I am (like others it seems) surprised by your surprise.
Iraq invaded Kuwait and went to a proxy war with Iran. Germany invaded most of Europe.
Iraq was defeated and thrown out of Kuwait in months. It's war with Iran was hardly a glowing military success.
You are comparing a Tinpot dictatorship with one of mightiest powers Europe has ever seen.
The Iraqi army was ineffective against the US military but Iraq had something like the 4th largest army in the world before the first gulf war and was a regional superpower. It was hardly a tinpot dictatorship.