Social Studies: The Invasion of Kuwait

Social studies notes Chapter 1 The Invasion of Kuwait, also known as the Iraq-Kuwait War, was a major conflict between the Republic of Iraq and the State of Kuwait, which resulted in the seven-month long Iraqi occupation of Kuwait, which subsequently led to direct military intervention by United States-led forces in the Gulf War. [edit] Dispute over the financial debt Kuwait had heavily funded the 8 year long Iraqi war against Iran. By the time the war ended, Iraq was not in a financial position to repay the $14 billion it borrowed from Kuwait to finance its war. 6] Iraq argued that the war had prevented the rise of Iranian influence in the Arab World. However, Kuwait’s reluctance to pardon the debt created strains in the relationship between the two Arab countries. During late 1989, several official meetings were held between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi leaders but they were unable to break the deadlock between the two. [edit] Economic warfare and slant drilling According to George Piro, the FBI interrogator who questioned Saddam Hussein after his capture (in 2003), Iraq tried repaying its debts by raising the prices of oil through OPEC’s oil production cuts.
However, Kuwait, a member of the OPEC, prevented a global increase in petroleum prices by increasing its own petroleum production, thus lowering the price and preventing recovery of the war-crippled Iraqi economy. [7] This was seen by many in Iraq as an act of aggression, further distancing the countries. The collapse in oil prices had a catastrophic impact on the Iraqi economy. According to former Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz, “every US$1 drop in the price of a barrel of oil caused a US$1 billion drop in Iraq’s annual revenues triggering an acute financial crisis in Baghdad. [5] It was estimated that Iraq lost US$14 billion a year due to Kuwait’s oil price strategy. [8] The Iraqi Government described it as a form of ‘economic warfare,’ which it claimed was aggravated by Kuwait’s alleged slant-drilling across the border into Iraq’s Rumaila field. The dispute over Rumaila field started in 1960 when an Arab League declaration marked the Iraq-Kuwait border 2 miles north of the southern-most tip of the Rumaila field. [9] During the Iran–Iraq War, Iraqi oil drilling operations in Rumaila declined while Kuwait’s operations increased.
In 1989, Iraq accused Kuwait of using “advanced drilling techniques” to exploit oil from its share of the Rumaila field. Iraq estimated that US$2. 4 billion worth of Iraqi oil was stolen by Kuwait and demanded compensation. [10][11] Kuwait dismissed the accusations as a false Iraqi ploy to justify military action against it. Several American firms working in the Rumaila field also dismissed Iraq’s slant-drilling claims as a “smokescreen to disguise Iraq’s more ambitious intentions”. [9] [edit] Kuwait’s lucrative economy After the Iran–Iraq War, the Iraqi economy was struggling to recover.

Iraq’s civil and military debt was higher than its state budget. Most of its ports were destroyed, oil fields mined, and traditional oil customers lost. Despite having a total land area 1/25th of Iraq, Kuwait’s coastline was twice as long as Iraq’s and its ports were some of the busiest in the Persian Gulf region. The Iraqi government clearly realized that by seizing Kuwait, it would be able to solve most of its financial problems and consolidate its regional authority. Due to its relatively small size, Kuwait was seen by Baghdad as an easy target as well as a historically integral part of Iraq separated by British imperialism.
The Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), commonly referred to as the Gulf War, and also known as the First Gulf War[12][13], the Second Gulf War,[14][15] by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as The Mother of all Battles,[16] and commonly as Desert Storm for the military response, was the final conflict, which was initiated with United Nations authorization, by a coalition force from 34 nations against Iraq, with the expressed purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after its invasion and annexation on 2 August 1990.
The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops that began 2 August 1990 was met with international condemnation, and brought immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council. U. S. President George H. W. Bush deployed American forces to Saudi Arabia and urged other countries to send their own forces to the scene. An array of nations joined the Coalition of the Gulf War. The great majority of the military forces in the coalition were from the United States, with Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and Egypt as leading contributors, in that order.
Around US$40 billion of the US$60 billion cost was paid by Saudi Arabia. [17] The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial bombardment on 17 January 1991. This was followed by a ground assault on 23 February. This was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, who liberated Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The coalition ceased their advance, and declared a cease-fire 100 hours after the ground campaign started. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and areas on the border of Saudi Arabia.
However, Iraq launched missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia. Further information: Iraq-United States relations Throughout much of the Cold War, Iraq had been an ally of the Soviet Union, and there was a history of friction between it and the United States. The U. S. was concerned with Iraq’s position on Israeli–Palestinian politics, and its disapproval of the nature of the peace between Israel and Egypt. The U. S. also disliked Iraqi support for various Arab and Palestinian militant groups such as Abu Nidal, which led to its inclusion on the developing U.
S. list of state sponsors of international terrorism on 29 December 1979. The U. S. remained officially neutral after the invasion of Iran, which became the Iran–Iraq War, although it assisted Iraq covertly. In March 1982, however, Iran began a successful counteroffensive – Operation Undeniable Victory, and the United States increased its support for Iraq to prevent Iran from forcing a surrender. In a U. S. bid to open full diplomatic relations with Iraq, the country was removed from the U. S. ist of state sponsors of terrorism. Ostensibly this was because of improvement in the regime’s record, although former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Noel Koch later stated, “No one had any doubts about [the Iraqis’] continued involvement in terrorism… The real reason was to help them succeed in the war against Iran. “[18] With Iraq’s new found success in the war, and its rebuff of a peace offer in July, arms sales to Iraq reached a record spike in 1982. An obstacle, however, remained to any potential U.
S. -Iraqi relationship – Abu Nidal continued to operate with official support in Baghdad. When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein expelled the group to Syria at the United States’ request in November 1983, the Reagan administration sent Donald Rumsfeld to meet President Hussein as a special envoy and to cultivate ties. Main article: Invasion of Kuwait By the time the ceasefire with Iran was signed in August 1988, Iraq was virtually bankrupt, with most of its debt owed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Iraq pressured both nations to forgive the debts, but they refused. Kuwait was also accused by Iraq of exceeding its OPEC quotas and driving down the price of oil, thus further hurting the Iraqi economy. The collapse in oil prices had a catastrophic impact on the Iraqi economy. The Iraqi Government described it as a form of economic warfare, which it claimed was aggravated by Kuwait slant-drilling across the border into Iraq’s Rumaila oil field. [19] Iraq claimed Kuwait had been a part of the Ottoman Empire’s province of Basra.
Its ruling dynasty, the al-Sabah family, had concluded a protectorate agreement in 1899 that assigned responsibility for its foreign affairs to Britain. Britain drew the border between the two countries, and deliberately tried to limit Iraq’s access to the ocean so that any future Iraqi government would be in no position to threaten Britain’s domination of the Persian Gulf. Iraq refused to accept the border, and did not recognize the Kuwaiti government until 1963. [20] In early July, Iraq complained about Kuwait’s behavior, such as not respecting their quota, and openly threatened to take military action.
On the 23rd, the CIA reported that Iraq had moved 30,000 troops to the Iraq-Kuwait border, and the U. S. naval fleet in the Persian Gulf was placed on alert. On the 25th, Saddam Hussein met with April Glaspie, an American ambassador, in Baghdad. At that meeting, Glaspie told the Iraqi delegation, “We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts. ” On the 31st, negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait in Jeddah failed violently. [21] On 2 August 1990 Iraq launched an invasion with its warplanes, bombing Kuwait City, the Kuwaiti capital.
The main thrust was conducted by commandos deployed by helicopters and boats to attack the city, while other divisions seized the airports and two airbases. In spite of Iraqi sabre-rattling, Kuwait did not have its forces on alert, and was caught unaware. After two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard, or had escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia. After the decisive Iraqi victory, Saddam Hussein installed his cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid as the governor of Kuwait. [22] Saddam Hussein detained several Westerners, with video footage shown on state television On 23 August 1990 President Saddam appeared on state television with Western hostages to whom he had refused exit visas. In the video, he patted a small British boy named Stuart Lockwood on the back. Saddam then asks, through his interpreter, Sadoun al-Zubaydi, whether Stuart is getting his milk. Saddam went on to say, “We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long. Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war. [23] Within hours of the invasion, Kuwaiti and U. S. delegations requested a meeting of the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 660, condemning the invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops. On 3 August the Arab League passed its own resolution, which called for a solution to the conflict from within the League, and warned against outside intervention. On 6 August UN Resolution 661 placed economic sanctions on Iraq. United Nations Security Council Resolution 665 followed soon after, which authorized a naval blockade to enforce the economic sanctions against Iraq.
It said the “use of measures commensurate to the specific circumstances as may be necessary … to halt all inward and outward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify their cargoes and destinations and to ensure strict implementation of resolution 661. ”[24] One of the main concerns of the west was the significant threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. Following the conquest of Kuwait, the Iraqi army was within easy striking distance of Saudi oil fields. Control of these fields, along with Kuwaiti and Iraqi reserves, would have given Hussein control over the majority of the world’s oil reserves.
Iraq also had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had lent Iraq some 26 billion dollars during its war with Iran. The Saudis backed Iraq, as they feared the influence of Shia Iran’s Islamic revolution on its own Shia minority (most of the Saudi oil fields are in territory populated by Shias). After the war, Saddam felt he should not have to repay the loans due to the help he had given the Saudis by stopping Iran. Soon after his conquest of Kuwait, Hussein began verbally attacking the Saudi kingdom. He argued that the U. S. supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. He combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis. [25] Acting on the policy of the Carter Doctrine, and out of fear the Iraqi army could launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia, U. S. President George H. W. Bush quickly announced that the U. S. would launch a “wholly defensive” mission to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia under the codename Operation Desert Shield. “Operation Desert Shield” began on 7 August 1990 when U.
S. troops were sent to Saudi Arabia due also to the request of its monarch, King Fahd who had earlier called for U. S. military assistance. [26] This “wholly defensive” doctrine was quickly abandoned, as on 8 August, Iraq declared Kuwait to be the 19th province of Iraq and Saddam Hussein named his cousin, Ali Hassan Al-Majid as its military-governor. [27] Liberation of Kuwait Main article: Liberation of Kuwait campaign American decoy attacks by air attacks and naval gunfire the night before the liberation of Kuwait were designed to make the Iraqis believe the main coalition ground attack would focus on Central Kuwait.
On 23 February 1991, the 1st Marine Division, 2nd Marine Division, and the 1st Light Armored Infantry crossed into Kuwait and headed toward Kuwait City. They overran the well designed, but poorly defended, Iraqi trenches in the first few hours. The Marines crossed Iraqi barbed wire obstacles and mines, then engaged Iraqi tanks, which surrendered shortly thereafter. Kuwaiti forces soon attacked Kuwait City, to which the Iraqis offered light resistance. The Kuwaitis lost one soldier and one aircraft, and quickly liberated the city.
Most Iraqi soldiers in Kuwait opted to surrender rather than fight. [edit] Initial moves into Iraq [edit] Coalition forces enter Iraq General Colin Powell briefs then U. S. President George H. W. Bush and his advisors on the progress of the ground war Shortly afterwards, the U. S. VII Corps assembled in full strength and, spearheaded by the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3/2 ACR), launched an armored attack into Iraq early on 24 February, just to the west of Kuwait, taking Iraqi forces by surprise. Simultaneously, the U. S.
XVIII Airborne Corps launched a sweeping “left-hook” attack across the largely undefended desert of southern Iraq, led by the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized)). The left flank of this movement was protected by the French 6th Light Armoured Division Daguet). The French force quickly overcame the Iraqi 45th Infantry Division, suffering only a small number of casualties and taking a large number of prisoners, and took up blocking positions to prevent an Iraqi counter-attack on the Coalition flank.
The right flank of the movement was protected by the British 1st Armoured Division. Once the allies had penetrated deep into Iraqi territory, they turned eastward, launching a flank attack against the elite Republican Guard before it could escape. The battle lasted only a few hours. 50 Iraqi armored vehicles were destroyed, with few coalition losses. On 25 February 1991 however, Iraq launched a scud missile attack on Coalition barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. The missile attack killed 28 American military personnel. [44] The mixture of civilian and military vehicles on the Highway of Death The Coalition advance was much swifter than U. S. generals had expected. On 26 February, Iraqi troops began retreating from Kuwait, after they had set its oil fields on fire (737 oil wells were set on fire). A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. Although they were retreating, this convoy was bombed so extensively by Coalition air forces that it came to be known as the Highway of Death. Hundreds of Iraqi troops were killed.
Forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France continued to pursue retreating Iraqi forces over the border and back into Iraq, fighting frequent battles which resulted in massive losses for the Iraqi side and light losses on the coalition side, eventually moving to within 150 miles (240 km) of Baghdad before withdrawing from the Iraqi border. One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, on 28 February, President Bush declared a cease-fire, and he also declared that Kuwait had been liberated. CAUSES OF CONFLICT:
There are three basic causes to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. First, Iraq had long considered Kuwait to be a part of Iraq. This claim led to several confrontations over the years (see below), and continued hostility. Also, it can be argued that with Saddam Hussein’s attempted invasion of Iran defeated, he sought easier conquests against his weak southern neighbors. Second, rich deposits of oil straddled the ill-defined border and Iraq constantly claimed that Kuwaiti oil rigs were illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields.
Middle Eastern deserts make border delineation difficult and this has caused many conflicts in the region. Finally, the fallout from the First Persian Gulf War between Iraq and Iran strained relations between Baghdad and Kuwait. This war began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran and degenerated into a bloody form of trench warfare as the Iranians slowly drove Saddam Hussein’s armies back into Iraq. Kuwait and many other Arab nations supported Iraq against the Islamic Revolutionary government of Iran, fearful that Saddam’s defeat could herald a wave of Iranian-inspired revolution throughout the Arab world.
Following the end of the war, relations between Iraq and Kuwait deteriorated; with a lack of gratitude from the Baghdad government for help in the war and the reawakening of old issues regarding the border and Kuwaiti sovereignty. 1973, March- Iraq occupies as-Samitah, a border post on Kuwait-Iraq border. Dispute began when Iraq demanded the right to occupy the Kuwaiti islands of Bubiyan and Warbah. Saudi Arabia and the Arab League convinced Iraq to withdraw. 1980-1988- Kuwait supports Iraq in the First Persian Gulf War with Iran.
DESCRIPTION OF CONFLICT: Amid growing tension between the two Persian Gulf neighbors, Saddam Hussein concluded that the United States and the rest of the outside world would not interfere to defend Kuwait. On August 2, 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and quickly seized control of the small nation. Within days, the United States, along with the United Nations, demanded Iraq’s immediate withdrawal. U. S. and other UN member nations began deploying troops in Saudi Arabia within the week, and the world-wide coalition began to form under UN authority.
By January of 1991, over half a million allied troops were deployed in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Gulf region. Intense diplomacy between U. S. and Iraqi officials failed to bring an Iraqi withdrawal, so, on January 16, 1991, Allied forces began the devastating bombing of Iraq and her forces in Kuwait. The Allied bombing sought to damage Iraq’s infrastructure so as to hinder her ability to make war while also hurting both civilian and military morale. To counter the air attack, Saddam ordered the launching of his feared SCUD missiles at both Israel and Saudi Arabia.
He hoped to provoke the Israelis into striking back at Iraq, which he theorized would split the Arab nations from the anti-Iraq coalition due to the ongoing hostility between Israel and the Arab world. Israel came very close to retaliating, but held back due to President George Bush’s pledge to protect Israeli cities from the SCUDs. As a result of this promise, U. S. Patriot missile batteries found themselves deployed in Israel to shoot down the SCUDs. Another result of the SCUD launches was to divert Allied air power from hitting the Iraqi army to hunting for the elusive mobile missile launchers.
Even so, the Allied air strikes and cruise missile attacks against Iraq proved more devastating than expected. When the Allied armies launched the ground war on February 23, the Iraqi occupation forces in Kuwait were already beaten. Cut off from their supply bases and headquarters by the intense air campaign, thousands of Iraqi soldiers simply gave up rather than fight, as the Allies pushed through Iraq’s defenses with relative ease. In the few cases where the more elite Iraqi forces, such as the Republican Guard, stood and fought, superior American, British and French equipment and training proved the undoing of the Soviet-equipped Iraqis.
By February 26, U. S. and Allied Arab forces, along with the underground Kuwaiti Resistance, controlled Kuwait City and Allied air forces pounded the retreating Iraqi occupation army. In southern Iraq, Allied armored forces stood at the Euphrates River near Basra, and internal rebellions began to break out against Saddam’s regime. On February 27, President Bush ordered a cease-fire and the surviving Iraqi troops were allowed to escape back into southern Iraq. On March 3, 1991, Iraq accepted the terms of the cease-fire and the fighting ended. CONSEQUENCES OF CONFLICT:
Saddam’s second war of foreign conquest ended even worse than the first one. Iraq again stood defeated with the liberation of Kuwait. Despite the crushing defeat and subsequent Shiite and Kurdish rebellions, Saddam’s government retained a strong grip on power in Iraq. As a result of the cease-fire terms, Iraq had to accept the imposition of “no-fly zones” over her territory and United Nations weapons inspection teams sifting through her nuclear and other weapons programs. The economic and trade sanctions begun during the war continue to the present day, ontributing to severe economic hardship in Iraq. Some reports say hundreds of thousands of children have died due to the sanctions. There are no indications that the government or military suffer undo hardships. While the world (and the United States and Europe), concentrated on Iraq, Syria moved to crush the last resistance to her de facto control of Lebanon, thus ending that country’s long civil war. It is believed that Syria’s President Assad was given a free hand to deal with Lebanon in return for joining the war in Kuwait.
It’s also believed there was a cash for annuity payment agreed upon When Yemen declared sympathy for Iraq, Saudi Arabia expelled upwards of a million Yemeni guest workers, causing economic hardship in Yemen and increased tension between the two neighbors. See Saudi-Yemen Border Conflict page. CASUALTY FIGURES: Update as of August 2, 2009 Iraq: Original figures listed 100,000 Iraqi military dead, but more recent estimates place Iraqi dead at 20,000 military and 2,300 civilian. United States: 148 killed in action, 458 wounded, and one Missing In Action (MIA). Also, 121 Americans died through non-combat incidents.
The one MIA (compared to 1,740 MIA in the Vietnam War), was Navy pilot, Captain Michael “Scott” Speicher was shot down and was neither rescured, nor was a body found until, on August 2, 2009, the Pentagon announced that U. S. Marines stationed in Iraq had found Speicher’s remains. See also: U. S. identifies remains of pilot missing in Persian Gulf War–LA Times, Aug. 2, 2009 Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, the Pentagon announced the recovery of Speicher’s on the 19th anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, which occurred on August 2, 1990, and sparked the following 19 years of war between the U.
S. and Iraq. Gulf war (1990-1), a limited war in which a US-led coalition enjoying overwhelming technological superiority defeated the armed forces of Iraq in a six-week air campaign crowned with a 100-hour land campaign, with minimal coalition casualties. However, the coalition forces failed to destroy the Republican Guard, mainstay of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who remained a threat primarily because of his continued development of nuclear and chemical and biological weapons, leading to repeated aftershocks in the form of US and Allied air strikes throughout the 1990s.
The proximate cause was the Rumaila oilfield straddling the Iraq-Kuwait border. In mid-July 1990 Saddam claimed that Kuwait had stolen oil from this field by diagonal drilling and refused to pay back loans received from Kuwait to fund the recent Iran-Iraq war, saying that he had been doing the Gulf monarchies’ dirty work for them. Neither argument was completely without merit. He massed armour on the frontier and after being told by the US ambassador that the USA did not wish to become involved in the dispute, at 01. 0 local time on 2 August the Iraqi columns invaded. Minds were concentrated and Pres Bush denounced the invasion, alarmed that the Iraqis would carry on into Saudi Arabia and thus control half the world’s oil reserves. The UN condemned the invasion in Resolution 660, demanding immediate and unconditional withdrawal and on 7 August the USA announced it was sending forces in a joint operation with Egypt and Saudi Arabia: DESERT SHIELD.
The following day the UK announced it would send forces too, in GRANBY. On 29 November 1990 the Security Council adopted Resolution 678, authorizing the USA-led coalition to use ‘all necessary means’ against Iraq to liberate Kuwait if it did not withdraw by 15 January 1991. Instead, the Iraqis reinforced their positions along the southern Kuwaiti border and by 8 January had an estimated 36 to 38 divisions, each nominally 15, 000 strong but actually considerably less.
The coalition eventually had about 700, 000 troops in the theatre, with the main ground contributions coming from the USA and important contingents from the UK, France, Egypt, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, under the operational command of US Gen Schwarzkopf. The maintenance of the coalition, in which Arab states were arrayed with infidels against another Arab state, was pivotal. It was therefore imperative to ensure that Israel—a target for Iraqi missile attacks—should stay out of the war.
The Iraqis were known to have the means to deliver their chemical and biological weapons (CBW) with their al-Hussein missiles, which had a range of 373 miles (600 km), double that of the original Soviet Scud missiles on which they were based. At 02. 38 local time on 17 January DESERT STORM began when US Apache helicopters began attacking Iraqi air defence sites near the border to clear a corridor through which a massive air armada then passed, beginning a 43-day air campaign involving 100, 000 sorties.
The F-117A Stealth light bomber was very successful in striking key targets in heavily defended Baghdad, as were sea-launched cruise missiles. Early targets were the Iraqi air defences, electrical power, and command and control facilities, also suspected nuclear and chemical and biological warfare facilities. Although precision-guided munitions got all the publicity thanks to the excellent TV pictures they sent back, the bulk of the ordnance delivered were conventional bombs.
As the campaign continued, the Allies switched to Iraqi ground forces although the elite Republican Guard was less badly damaged than the poorer quality infantry in the forward positions. Schwarzkopf later explained that this was because of his strong concern to avoid his ground troops being held up and rained with CBW. {draw:frame} _The Gulf war, 1991: the land campaign, 24-8 February. Top: positions of forces 24 February. Bottom: Allied envelopment of Iraqi forces (Click to enlarge)_
Early on 18 January Iraq responded to the air onslaught by attacking Israel, the coalition’s most vulnerable point. A missile landed in Tel Aviv, initially reported to have a chemical warhead. The coalition later denied this but the relevant log, released after the war, recorded it carried cyclo-sarin, a particularly deadly nerve gas. Israel prepared to counter-attack, but was dissuaded when the USA promised to destroy the Scuds. As a result, a great deal of effort was diverted into the ‘Scud hunt’, although the mobile Iraqi missiles proved difficult to find.
British and US special forces were also sent in to find and destroy Scuds, with mixed results. The US also used the Patriot, originally an anti-aircraft system, to shoot down incoming missiles, the first time anti-missiles were used in the history of war. Very few incoming missiles were actually hit and those that were broke up, possibly doing even more damage than they would have otherwise. On 20 January, Iraq also began firing missiles at Riyadh, one of which hit a temporary US barracks and inflicted the worst Allied casualties of the war.
Schwarzkopf formulated a classic military plan of encirclement. While the Iraqis were to have their attention fixed to the south and on the coast by the US Marines, his main effort would be to the west of the main Iraqi forward defences, swinging round behind them and straight for the Republican Guard. The aim was ‘to conduct a swift, continuous and violent air-land campaign to destroy the Republican Guard Force Corps while minimising friendly force casualties. Aim is to make Iraqi forces move so that they can be attacked throughout the depth of their formations’.
After several days of probing and artillery raids, the main ground attack began on 24 February with direct attacks into Kuwait from the south by the US Marines and two Saudi task forces. The next day, the outflanking forces swung into action, the main force being the US VII Corps including the 1st British Armoured Division, while the XVIII Airborne Corps including the French 6th Light ‘Daguet’ Division swung even wider to protect the left flank. The VII Corps hit its breach area with 60 batteries of artillery and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, delivering more explosive power than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Although Iraq was expected to use CBW, Saddam showed a little belated discretion and refrained, as there were a number of extremely unpleasant options the coalition held in reserve, including retaliation in kind or the destruction of Iraq’s extremely vulnerable water-supply system. Late on 25 February he gave the order to withdraw from Kuwait, but the bulk of Iraqi armour was trapped between the Allies closing in from the south and west, and the Gulf and the Euphrates marshes to the east and north.
TV pictures of the comprehensively incinerated Iraqi column that had been attempting to flee Kuwait City raised fears of public revulsion and Pres Bush called a halt after only 100 hours of land campaign. There were also geopolitical considerations. Until the invasion, the West had been concerned to maintain a balance of power between Iraq and Iran in the region, and the Arab members of the coalition might have bolted if the land war had been extended into Iraqi territory. At 08. 00 local time the guns fell silent, and
Saddam was to be left with most of the Republican Guard and the freedom to use attack helicopters to crush the rebellions among the Sunni in the south and the Kurds in the north that the coalition had encouraged. Post-war, the extent and sophistication of his weapons development programmes came as a shock, and despite UN inspections and economic sanctions that affect mainly the civilian population, there is very little doubt that he has retained some CBW and possibly also some nuclear weapons.
Nonetheless, Kuwait’s territorial integrity was restored and most of Saddam’s larger fangs were pulled. The war could only be considered unsuccessful if the hyperbole about human rights that accompanied it had ever been taken seriously by anyone involved. The first phase was Operation Desert Shield—a largely defensive operation in which the United States and Saudi Arabia rushed to build up the defensive forces necessary to protect Saudi Arabia and the rest of the gulf, and the United Nations attempted to force Iraq to leave Kuwait through the use of economic sanctions.
The United States then led the UN effort to create a broad international coalition with the military forces necessary to liberate Kuwait, and persuaded the United Nations to set a deadline of 15 January 1991 for Iraq to leave Kuwait or face the use of force. The second phase, known as “Desert Storm,” was the battle to liberate Kuwait when Iraq refused to respond to the UN deadline. The fighting began on 17 January 1991 and ended on 1 March 1991. The UN Coalition liberated Kuwait in a little over six weeks, and involved the intensive use of airpower and armored operations, and the use of new military technologies.
The Gulf War left Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in power, but it destroyed nearly all of Iraq’s conventional forces and allowed the United Nations to destroy most of Iraq’s long? range missiles and chemical weapons and capabilities to develop nuclear weapons. Saddam Hussein almost certainly saw the seizure and annexation of Kuwait as a means of solving Iraq’s economic problems, of greatly increasing Iraq’s share of world oil reserves, and as a means of demonstrating that Iraq had become the dominant power in the region. Kuwait was capable of adding at least 2 million barrels a day of oil to Iraq’s exports of roughly 3. million, and offered the opportunity to double Iraq’s total oil reserves, from 100 billion to 198 billion barrels (representing nearly 20% of the world’s total reserves). Although he continued to negotiate his demands on oil revenues and debt relief from the Persian Gulf Arab nations, Saddam Hussein ordered his troops to the Kuwait border in July 1990, built up all of the support capabilities necessary to sustain an invasion, and then ordered his forces to invade on 2 August 1990. Kuwait had not kept its forces on alert, and Iraq met little resistance.
It seized the entire country within less than two days; within a week, Iraq stated that it would annex Kuwait as its nineteenth province. Iraqi forces also deployed along Kuwait’s border with Saudi Arabia, with more than five Iraqi divisions in position to seize Saudi Arabia’s oil? rich Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia had only two brigades and limited amounts of airpower to oppose them. Saddam Hussein may have felt that the world would accept his invasion of Kuwait or would fail to mount any effective opposition. However, Saudi Arabia and the other gulf states immediately supported the Kuwaiti government? n? exile. The Council of the Arab League voted to condemn Iraq on 3 August and demanded its withdrawal from Kuwait. Key Arab states like Algeria, Egypt, and Syria supported Kuwait—although Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, the Sudan, and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) supported Iraq. Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and most other European nations as well as the United States, Canada, and Japan condemned the invasion. U. S. President George Bush announced on 7 August that the United States would send land, air, and naval forces to the gulf.
Equally important, the end of the Cold War allowed the United Nations to take firm action under U. S. initiative. On the day of the invasion, the Security Council voted 14–0 (Resolution 660) to demand Iraq’s immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. The United States, Britain, and Saudi Arabia led the United Nations in forming a broad military coalition under the leadership of U. S. Army Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf that deployed the military forces necessary to enforce the United Nations’ sanctions and to defend Saudi Arabia.
This was the defensive military operation code? named “Desert Shield. ” On 29 November 1990, the United States obtained a Security Council authorization for the nations allied with Kuwait “to use all necessary means” if Iraq did not withdraw by 15 January 1991. Key nations like the United States, Britain, France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and several others began to deploy the additional forces necessary to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. In 1990–91, the United States deployed a total of 527,000 personnel, over 110 naval vessels, 2,000 tanks, 1,800 fixed? ing aircraft, and 1,700 helicopters. Britain deployed 43,000 troops, 176 tanks, 84 combat aircraft, and a naval task force. France deployed 16,000 troops, 40 tanks, attack helicopters, a light armored division, and combat aircraft. Saudi Arabia deployed 50,000 troops, 280 tanks, and 245 aircraft. Egypt contributed 30,200 troops, 2 armored divisions, and 350 tanks. Syria contributed 14,000 troops and 2 divisions. Other allied nations, including Canada, Italy, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates deployed a significant portion of their small forces.
Iraq responded by building up its military forces in the Kuwait theater of operations to a total of 336,000 troops and a total of 43 divisions, 3,475 battle tanks, 3,080 other armored vehicles, and 2,475 major artillery weapons. This buildup on both sides made full? scale war steadily more likely and triggered a number of political debates within the West and the Arab world over the need for war. The most important of these debates took place within the United States; largely because of President Bush’s political leadership, the Congress, after Bush gained UN endorsement, requested such authorization on 8 January 1991.
On 12 January the House of Representatives by 250 to 183 and the Senate by 52 to 47 voted to authorize the use of force. Though a number of new efforts were made to persuade Iraq to leave Kuwait in late December and early January, Saddam Hussein refused to withdraw under any practical conditions. Baghdad also continued to expand its military capabilities in Kuwait and along the Iraqi border with Saudi Arabia, and continued its efforts to convert Kuwait into an Iraqi province. As a result, the UN Security Council voted to ignore yet another effort to negotiate with Iraq.
On that date, 15 January 1991, President Bush ordered the military offensive to begin. Desert Storm: The Air War The Gulf War began early in the morning on 17 January when the United States exploited its intelligence and targeting assets, cruise missiles, and offensive airpower to launch a devastating series of air attacks on Iraqi command and control facilities, communications systems, air bases, and land? based air defenses. During the first hour of the war, U. S. sea? launched cruise missiles and F? 117 stealth aircraft demonstrated they could attack even heavily defended targets like Baghdad.
Within three days, a mix of U. S. , British, and Saudi fighter aircraft had established near air superiority. In spite of Iraq’s air strength, UN air units shot down a total of thirty? five Iraqi aircraft without a single loss in air? to? air combat. Although Iraq had a land? based air defense system with some 3,000 surface? to? air missiles, the combined U. S. and British air units were able to use electronic warfare systems, antiradiation missiles, and precision air? to? surface weapons to suppress Iraq’s longer? range surface? to? air missiles.
As a result, Coalition air forces were able rapidly to broaden their targets from attacks on Iraq’s air forces and air defenses to assaults on key headquarters, civil and army communications, electronic power plants, and Iraq’s facilities for the production of weapons of mass destruction. Victory in the air was achieved by 24 January, when Iraq ceased to attempt active air combat. A total of 112 Iraqi aircraft fled to Iran, and Iraq virtually ceased to use its ground? based radar to target UN aircraft. This created a safe zone at medium and high altitudes that allowed U. S. nd British air units to launch long? range air? to? surface weapons with impunity. The UN air forces were also able to shift most of their assets to attacks on Iraqi ground forces. For the following thirty days, UN Coalition aircraft attacked Iraqi armor and artillery in the Kuwaiti theater of operations, as well as flying into Iraq itself to bomb Iraq’s forward defenses, elite Republican Guard units, air bases and sheltered aircraft, and Iraq’s biological, chemical, and nuclear warfare facilities. Iraq’s only ability to retaliate consisted of launching modified surface? to? urface Scud missiles against targets in Saudi Arabia and Israel, which had remained outside the war: forty Scud variants against Israel and forty? six against Saudi Arabia. U. S.? made Patriot missiles in Israel shot down some Scuds, but although the United Nations carried out massive “Scud hunts” that involved thousands of sorties, it never found and destroyed any Scud missiles on the ground, which demonstrated the risks posed by the proliferation of mobile, long? range missiles. Iraq’s Scud strikes could not, however, alter the course of the war. Iraqi ground forces were struck by more than 40,000 air attack sorties; U.
S. authorities estimated that airpower helped bring about the desertion or capture of 84,000 Iraqi soldiers and destroyed 1,385 Iraqi tanks, 930 other armored vehicles, and 1,155 artillery pieces before the United Nations launched its land offensive. They also estimated that air attacks severely reduced the flow of supplies to Iraqi ground forces in Kuwait and damaged 60 percent of Iraq’s major command centers, 70 percent of its military communications, 125 ammunition storage revetments, 48 Iraqi naval vessels, and 75 percent of Iraq’s electric power–generating capability. Desert Storm: The Land War The Aftermath of the War

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