The international, regional and legal aspects of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait 1990-1991
The resolution of the Iraq-Kuwait crisis depended on the leading role played by the US in managing the crisis and eliciting the international and regional support needed to uphold international law and restore the legitimacy and sovereignty of the Kuwaiti state. In that Saudi Arabia and the UN immensely aided the US. The focus of the study will be on this particular contribution of the Security Council and Riyadh to the resolution of the crisis. Saudi Arabia's leading regional role in support of Kuwait and its willingness to participate in the war waged against Iraq from its territory shows the extent of its concern over the strengthening of Iraq as a dominant force in the Gulf area as well as over Iraqi violation of the Charters of the UN and the Arab League. The international response was also motivated by similar concerns, in addition to Iraq threatening the strategic interests of the US. It was this direct threat to the US that motivated Washington to use the Security Council as the most appropriate vehicle to manage the crisis by emphasising adherence to international law and UN Charter. There was no doubt that Iraq violated international law, but the domination of the international coalition and the Security Council by the US tainted the role of the UN and emphasised the fact that Desert Storm was not merely about restoring Kuwaiti sovereignty but also about the destruction of Iraqi power. The severity of the sanctions and their continuation for more than a decade is further evidence that Washington's objectives go beyond the needs of upholding international law and maintaining peace and stability. The Gulf war restored Kuwaiti sovereignty but did very little to restore stability and peace in the region. Divisions among Arab states have been accentuated, the Arab league is totally marginalised and the GCC lacks the ability to create a viable order to safeguard the sovereignty and stability of the Gulf area. Thus the consequences of the war on the region and on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq have been extensive and devastating.