Competing for political and economic dominance in the Persian Gulf region, Iraq and Iran engaged in the Iraq-Iran War, 1980 – 1988. After eight years of war, Iraq and Iran began peace talks. By the summer of 1990, after nearly two years of attempting to negotiate peace, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offered to host peace talks in Cairo with Hussein and Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to assist in ending the decade-long conflict. These negotiations were halted on Aug. 2, 1990, when Hussein authorized Iraqi troops to invade Kuwait. Ultimately, the tense relations between these nations impeded post-war peace talks and led to the Gulf War.
Upon hearing about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President George H.W. Bush denounced the actions and began coordinating with diplomats around the globe to deescalate tensions in the Persian Gulf. In the coming days, Bush met with several diplomats from nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Syria to assess all possible options for responding to Hussein’s aggression. Together, these leaders formed a joint effort to oppose Hussein’s offensive against Kuwait and prohibit him from taking further aggressive actions in the Persian Gulf.