The Iraq Invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait, which resulted in the seven-month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, which subsequently led to direct military intervention by United States-led forces in the Gulf War.

In 1990, Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing Iraqi oil through slant drilling, however some Iraqi sources indicated Saddam Hussein’s decision to attack Kuwait was made only a few months before the actual invasion suggesting that the regime was under feelings of severe time pressure. Some feel there were several reasons for the Iraq move, including that Iraq could not repay the more than $80 billion that had been borrowed to finance the war with Iran and also Kuwaiti overproduction of oil which kept oil revenues down for Iraq. The invasion started on August 2, 1990, and within two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. The state of Kuwait was abolished, and Saddam announced in a few days that it was the 19th province of Iraq.

On 2 August 1990 Iraq launched the invasion by bombing Kuwait City, the Kuwaiti capital. In spite of Iraqi saber-rattling, Kuwait did not have its forces on alert, and was caught unaware. Iraqi commandos infiltrated the Kuwaiti border first to prepare for the major units which began the attack at the stroke of midnight. The Iraqi attack had two prongs, with the primary attack force driving south straight for Kuwait City down the main highway, and a supporting attack entering Kuwait farther west, but then turning and driving due east, cutting off the capital city from the southern half of the country. The commander of a Kuwaiti armored battalion, 35th Armoured Brigade, deployed them against the Iraqi attack and was able to conduct a robust defense near Al Jahra (see The Battle of the Bridges), west of Kuwait City.

Kuwait Air Force aircraft scrambled to meet the invading force, but approximately 20% were lost or captured. An air battle with the Iraqi helicopter airborne forces was fought over Kuwait City, inflicting heavy losses on the Iraqi elite troops, and a few combat sorties were flown against Iraqi ground forces.

The main Iraqi thrust into Kuwait City was conducted by commandos deployed by helicopters and boats to attack the city from the sea, while other divisions seized the airports and two airbases. The Iraqi's assaulted the Dasman Palace, the Royal Residence of the Emir of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, which was defended by the Emiri Guard supported with M84 tanks. In the process, the Iraqis killed Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait's youngest brother.

After two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard, or had escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia. The emir and key ministers were able to get out and head south along the highway for refuge in Saudi Arabia. Iraqi ground forces consolidated their control on Kuwait City, then headed south and redeployed along the border of Saudi Arabia. After the decisive Iraqi victory, Saddam Hussein installed his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid (Chemical Ali) as the governor of Kuwait.

On 23 August 1990 President Saddam appeared on state television with Western hostages to whom he had refused exit visas. In the video, he patted a small British boy named Stuart Lockwood on the back. Saddam then asks, through his interpreter, Sadoun al-Zubaydi, whether Stuart is getting his milk. Saddam went on to say, "We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long. Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war."

Invasion of Kuwait
Part of the Gulf War
Date 2–4 August 1990
Location Kuwait
Result Iraqi victory; Iraqi-backed government installed; Beginning of the Kuwaiti resistance movement; Iraqi occupation of Kuwait triggering the Persian Gulf War.
Iraq-Kuwait border abolished; temporary Annexation as the 19th province of Iraq (unrecognized by the UN).
Iraq Iraq Kuwait Kuwait
Commanders and leaders
Iraq Saddam Hussein
Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid
Kuwait Jaber III
100,000+ 16,000
Casualties and losses
37+ aircraft (est.).
Other losses N/A
20 aircraft lost,
200 KIA,
600 POWs