Saddam Hussein may have taken over Kuwait because he had been backed into a corner with nowhere else to go.
Howard Nielson, former congressman from Utah's 3rd Congressional District, spent some time in Iraq and Saudi Arabia just before Saddam annexed Kuwait in August 1990 and told some BYU students about his experiences Wednesday.The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries was trying to find a way to bring Iraq back into the system after its eight-year war with Iran, Nielson said.
"But Iraq felt that if they entered the market as it was, oil prices would go down," he said. During the war, Kuwait's production had increased dramatically and if Iraq returned, there would be a glut of oil on the market.
"Iraq retaliated by taking over Kuwait because the other OPEC nations wouldn't work with him (Saddam)," Nielson said. Iraq felt its only solution was to go to war.
"You'd think Iran would come back against Iraq after being beaten by them in war," he said. But Iran has the same problem of getting back into the oil-producing business without losing money.
Nielson disputed another theory about Iraq's war motives.
Kuwait hasn't been part of Iraqi territory since the end of World War II and only recently did Saddam think about taking it back.
"That is like saying Mexico still has a claim to the Western United States because it was once Mexican territory," Nielson said.
Even trying to analyze and understand the situation, Nielson agrees with President Bush's actions in the Persian Gulf.
"I think we are justified in going to war," he said. "I think the president has done a good job of getting allies to go with him."
Other presidents weren't able to get the same type of international cooperation, Nielson said, listing as an example the Korean War.
Nielson said he also believes Iraq was headed for other Gulf countries, principally because of their reluctance to work Iraq back into the oil-producing market.
If the United States hadn't stopped that, "oil prices would have doubled and the international banking system would have collapsed," Nielson said.
He said he believes in security and peace through strength. "Weakness invites invasion and attack."
Nielson predicted the conflict will be over by the end of February and then the world will have to dispose of Saddam and place the reigning Kuwaiti government back in power.