chapter  2
11 Pages

Kuwait’s External Security: The Problem of Iran and Iraq

WithAnthony H. Cordesman

Kuwait enjoyed relatively peaceful relations with its neighbors until its independence in 1961. The Iraqi monarchy fell in 1958, and Kuwait faced a growing threat from radical Arab nationalism. Iraq occupied Kuwait's border post at Samita on March 20, 1973, in a further effort to pressure Kuwait to cede its control of the islands in the Gulf. Iraq again sought to lease Bubiyan and Warbah in 1980 and provoked another border incident in 1983. When Kuwait again refused to lease the two islands, Iraq sent a token force across the border. Iran's defeat in the Iran-Iraq War only created a new threat to Kuwait's security. Kuwait faces the prospect of continuing Iraqi challenges to its new border with Iraq. Kuwait's relations with Saudi Arabia have been the key to obtaining support in dealing with Iran and Iraq and have been relatively good since they signed a treaty in 1922. Kuwait has close relations with most Arab states.