The 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Kuwait: A Look at the History, Evolution, and Future of the US-Kuwaiti Relationship
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On August 2, 1990, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. The subsequent liberation by a US-led coalition served as a watershed moment in US-Kuwaiti relations. The Gulf War is often viewed as the onset of the close relationship between the United States and Kuwait; a relationship that still endures to this day. Though the two nations had little interaction prior to the invasion in 1990, the common American narrative about the Gulf War portrays the US as single-handedly liberating Kuwait from Iraqi forces and leaving a sizable force in Kuwait to defend the country’s sovereignty against Saddam. While certain aspects of this may hold true, this narrative unfairly paints Kuwait as the sole benefactor of American action – that the Kuwaitis have enjoyed a free ride off American military protection. In reality, the relationship between the US and Kuwait is mutually beneficial for both sides, and Kuwait funds the majority of US activities within the Gulf region. As a response to these misconceptions, this paper seeks to analyze and explain the true relationship between the US and Kuwait. This is done though a careful analysis of the partnership in three main sections. The first section will explain the origins of the relationship prior to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 with the Tanker Wars. The Gulf War served as catalyst to foster relations between the two countries. The second section demonstrates US-Kuwaiti cooperation during and after the war to show the evolution of the military, diplomatic, economic and environmental relationships. The final section analyzes the future of the relationship and offers recommendations for future policy. While Kuwait remains its closest Arab-Gulf ally, the US must not take the relationship for granted and collaboration with Kuwait on a variety of issues will ensure that the relationship continues to flourish.
Babcock, Evon; Best, Sara; Karle, Joseph; Knight, Sarah; Lattier, Brian; Moore, Katelyn; Nowicky, Mathue; Wilbur, Grant (2017). The 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of Kuwait: A Look at the History, Evolution, and Future of the US-Kuwaiti Relationship. Available electronically from