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Pakistan and Iraq- Kuwait war of 1990

Pakistan being an Islamic country has always tried to make cordial relations with Islamic world. Its initial foreign policy was based on bringing the Islamic countries together and to create a strong kind of alliance to have an international say in the affairs of the globe.  The attempts of Pakistani foreign policy makers in this regard brought no fruitful outcomes. Pakistan, being a newborn country and having been created on the basis of religion, was euphoric in the sense that the Islamic brothers would not let her alone in any sort of crises. She was in full self-belief that Pakistan’s initial economic and security problems would be solved by the aid and assistant of these Islamic brother countries. This was not only the optimism but a dire need for Pakistan to get herself out as soon as possible from the danger she was confronting with, such as Indian menace which was dubbed as an enemy. Having borders with a giant foe country, a danger was always lurking there and for Pakistan it was indispensable to get the support  of Islamic countries to make India believe that she was not alone in the community of nations.


In the above introduction, it is now apparent that Pakistan’s foreign policy right from the start has been determined by two major factors that are, security and economy. By security, one can derive a conclusion that it was basically India which, as was perceived by Pakistan, was a constant danger for Pakistan. It is important to note here that if Pakistan did not have any security threat, still it would need economic assistance if not for defense but for the improvement of the infrastructure. Therefore, security and economic conditions should be treated separately as the determinant of foreign affairs. In this context, Pakistan’s endeavors of bringing the Islamic countries closer for achieving its goals-economic assistance and a parallel to Indian menace-  did not succeed as were the expectations but still Pakistan has not ignored the ideological factor apart from economic and security in the external relations. It had to try to make good relation with these countries.


Among these countries, this essay is mostly concerned with Iraq and Kuwait and Pakistan’s policy towards Iraq-Kuwait war in 1990. With Kuwait Pakistan has been in good relations in terms of economic aid, assistance during natural disasters and on other strategic issues. With Iraq, Pakistan set up friendly relations as well. Iraq was first Arab country to recognize Pakistan and supported Pakistan in Bengal crises. But later in the Gulf War in 1990 Pakistan had to choose one of her Islamic brothers to support. When Iraq invaded Kuwait in august 2, 1990, it was branded as an act of aggression by international community especially USA strongly opposed Saddam’s attack as she was eagerly looking the Iraq’s leaning towards Soviets. This was a chance for USA to teach Iraq a lesson and weaken her. The United Nation passed resolution against this belligerence and recommended a coalition force of the countries to expel Saddam. Along with United States, UK, and Saudi Arabia many other countries sent their forces for the help of Kuwait. War continued till February 1998 when Iraq after initial hesitations accepted unconditionally the UN Security council resolution.


What is important in this situation was the sending of troops of Pakistan to Kuwait against Iraq which was also an Islamic country. Pakistan sided with Kuwait firstly because Pakistan was a member of United Nations. When united nation passed the resolution against Iraq Pakistan had no choice except accepting it. Secondly, it was widely believed that after the success in Kuwait Saddam might invade on Saudi Arabia which was  a more important friend of Pakistan. For this purpose Pakistan had to side with the coalition force. Thirdly, one of the prominent policies of Pakistan has been that it never sided with the aggressor. In this issue Iraq was an aggressor and tried to annex Kuwait. So Pakistan, in accordance with its traditional policy, had to give its support to Kuwait. Lastly because Pakistan wanted to make the international community believe that it always worked with them against any kind of aggression. In response Pakistan had to be able to get support from them in case of Indian attack. So, in a sense Pakistan had multidimensional interests. The support of Pakistan to Kuwait also got advantages of good bilateral relations with Saudi and Kuwait itself in the future. In 2005 earthquake, Kuwait was the first provide aid to Pakistan and still enjoying the support of Kuwait. On the other side, Saudi has still a great importance in Pakistan’s foreign affairs.

This Iraq war, though soured relations with Iraq but won many supports from international community. As it was obvious from the above mentioned argument that it could not be possible for Pakistan to act otherwise but if it did, then no one could save Pakistan from complete isolation. So for Pakistan it was the other side picture which Pakistan avoided in the Gulf War.

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