Here's a book we could have used a year earlier! - a meticulous and detailed account of Iraq's claim to Kuwait. Actually, there are two claims: Baghdad either wants a change in boundaries to win greater access to the Persian Gulf, or it seeks to absorb Kuwait wholly into Iraq. While Iraqi governments of all descriptions have consistently forwarded the first claim during the past fifty years, the second has been seriously pursued on only three occasions (1938, 1961, 1990-91). In response to both, the Kuwaitis throughout the twentieth century have consistently said no.
As for the validity of Iraqi claims, Schofield dismisses the latter one out of hand. But he pays Baghdad more heed on the boundary dispute. Noting the historical vagaries that left Iraq with such an unsatisfactory shoreline - notably British efforts of 1913 to prevent the Ottoman Empire from establishing a railroad terminus; and the arbitrary British demarcation in 1951 of the border - the author implies that the Kuwaitis might show some flexibility. Noting that the border problem continues to fester, he hints at a deal: Baghdad agrees finally to demarcate the Iraq-Kuwait border according to the 1932 delimitation; in return, the Sabah dynasty permits Iraq access to the sea (through common water rights, a lease, or some other technicality). But, of course, he concedes, the August 1990 invasion renders Kuwaiti concessions unlikely for many years to come.