In 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait triggering the first Gulf War.
In February 1897 Sheikh Mubarak Al-Sabah, the Ruler of Kuwait, requested a meeting with the British Political Resident in the Arabian Gulf, Major M.J. Meade. Mubarak believed that the Ottoman Empire planed to increase its influence over Kuwait and requested protection from the British Empire. Initially Britain declined on the bases of cost in setting up military forces in Kuwait and Britain wanted to maintain relations with the Ottoman Empire. However in 1898 the Ottoman Empire began military action in Kuwait’s neighbour Iraq and the belief in a possible Russian or German takeover of the region that would harm Britain’s trade in the area led Britain to reconsider their position. On the 23rd of January 1899 Britain’s representative, Major Mead and Kuwait’s leader Sheikh Mubarak signed a protectorate agreement making Kuwait “An independent country under British protection”. As part of the agreement Kuwait could not sign treaties with other nations, admit foreign agents or cede part of Kuwait’s territory without Britain’s consent. This prevented conflicts of interest that may prevent Britain from acting with its own foreign policy but the agreement prevented Britain from intervening in Kuwait’s internal affairs.
In 1901 Sheik Mubarak believed that the agreement with the British would allow him to realise his goal of becoming the most powerful leader of the Arab world and with that in mind he invaded Najd (the central region of Saudi Arabia). Initially he had limited success but the invasion soon became a disaster. The Ottoman Empire began to re-establish their control on the region and force Mubarak to show his loyalty. However Britain publically backed Kuwait as per the agreement and protected Kuwait from any possible invasion. Tensions grew between Britain and the Ottoman Empire which was finally resolved with the “Anglo-Ottoman Convention” signed on the 29th of July 1913. Under the convention the Ottoman Empire had to recognise Kuwait’s protection by Britain while Britain had to recognise Kuwait as an Emirate of the Ottoman Empire and not an independent country. Therefore in 1914 Britain officially recognised Kuwait as “An Independent Emirate under British Protection”.
On the 28th of July 1914 World War I began with Britain on the side of the Allies and by the 2nd of August 1914 the Ottoman Empire had joined on the side of the Central Powers. Britain set a blockade around Kuwait, preventing them from trading with the Ottoman Empire. On the 11th of November 1918 World War I was over and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved and Kuwait remained under British protection.
The economic problems of the world and the blockade by the British diminished a lot of Kuwait’s wealth but in 1937 the discovery of oil led to a new abundant source of revenue. The countries new wealth brought better infrastructure for its people and the country grew into a more independent country. Education, culture and population grew with the wealth and the country soon wanted to be of the restrictions on their foreign policy.
In 1960 the leader of Kuwait, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, began diplomatic talks with the British representative, Sir William Luce, and the old agreement was replaced with a new friendship agreement. On the 19th of June 1961 the agreement was signed and Kuwait was declared independent. The Agreement marked the end of the old agreement, stating that the relationship of the countries should remain close and the governments should discuss any matters that concern both countries in the future. And that the British government would always be ready to aid Kuwait if requested. Soon after Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah set up elections for the countries first national assembly and on the 6th of July 1961 Kuwait applied for membership into the United Nations, backed by a UK resolution for the Security Council for all member states to recognise Kuwait’s independence. Soon after independence was declared Iraq had already laid claim to Kuwait on the bases that Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Empire and therefore had to pay tribute to Iraq. On the 27th of June 1961 Iraq began amassing what appeared to be an invasion force and Britain immediately deployed troops, aircraft and ships in Kuwait’s defence as per their Friendship Agreement. Soon after the Arab League sent in troops to replace the British in Kuwait’s defence and Iraq dropped their claim.
On the 2nd August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and once again Kuwait was aided by the United Kingdom in a US led operation, starting the first Gulf War. The United Nations authorised the use of force against Iraq if they had not ended their occupation of their Kuwait by the 15th of January 1991. When Iraq continued their occupation, air strikes began from sea and air targeting military sites in Iraq in what became known as “Operation Desert Storm”. The air bombardment continued until the 26th of February when the ground invasion began and within the first day 10,000 Iraqi troops were taken captive. Just two days later on the 28th of February all Iraqi troops had left the country of Kuwait. A total of 32 countries supplied forces in the initial Iraq war including France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.