In the 1950s and 1960s, the Ba'ath Party, of which Saddam Hussein is a member, gained political control in several Arab In the 1940s, the state of Israel was created out of a part of Palestine through the actions of the major western countries and the Soviet Union. The Arab states bitterly opposed this action, and have since that time engaged in unceasing efforts to eliminate Israel. The actions taken by the major western nations, particularly the United States, in support of Israel have further fanned the fires of Arab nationalism.
The fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979 brought to power in that country the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Ayatollah had a strong grudge against Saddam Hussein both because of the way Iraq had treated Khomeini during his period of exile, because of Saddam Hussein's suppression of the Shi'a segment of the Iraqi population, and because Saddam Hussein's government attempted to undermine the position of the Khomeini government in Iran. These several issues led to the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq that ended about two years before Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
Lastly, the world crude oil market crashed in the late-1980s. The ensuing drop in crude oil prices, together with the decrease in demand for the product, placed great financial pressures on producing countries such as Iraq. Iraq was among those member countries of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) that wanted to control production to raise prices. Kuw