 Transport Planes, 1Medical Unit
  • Syria 17,000 Troops, 300 Tanks
  • U.A.E. 40,000 Troops, 80 Planes
  • U.S.A. 540,000 Troops, 4,000 Tanks, 1,700Helicopters, 1,800 Airplanes, 6Aircraft Carriers, Classified # of Submarines

16. Operation Desert Storm

  • On January 17 th , 1991 Coalition forces began the attack on Iraq.
  • Iraqi forces were quickly devastated by allied air power. As a desperate final attempt to break up the coalition, Iraqi forces launched missiles into Israel.
  • The Coalition held strong, & on February 26 thIraqi troops began to retreat out of Kuwait setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields as they left.

USAF Aircraft of the 335 thFighter Squadron (F-16, F-15C, F-15E) fly over Kuwaiti oil fires, set by retreating Iraqi army 1991. 17. In HonorOfThoseWhoFought.

  • On April 6 th , 1991 President Bush declares Kuwait liberated.
  • Coalition Casualties:
  • U.S. 113
  • Great Britain 38
  • Saudi Arabia 18
  • Egypt 10
  • UAE 6
  • Syria 3
  • Kuwait 1
  • Iraq Casualties
  • 20,000 200,000
  • (Estimates Vary)

Kuwait Liberation Tower 18. Key People & Terms

  • Secular
  • Ottoman Empire
  • Fundamentalism
  • Foreign Policy
  • Welfare State
  • George H. Bush
  • Rumailah Oil Field

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