Negotiation Style and Frameworks

A case study that shows how important it is to consider whether or not to accept concessions by taking a reasonable perspective and framework.

On a scorching summer day in August,1990, the citizens of Kuwait stared in puzzlement at the encroaching, dusty streams of what appeared to be a pending desert sandstorm, creeping ominously towards them from across the forbidding dessert. To their dismay and horror filled eyes, the quaking citizenry had become helpless witnesses to the advancing units of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army, relentlessly engaged in the illegal invasion of their homeland. There had been no warning of this pending disaster. Kuwaiti resistance was swept aside much like one casually brushes away a crumb from one’s lapel. Kuwait had been drilling laterally into Iraqi oil fields and ignored Saddam Hussein's demands that they cease stealing Iraq's oil.

After six days, Hussein declared that he had annexed Kuwait. The world was stunned by Hussein’s audacity, and the Middle East became very anxious about what the future may hold for this unsettled region. By August 30, the Arab League, called by President Mubarak of Egypt, attempted to defuse this potentially explosive crisis through applying negotiation skills.

The Arab League proposed to Hussein that if he would withdraw his troops, they were prepared to offer him several concessions. Through several negotiations, the Arab League eventually framed a generous negotiation proposal that they attempted to present to Hussein in a packaged offer.

The three major negotiation concessions offered to Iraq were as follows;.
1) Iraq would take control of the Ramilla oilfields, which Hussein claimed had been stolen from Iraq in their ongoing border dispute with Kuwait.
2) Iraqis would take possession of Bubiyan Island, which was an island located in the Persian Gulf, and which abutted closely to the Iraqi shoreline.
3) The third concession entailed the wiping out or renegotiating of a $14 billion war debt that Iraq held with Kuwait since the Iran-Iraq war. This last concession was still open to considerable negotiation, allowing plenty of latitude for pending discussions.

Hussein had two ways to view how he could frame the Arab League’s proposal. He could look at it from the viewpoint of what he would win if he did withdraw his troops, or he could consider what he might stand to lose if he withdrew his troops – two very different perspective frameworks of the same situation. In the end, he chose unwisely.

Hussein chose to take the perspective of what he would lose. The princely concessions presented by the Arab League were disdainfully refused by the arrogant Hussein with little consideration. He decided that since he already occupied all of Kuwait, anything else would be seen as a loss to him as he was now in possession of all of Kuwait and its incumbent resources anyway.

He could have viewed it from the alternative position of all that he would have won for just a few weeks work, and would have received as concessions from the Arab League’s proposal. The Iraqi leader might have been thinking about his decision as a powerful coalition of allied forces dogged his beleaguered and battered army which was retreating deep into the heartland of Hussein’s native Iraq, leaving its charred carnage in its wake. It was costly lesson to learn. Is the glass half – or is it half full? How you view it can mean everything.

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Please send me the feed back - 2015 Jun 14
Commentator: Shas (Malaysia)

""was it hussein or the arab league that were the actual opponents..? and why ?

what was the arab leagues leverage in this situtation..? i understand that hussein had the leverage of owning a state rich in resources and there is nothing that would compensate for giving up his new plunder ... please send in some views....""

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11 of 14 people found the following comment useful:

The Arab League's Standards of Conduct - 2010 Nov 17
Commentator: Inita (United States - Michigan)

"With Iraq being a member of the Arab League, than that country was in a binding agreement (to follow the standards set by the league) with other members which includes Kuwait that each country was considered a sovereign state with their rights to govern. By invading Kuwait, Hussein in effect broke the agreement leading to poor relations with the Arab League that probably would have intervened when allied forces came up against them. Therefore, the Arab League's leverage was a coercive power in that the rules the league had set for member countries had been broken which resulted in Hussein's army standing alone against allied forces and led to his downfall."

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6 of 11 people found the following comment useful:

who were the actual opponents ? - 2010 Aug 13
Commentator: Maya (United Arab Emirates - Dubayy)

"was it hussein or the arab league that were the actual opponents..? and why ?

what was the arab leagues leverage in this situtation..? i understand that hussein had the leverage of owning a state rich in resources and there is nothing that would compensate for giving up his new plunder ... please send in some views...."

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This page's contents may be re-published in full or part - we ask only that you include an honest html link back to this site, preferably to our home or www.negotiations.com/training/ page.

 
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