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GULF WAR By Tom Rader
Background • Iraq was debt ridden from the Iraq-Iran war • Iraq claimed that Kuwait was rightfully theirs • Without Kuwait it made Iraq completely landlocked • Kuwait was a huge producer of oil, and the Iraqi government lost $7 billion a year because Kuwait was overproducing. • Iraqi government thought this was a form of economic warfare
Invasion • Saddam was demanding $10 billion, Kuwait did not want to give them everything so they offered $9 billion. • Saddam’s response to that was to invade. • On August 2, 1990, Iraqi commandos bombed Kuwait’s capital, Kuwait city. • Kuwait’s military was not prepared and suffered high losses. • Within 12 hours, most resistance was gone and the royal family fled. Most of Kuwait was now under control of Iraq.
Start of US involvement • The United states and Kuwaiti delegations requested a meeting of the UN Security council. They formed a coalition of 34 countries.They put sanctions on Iraq and had a naval blockade to enforce the sanctions. • The united states was afraid of Iraq being in easy striking range of the Saudi oil fields. Saddam verbally attacked Saudi Arabia. • Acting on the Carter Doctrine(the United states would you use military force to defend their national interests in the Persian Gulf region) President George H. W. Bush launched a “wholly Defensive”, it was codenamed Operation Desert Shield.
US Military’s response • The US started to heavily bomb areas on January 17 1991, dropping over 88,500 tons of bombs destroying a wide range of military and civilian buildings. • Their next targets were command and communication buildings, they thought that destroying these would cripple Iraqi forces. • Next came the ground troops and the Iraqi’s put up little to no fight at all when the ground forces moved in. Most Iraqis were young, under resourced, and poorly trained.
Controversies of the war • Gulf War Illness- Many soldiers returned with illnesses after the war, it was called gulf war syndrome. Some of the factors that may have contributed were depleted uranium used in tank penetrating shells, chemical weapons and anthrax vaccines. • Highway of death- Retreating Iraqis were bombed along a 60km stretch of highway, the media twisted the story a little, there were few Iraqis dead but most of the cars were destroyed.
Controversies continued • Kuwaiti oil fields- The Iraq military had a scorched earth policy and would set the oil fields on fire. Roughly 700 oil wells were torched while they were retreating. The fires had started in January and February 1991 and the last one was put out in November 1991. • Approximately 6 million barrels of oil were burned daily.
End of the war • In an Iraq territory there was a peace conference and both sides agreed to a ceasefire. • Iraq was allowed to temporarily fly armed helicopters along the border of Kuwait. • That didn’t last long because of uprisings to overthrow Saddam started up in the south. • There was some criticism towards the bush administration for not continuing into Baghdad and overthrowing Saddam. • On March 10, 1991 troops were starting to be pulled from the Persian Gulf.