Saddam Hussein goes for Kuwait in 1980

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,125
SoCal
#1
What if, instead of invading Iran in 1980, Saddam Hussein would have invaded Kuwait that year instead? The logic behind this is that Iran is a much larger country than Iraq is and that thus a war with Iran--even while Iran is weakened--is too risky for Iraq while small Kuwait is a much more lucrative target. Saddam could also draw inspiration from the failed Somali invasion of Ethiopia's Ogaden region in the 1970s as an argument in favor of not invading Iran and instead going after Kuwait.

Anyway, what would the effects of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1980 have been? Would Carter and/or Reagan have militarily intervened in response to this? Or would Saddam have actually been able to get away with this back in 1980 (as opposed to in 1990-1991)? Also, what would the response of the Soviet Union and Iraq's neighbors be in regards to this?

For reference:

 
Mar 2019
1,467
Kansas
#2
Anyway, what would the effects of an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1980 have been? Would Carter and/or Reagan have militarily intervened in response to this? Or would Saddam have actually been able to get away with this back in 1980 (as opposed to in 1990-1991)? Also, what would the response of the Soviet Union and Iraq's neighbors be in regards to this?
He would have gotten away with it. The US had other fish to fry at that stage.
 
Likes: Futurist
Apr 2017
1,404
U.S.A.
#3
One of the reason Saddam invaded Iran was the blatant hostility from them. The Ayatollah was calling for the Shiites to rise up and overthrow Saddam, and there was a long history of bad blood and disputes between the countries before this. The Iranian revolution led to the gutting of their military, which left them weaker than they'd ever been. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to eliminate a blatant threat and gain oil-rich territory and prestige in the region. If Iraq instead took over Kuwait it would alarm the world and lead to an embargo. Iraq would be too busy trying to smooth this over to be able to attack Iran. This could also fuel Iranian-backed rebellion. If Iran did then invade, Saddam would be alone, as no one else would support him since he burned any goodwill with the rest of the world by invading Kuwait. This is similar to Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. It ultimately proved impossible but there was no better time to do it. Saddam's goal probably was to crush Iran, take some territory, then take over the easily conquered Kuwait; and if he failed it would still be easy to take over (or so he thought).
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,125
SoCal
#4
One of the reason Saddam invaded Iran was the blatant hostility from them. The Ayatollah was calling for the Shiites to rise up and overthrow Saddam, and there was a long history of bad blood and disputes between the countries before this. The Iranian revolution led to the gutting of their military, which left them weaker than they'd ever been. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to eliminate a blatant threat and gain oil-rich territory and prestige in the region. If Iraq instead took over Kuwait it would alarm the world and lead to an embargo. Iraq would be too busy trying to smooth this over to be able to attack Iran. This could also fuel Iranian-backed rebellion. If Iran did then invade, Saddam would be alone, as no one else would support him since he burned any goodwill with the rest of the world by invading Kuwait. This is similar to Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. It ultimately proved impossible but there was no better time to do it. Saddam's goal probably was to crush Iran, take some territory, then take over the easily conquered Kuwait; and if he failed it would still be easy to take over (or so he thought).
That makes sense.

Also, do you think that Saddam could have gotten away with invading Kuwait had he done this in 1993 or later rather than in 1990?

He would have gotten away with it. The US had other fish to fry at that stage.
So, no US embargo on Iraq?
 
Apr 2017
1,404
U.S.A.
#7
I have doubts Clinton would have been willing to use such massive resources to dislodge Iraq. Maybe send troops to defend Saudi Arabia and bomb Iraq but no massive army to liberate Kuwait. Although if Saddam waited till 93 he would have problems with the massive debts he owed. So maybe Iraq would keep Kuwait or be eventually forced to withdraw after years of embargo and airstrikes (and fear of Iran attacking).
 
Likes: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
20,125
SoCal
#8
I have doubts Clinton would have been willing to use such massive resources to dislodge Iraq. Maybe send troops to defend Saudi Arabia and bomb Iraq but no massive army to liberate Kuwait. Although if Saddam waited till 93 he would have problems with the massive debts he owed. So maybe Iraq would keep Kuwait or be eventually forced to withdraw after years of embargo and airstrikes (and fear of Iran attacking).
Saddam won't let embargos stop him from ruling over Kuwait. As for Iran, they're not going to fight Saddam again after the brutal eight-year war that they previously fought against him ended in a draw.
 

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