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Located in the strategically important oil region of the Persian Gulf, Kuwait achieved its independence in 1961. In August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, but were forced to withdraw after the United States and the United Nations (UN) launched a retaliatory strike in February 1991. While retreating, the Iraqi military intentionally set fire to 60 oil wells and dumped 4 million barrels of oil directly into the Persian Gulf. The Kuwaiti government was subsequently forced to spend $5 billion to renovate its oil infrastructure, and the environmental impact will continue for decades.

Kuwait's natural resources include petroleum, fish, shrimp, and natural gas. Accounting for close to half of the Gross Domestic Product, 95 percent of export revenues, and 80 percent of overall government revenue, the petroleum ...

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