In the two weeks before Iraq's seizure of Kuwait, the Bush Administration gave President Saddam Hussein little reason to fear a forceful American response if his troops invaded the country, in fact they practically gave him a green light to do it.
Saddam was an unofficial ally of the US in those days, who had armed him and supported him for years especially in his war against Iran.
Saddam first rise to power happened in 1963, when a CIA coup in Iraq ousted the existing government of General Abdel Karim Kassem, and bought the Ba'ath party, Saddam being a prominent party member and later its leader, into power.
In 1980, encouraged and supported by the US, Saddam Hussein started the Iran-Iraq war which lasted for almost eight years and claimed the lives of over a million dead Iranians and Iraqis.
The Reagan Administration secretly decided to provide highly classified intelligence to Iraq in the spring of 1982 while also permitting the sale of American-made arms to Baghdad.
US officials acknowledged that American arms, technology and intelligence helped Iraq to become, coupled with help from the Soviet Union, into a regional power.
Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983.
In 1990, The George Bush's Administration's message to Baghdad, articulated in public statements in Washington by senior policy makers and delivered directly to Mr. Hussein by the United States Ambassador, April C. Glaspie, was this:
"The United States was concerned about Iraq's military buildup on its border with Kuwait, but did not intend to take sides in what it perceived as a no-win border dispute between Arab neighbors."
The U.S. State Department had earlier told Saddam that Washington had
"no special defense or security commitments to Kuwait."
In a meeting with Mr. Hussein in Baghdad on July 25, eight days before the invasion, Ms. Glaspie urged the Iraqi leader to settle his differences with Kuwait peacefully but added,
"We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait,'" according to an Iraqi document described as a transcript of their conversation.
April Glaspie meets Saddam Hussein in 1990.
One week after the meeting, Saddam’s troops would storm into Kuwait and occupy the country.
It's hard to see how Saddam, after getting repeated messeges from the Bush administration about how the US about not taking sides in this conflict and how it had no commitments to Kuwait, could've interperted this in any way besides the US tacitly telling him that he had a free hand and could do whatever he wanted with Kuwait.
Several months later George Bush senior and his administration would use as justication Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, an invasion they unofficialy greenlighted and endorsed, as an excuse to declare war on Iraq and launch operation “desert storm” and start the first Gulf War.
George H W Bush Announces War Against Iraq (January 16 1991)