Saddam’s reasons for invading Kuwait were
varied and complexmoney, it was pretty much all about money. And oil, which is really just another word for “money.” Kuwait had it (money, I mean, and oil too but again that’s the same thing) and Saddam didn’t. He didn’t even have the money to repay the loans Kuwait had floated him during the (Iran-Iraq) war. The Kuwaitis, see, had spent a good portion of the war serving as Iraq’s main port, since Iraq’s actual main port city, Basra, was mostly shut down due to the fighting. The Kuwaitis also lent Iraq a lot of money to keep fighting. Initially Kuwait didn’t want to get involved in the war, but then its ruling Sabah family started to worry that its own subjects (especially its substantial Shiʿa minority) were checking out that whole Islamic Revolution thing and getting some Doubleplus Ungood Ideas. So they decided to throw in with Saddam. His Baʿathist ideology, to the extent that Saddam actually gave a shit about any ideology, was just as opposed to the idea of monarchy as Iran’s revolutionary ideology was. But there was no reason to believe that Saddam had any interest in exporting his ideology, the way Iran’s new leaders did, and so Kuwait’s rulers decided he wasn’t a threat to them. Oops.