Role of Geopolitical Bottlenecks of Iraq in Occupying Kuwait

Document Type : Original Article


- Associate Professor of International Relations, Allameh Tabatabaei University, Tehran


In 1990 Iraq occupied Kuwait and annexed it as the 19th province of Iraq. The question is: What were the most important reasons behind occupation of Kuwait? Occupation of Kuwait had various reasons, but this study assumes Iraqi geopolitical bottleneck was the main impetus for this occupation. To clarify this hypothesis, first, some explanations have been made on geopolitical theories, then the most important geopolitical factors involved in occupation of Kuwait, such as geographical situation, borders and natural resources, i.e. Iraqi physical environment, have been studied. As far as geographical situation is concerned, Iraq has no suitable situation in the Persian Gulf. For this reason, in the beginning, Iraq tried to reach the Mediterranean coasts after establishing the great Iraq by presenting the “plan of Khasib crescent”. Failing to do so, Iraq focused on the Persian Gulf. Iraq had always sought annexing the whole or at least part of Kuwait to improve its geographical situation in the Persian Gulf to remove geopolitical bottlenecks. Of course, Iraq’s attention to Kuwaiti oil reserves must not be forgotten either. On this basis, although until 1990 Iraqi previous leaders had signed agreements with Kuwaiti rulers on joint borders on paper, nothing had been realized on in practice. This is because official establishment of joint borders meant official recognition of Kuwait as an independent state. On the other hand, Iraqi leaders such as Malek Ghazi, Nouri Saeed, Abdelkarim Ghassim and Saddam Hussein were aware of the geopolitical bottlenecks of Iraq in the Persian Gulf. They considered Kuwait as a part of Iraq and accused England of restricting Iraqi access to the Persian Gulf by establishing an independent state named Kuwait. Occupation of Kuwait took place in 1990 on this basis, to remove the geopolitical bottlenecks of Iraq.