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As the Cold War ended in 1989-1990, many Americans hoped this would bring peace and fewer problems. They were soon disappointed. New problems quickly appeared. As Russia loosened its grip on Eastern Europe, old tensions between ethnic and religious factions caused bloody conflicts as these countries struggled to redefine themselves. Tensions in the Middle East over Israel, oil, and radical Islamists soon erupted in war when Saddam Hussein, dictator of oil-rich but landlocked Iraq, invaded oil-rich Kuwait, which had ports on the Persian Gulf. The United States, through a United Nations coalition, went to war to stop him. Hussein was defeated and, though permitted to stay in power, was monitored carefully by United Nations forces. Powerful Islamist groups that were not from any one country but had money and the capability to launch major terrorist attacks on the United States and other enemies became more of a problem.