The Thatcher government was accused of wanting to cash in on the war in the Persian Gulf

Margaret Thatcher

The UK national archives has declassified a number of documents showing that the government of Margaret Thatcher regarded the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq in 1990 as a “unique opportunity” to make money by selling weapons to Persian Gulf countries. About it writes The Guardian.

In the materials, in particular, describes a private message to Alan Clark, who was then the Secretary of state for defence procurement, Prime Minister Thatcher, in which he described his visit to countries in the Persian Gulf before the war began.

“Regardless of what we choose policy deployment in the region, is a unique opportunity for DESO (Department of export supply UK Ministry of defence — approx. “Of the”); extensive demonstration with live ammunition and real targets. (…) I have outlined a list of current prospects in the sales of defensive arms in the beginning of the crisis. Now they are likely to increase if we do everything in our power”, — stated in a secret Memorandum dated August 19, 1990, several days after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.

In other documents the Minister has identified as potential customers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. It is also noted that before the Gulf war, Clark visited a number of States to assure the support of London.

Charles Powell, Thatcher’s adviser, in a memo to Clark pointed out that during the tour he had to demonstrate to allies in the region that the UK is faster and responds better to requests from its partners about aid than France — a rival of the United Kingdom’s arms exports. Powell also urged the Minister to visit the small Gulf countries, believes that the UK is “insufficiently attentive to their needs and security concerns”.

Troops Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990. The formal reason for this was the accusation that Kuwait for 10 years illegally extracted Iraqi oil from a border field. The military conflict lasted two days, and 8 August, Baghdad announced the merger of Kuwait with Iraq. These events led to the beginning of the war in the Persian Gulf, whose purpose was the liberation of Kuwait. Iraq was opposed by an international coalition of Nations, led by the United States. The end of the war marked the operation “desert Storm” ended on 28 February 1991 liberation of Kuwait.