The Crisis Over Kuwait (1961–1963)
The small state of Kuwait at the head of what was then known as the Persian Gulf had been under British protection since the end of the nineteenth century. When this arrangement was brought to an end in June 1961, Kuwait’s first taste of international life was very sour: a threat from neighbouring Iraq to ‘liberate’ what she announced was a part of her domain. This caused concern in a number of quarters, for although Kuwait possessed little by way of either people or territory, she was then the largest crude oil producer in the region and third largest in the world, supplying about 40 per cent of British imports of this key resource. On the basis of a treaty which had been signed with Britain only a week or two earlier, Kuwait asked for help, and about 6,000 British troops, with strong naval and air backing, were quickly moved to Kuwait. Manifestly, they were there to fight if that proved necessary, and were therefore not engaged in peacekeeping (see Map 15).
KeywordsSyria Egypt Odium Sudan Iraq
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