The main battles were aerial and ground combat within Iraq, Kuwait, and bordering areas of Saudi Arabia. The war did not expand outside the immediate Iraq/Kuwait/Saudi border region, although Iraq fired missiles on Israeli cities.The Iraqi seizure of Kuwait was of immediate interest to the western capitalist societies because Iraq and Kuwait together would control approximately 20 percent of the world's known oil reserves (Kellner 9). With the potential wealth generated from future oil sales and control over oil prices, Saddam Hussein could play a major role on the world's political and economic stage. Consequently, Iraq's invasion of Kuwait produced a crisis for the world capitalist system, for U.S. and European economic interests, and for the stability of the Middle East. Iraq was not able to get control of Kuwaiti investments because much of their money had been transferred out of the country. Yet, rather than encouraging a diplomatic solution to the crisis that would return Kuwait's sovereignty and secure the region, George Bush responded with a military intervention, which inexorably led to the Gulf war itself.
Interest in the crisis increased when the U.S. claimed that Iraq might also invade Saudi Arabia, which was said to control 20 percent of the world's known oil reserves and an investment portfolio even larger than Kuwait's. George Bush, who had initially attacked the invasion as "naked aggression," heated up his rhetoric and declared on August 5 that the invasion "would not stand." Two days later, he sent thousands of troops to Saudi Arabia. The Bush administration had thus set the stage for the Gulf war by failing to warn Iraq of the consequences of invading Kuwait and then by quickly sending troops to Saudi Arabia while undercutting diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis (Frank 20).
There was no single reason why the United States relentlessly pursued the military option in the crisis of the Gulf. Dissection of the underlying forces that led the Bush administration to pursue the war option reveals a complex web of political, economic, and military considerations. The Gulf war was not solely a war for oil, for the greater glory of George Bush and the Pentagon, or for the promotion of U.S. geopolitical supremacy in order to bolster a faltering U.S. economy, although all of these factors played a role in producing the war. Instead, the Gulf war was "overdetermined" and requires a multicausal analysis (Kellner 11-12).
In 1990, Bush's presidency was facing severe domestic economic and political problems, including: a sky-rocketing deficit caused by Reagan's and Bush's astronomical defense-spending; a severe S&L, banking, and insurance crisis caused by Republican deregulation policies; and proliferating public squalor marked by growing homelessness, unemployment, economic deprivation, deteriorating cities with epidemics of crime and drugs, health problems such as AIDS, cancer, and the absence of a national health insurance program. These and many other problems were in part caused, or aggravated, by the policies of George Bush and his predecessor Ronald Reagan. Consequently, it was in George Bush's interest to divert attention from current crises and the potentially deteriorating economy with a scapegoat for the economic imbroglio produced by Republican economics. That is, Bush could claim that the economic problems were caused by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait and the ensuing crisis that drove up