By Alan Munro
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Additional resources for Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War
The The Gathering Storm 17 commanding admiral, Fitzroy Talbot, declined to locate his headquarters alongside the army and air force, and insisted on running the naval side of the affair from HMS Hermes, anchored some kilometres offshore on account of the shallows. The joint force commander was Major-General John Walker, a former Gurkha officer of somewhat choleric disposition, who had no patience with the hesitations which the Amir of Kuwait was showing over some aspects of the British deployment.
At this early stage the Kuwaiti government did not appear to have taken Iraq's demands seriously, though the Saudis, themselves under simultaneous Iraqi pressure to conclude a non-aggression agreement, raised an eyebrow. Kuwait had by now grown accustomed to border violations by Iraq, and probably counted as in the past on being able to buy off such needling. Iraq's claim to Kuwait was a long-running sore. It was based upon the disputed issue of Ottoman Turkish claims to sovereignty over the sheikhdom prior to the establishment of Iraq and Kuwait as separate states under British protection after the First World War.
Meanwhile, the Iraqi leader had diverted Arab attention towards his campaign against Israel and the West for seeking to inhibit Iraq's recovery from the burdens of the war with Iran. Nevertheless, ever since Saddam Hussein had disregarded his advice 24 The Gathering Storm in 1980 and gone ahead with his attack on Iran, King Fahd had recognised a potential threat to the Kingdom and its Gulf partners from Iraq's forceful leader. As the King told me when I presented my credentials to him in Jedda in October 1989, it was with the need in mind to ensure the protection of his country's extended frontiers, including the Iraqi flank, that he had entered with Britain into the huge A1 Yamamah project for developing the RSAF, to improve Saudi Arabia's capability to deter outright attack.
Arab Storm: Politics and Diplomacy Behind the Gulf War by Alan Munro