The basic underlying issue in the Iraq War that began in 2003 was the United States’ need to have stability in the Middle East. This area is extremely important for the world’s economy because of the huge reserves of oil in the region. The US needs stability in the region to safeguard economic stability in the world.
Beginning at least in 1990, the United States saw Iraq as a destabilizing force in the region. Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq, invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. During the 1991 Gulf War, he attacked Israel with missiles. He later used chemical weapons against his own people and was developing other weapons of mass destruction. After the 9/11 attacks, American and other intelligence services felt that Hussein still had WMD and that he was a threat to allow terrorists to use them. For these reasons, the US elected to invade Iraq in 2003, overthrow Hussein’s government, and try to install and support a new government that would hopefully be democratic and pro-Western.