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Vipers in the Storm
Chapter Review


In 1922, the modern borders of Kuwait, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia were drawn, and ruling families loyal to Great Britain and France were given control.  Sir Percy Cox, a high commissioner from Great Britain, met with a junior cabinet member representing Iraq, a British political agent representing Kuwait, and with Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Saud, who would soon become the ruler of what is now Saudi Arabia.  The meeting lasted seven days.  When the parties could not reach a compromise on where to draw the borders, Cox dictated where the lines would be drawn.  Afterwards, representatives of Iraq - the most sophisticated of the three nations - were extremely bitter, because the new borders denied their country any access to the Persian Gulf.

The Cold War ended in the late 1980s with the reunification of Germany and the breakup of the Soviet Union, signaling a new beginning for nations seeking peace.  President Bush called it "the new world order," but the invasion of Kuwait was a serious blow to the concept.  "What is at stake is for more than a matter of economics or oil," Bush declared after the invasion.  "What is at stake is whether the nations of the world can take a common stand against aggression ... whether we live in a world governed by the rule of law or by law of the jungle."

On 4 August 1990, President Bush met with his advisors at Camp David.  There was deep concern among the group because satellite photos revealed six Republican Guard divisions moving south toward the Saudi - Kuwaiti border.  If Saddam Hussein were to invade Saudi Arabia and capture the strategic oil fields along the eastern coast, he would have control of more than half the world's oil supplies.  He would be able to manipulate oil prices and redefine the region's power structure.

Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney arrived in Saudi Arabia a few days after the invasion and told the Saudi ruler that America was prepared to send forces to defend his kingdom.  King Fahd realized his military was no match for Saddam's, but he was hesitant to cut off the flow of Iraq's oil.  To insure that the king and his advisors understood the gravity of the situation, Cheney showed them the satellite photos depicting the massive buildup along their northern border.  After a short debate, King Fahd turned to Cheney and said, "Okay, you can come." 

On 8 August 1990, after Iraq announced it had annexed Kuwait as its "nineteenth province," President Bush addressed our nation.  His speech marked the beginning of Operation Desert Shield.


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Copyright © 2003 by Keith A. Rosenkranz.  All rights reserved.
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