UK Used Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait to Boost Arms Sales 

The UK government saw Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait as an "unparalleled opportunity” to hawk military wares to international customers, particularly the Gulf states, declassified documents reveal. An arms trade researcher has told Sputnik their efforts created strong bonds between the UK and repressive regional powers that endure to this day.
The memos, released by the National Archives, demonstrate that in the buildup to the Gulf War, ministers and civil servants alike were keen to ensure UK arms manufacturers would be well-placed to take advantage of any rise in orders for military hardware that could potentially result.
The documents include confidential briefings between then-Defense Procurement Minister Alan Clark to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, dispatched as he toured the Gulf on the eve of conflict.
In a letter marked "secret," written on 19 August 1990, days after Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, Clark said that the likely interventionist response from the US and its allies was an "unparalleled opportunity" for the Defense Export Services Organisation (DESO).
"Whatever deployment policies we adopt I must emphasize that this is an unparalleled opportunity for DSO; a vast demonstration range with live ammunition and real  trials…I have penciled a list of current defense sales prospects at the start of the crisis. These are now likely to be brought forward and increase in volume if we do our stuff," he wrote.
Other memos show Clark used meetings with the emir of Qatar and Bahrain's defense minister to push for arms exports. In further briefings, he identified the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan as potential customers.
Prospective deals included the sale of 36 Westland Black Hawk helicopters to Abu Dhabi, Warrior desert fighting vehicles and Challenger II tanks to Oman, BAE Hawk Jets to Bahrain and seven hovercraft to Saudi Arabia.
In an attempt to further boost interest among potential clients, Clark proposed sharing "high sanitized" intelligence briefings with regional leaders, as an "entree" for DESO representatives.
Moreover, Clark and other officials, including Thatcher's private secretary Charles Powell, were keen to stress to Gulf monarchs how quickly and "heavily" the UK would respond to Hussein's actions, particularly in comparison with other arms export rivals such as France.


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