Fanack Home / Jordan / Past to Present / Kuwait Crisis

Kuwait Crisis

King Hussein and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
King Hussein and Iraqi President Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 sparked the final major crisis of King Hussein’s reign. During the 1980s Jordan had developed intimate commercial and political ties with Iraq. The invasion prompted UN trade sanctions on Baghdad, and Washington and its Gulf allies set about creating a military coalition to liberate Kuwait. Jordan was close to both sides, though the sanctions threatened its economy. Jordanians, however, particularly the Palestinian majority, strongly backed Iraq. King Hussein tried to steer a middle course, offering himself as a mediator. Although not recognizing Iraq’s purported annexation of Kuwait, he declined to condemn Baghdad by name or join the anti-Iraq coalition, and he dragged his feet on the implementation of sanctions against Iraq. For Washington and Kuwait, this was unacceptable.

Ruweished Camp, near the Iraqi border, erected for Palestinian refugees from the Gulf countries and Iraq / Photo HH
Ruweished Camp, near the Iraqi border, erected for Palestinian refugees from the Gulf countries and Iraq / Photo HH

In retaliation for Amman’s perceived pro-Iraqi stance, up to 400,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin who had lived and worked in Kuwait were expelled after the conflict, thereby eliminating a crucial flow of remittances. The UN sanctions closed the vital Iraqi petroleum market and forced Jordan to buy oil elsewhere, on harsher financial terms. Aid from the US and the Gulf declined. Jordan’s Central Bank estimated that, in 1990 alone, the Kuwait crisis cost the kingdom USD 1.5 billion, equivalent to 35 percent of its 1989 GDP. Starting in 1992, Jordan distanced itself from Iraq, but only with its peace treaty with Israel in 1994 did Amman manage to rehabilitate itself in US eyes; a rapprochement with the Gulf States was not achieved until the late 1990s.[/three_fifth]

Further Reading

Separated from ancient Palestine by the Jordan River, Jordan played a prominent role in biblical history. The ancient bi...
In 1922, the League of Nations recognized the British dominance on the East of Jordan. In 1946, the United Nations recog...
The 2003 invasion of Iraq posed a severe dilemma for King Abdullah. He came under intense pressure from his key Western ...

© Copyright Notice
Click on link to view the associated photo/image:
©Hollandse Hoogte | ©Hollandse Hoogte

We would like to ask you something …

Fanack is an independent media organisation, not funded by any state or any interest group, that distributes in the Middle East and the wider world unbiased analysis and background information, based on facts, about the Middle East and North Africa.

The website grew rapidly in breadth and depth and today forms a rich and valuable source of information on 21 countries, from Morocco to Oman and from Iran to Yemen, both in Arabic and English. We currently reach six million readers annually and growing fast.

In order to guarantee the impartiality of information on the Chronicle, articles are published without by-lines. This also allows correspondents to write more freely about sensitive or controversial issues in their country. All articles are fact-checked before publication to ensure that content is accurate, current and unbiased.

To run such a website is very expensive. With a small donation, you can make a huge impact. And it only takes a minute. Thank you.