I understand that Iraq had disputes with Kuwait about slant drilling of an oil field, borders of some islands and of course in general about OPEC oil production quotas. But none of this was new in the Summer of 1990.

Was the Iraqi military preparations for the invasion apparent during the days before? Or did they have enough forces in readiness anyway?

  • Have you done any preliminary research? – Mark C. Wallace Nov 13 '16 at 16:43
  • @MarkC.Wallace Well, I've looked at Wikipedia and the first google hits. And I remember personally from news at the time that Kuwait obviously was not prepared. I would've expected that the preparations of the invasion should've been obvious at least days ahead. The background to my question is that I wonder if Iran and Russia today suddenly unexpectedly could repeat what Saddam Hussein did. – LocalFluff Nov 13 '16 at 17:47
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    An important difference is that, before the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein had ben an unofficial long time ally of the USA and other powers that supported him in the Iran - Irak war, and I cannot help thinking that this helped diplomatic circles to believe that any build up was really just a bluff. – SJuan76 Nov 13 '16 at 18:47

The US did notice the preparations at the time. I believe that the exact details of the diplomatic communications are still controversial. And of course the Iraqi decisionmaking structures were somewhat dysfunctional.

Regarding your second question, the current US intelligence sources are obviously classified, but I would assume that current intelligence on the Iranian forces is no worse than 1990s intelligence on the Iraqis. I'm not prepared to guess about the Saudis.

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  • There was an opinion asked by Iraq of the American at the time...I can't recall her name right now but I do recall a kind of mushy "meh" as her response. Not saying the USA greenlighted the whole thing just saying normally a US Ambassador would simply restate American policy on sacrosanct borders. Certainly Iraq did invade and at the time the claim was made that the goal was Saudi Arabia as a follow on attack. That allowed for a "Coalition of the Willing" to be formed which indeed it was. – Doctor Zhivago Nov 13 '16 at 21:01
  • @user14394, that was April Glaspie. And we can expect Hussein to hear what he wanted to hear, which does not resolve what exactly the ambassador said. – o.m. Nov 14 '16 at 6:05
  • Actually...stating in no uncertain terms that the USA would regard any attack on Kuwait as an Act of War with the United States we know for a fact was not said. That in fact turned out to be true...sadly for Iraq...but no, the US State Department did not in fact state US policy to Iraq when asked by Iraq what the US position was prior to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. Which you could argue was the State Department doings it's job actually...though in a kind of devious, Dr Evil sort of way. Many Historians have argued the same thing happened in Korea in the he – Doctor Zhivago Nov 15 '16 at 2:55
  • The 1950's which began the Korean War...one which a cessation of hostilities has been agreed to but here now...60 years on...Korea remains divided. – Doctor Zhivago Nov 15 '16 at 2:56

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