Iraq expects to complete Kuwait war compensation this year

They still owe 2.5 billion dollars, which they intend to finish paying this year, or early next year at the latest
Atalayar_El primer ministro designado de Irak, Mustafa al-Kadhimi

PHOTO/ Oficina de Medios del Parlamento Iraquí via REUTERS  -   Iraq's Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi

Mohamed Saleh, financial adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi, has announced that the remaining compensation for Iraq's invasion of Kuwait is $2.5 billion. The initial figure was $52.5 billion and they hope to be able to finish paying what they owe by the end of 2021, with a deadline set for the first few months of next year.

Saleh revealed the outstanding amount in a statement to the government newspaper Al-Sabah, in which he also said that the deductions are currently being paid through the United Nations Compensation Fund. However, the target payment time is subject to certain factors, such as the price of barrels of oil, as the prime minister's financial adviser noted that they expect "all the remaining compensation to be completed within a year or a little more, depending on the evolution of oil prices and the earnings of a barrel of Iraqi oil". In addition, he noted that "there are ideas and proposals to establish an Iraqi sovereign fund, into which amounts equivalent to the Kuwait war reparations are deposited, after the payment of these reparations in the coming months, and managed along the lines of generational funds".

Atalayar_Irak Kuwait
AFP/AFP - Kuwait's invasion of Iraq

The United Nations Compensation Commission was created in 1991, following the expulsion of Iraqi troops thanks to the intervention of the United States - at that time presided over by George Bush senior - in the region of Kuwait. It was this committee that ordered the payment of 52.5 billion dollars to be received by Kuwaiti individuals, companies, government agencies and other organisations that were victims of the Iraqi invasion. The money that Iraq has been paying since then comes from a tax on sales of Iraqi oil and oil products. It is also worth noting that these payments had to be suspended between 2014 and 2018 due to the security crisis in the country and the control that the terrorist organisation ISIS had over a large part of the territory.

The Kuwait war for which Iraq is now forced to compensate the invaded country began in 1990. The state then led by Saddam Hussein claimed two billion dollars from the Kuwaitis for allegedly stealing oil through the bombing of the Rumalia oil field in southern Iraq. Kuwait rejected all accusations, leading to increased tensions that led to the invasion by Iraqi troops.

The invasion of Iraq forced Kuwait's emir, Ahmed al Sabah, to flee to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Baghdad announced the fall of the "dictatorial regime", "complicit" in a "US-Zionist plot", which, according to the Iraqis, was aimed at preventing their country's economic recovery.

Atalayar_Invasión Irak y Kuwait
AFP/AFP- International forces in the town of Salman, southern Iraq, 27 February 1991

Rising oil prices were one of the most important consequences of an invasion that was soon strongly condemned by the international community. The United Nations (UN) Security Council held an emergency meeting demanding the immediate withdrawal of Saddam Hussein's troops. Faced with Iraq's refusal, sanctions began to be applied by all countries in the international community, including the Soviet Union, which supplied 80% of Iraq's weapons.

George Bush ordered troops to be sent to put an end to the invasion, which Iraq considered "total and irreversible". For its part, the UN Security Council authorised member states to use "all necessary means". In just ten days after the first air strikes began under the name of Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait was liberated and Baghdad accepted all the resolutions put forward by the United Nations.

The conflict had apparently ended there, until 2003, when Kuwait served as a bridge for the United States, this time under the presidency of George W. Bush Jr. to put an end to Saddam Hussein's regime, which his father had already dealt with 12 years earlier.