2012, 2014 Taylor & Francis. All rights reserved. The 1990-1991 Gulf crisis and war, prompted when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, represented a turning point in the close but complicated relationship between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Although the Saudis had relied on US security guarantees as an essential element of their defense policy since the 1940s, they had, at least since the 1960s, preferred to play down the military aspect of US-Saudi relations to their own public and to regional audiences in the larger Arab and Muslim worlds. And though the rulers of the kingdom did call on US military assistance in times of crisis previous to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, it was largely limited to air and naval forces. Never before had US ground troops in such numbers been stationed in the kingdom. Never before had the Saudi regime confronted such a stark choice in terms of declaring its ultimate reliance on the United States for its security.