Without a 1991 invasion of Iraq, the US would not have stationed troops in Saudi Arabia – meaning that Osama bin Laden, a few years later, would not have been able to issue his “declaration of war against the Americans occupying the land of the Two Holy Places”.
Without that, Al Qaeda would not have vanished, but they might instead have focused their war against “apostate” Arab regimes. Without a focus on the US, the September 11 plot would not have taken place, meaning that the wars in Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 would never have happened. America today would be a richer, safer country.
If that sounds like a positive outcome, imagine how the Middle East would look.
Had Saddam Hussein succeeded in claiming Kuwait as Iraq’s 19th province, he would then be sitting on an enormous financial windfall. Today, Iraq has about 12 per cent of global oil reserves, and Kuwait nearly 9 per cent. Iraq, then, would have controlled almost as much of the world’s crude oil reserves as Saudi Arabia.