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Gulf War 1990-1991. by Jack Hope. The Players. Kuwait (invaded and occupied August 2, 1990 - February 27, 1991) Iraq Saddam Hussein (Iraqi President) Palestine Liberation Organization (passive support of Iraq) Jordan (remains neutral, but ignores blockade of Iraq)

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Gulf War 1990-1991

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the players
The Players
  • Kuwait (invaded and occupied August 2, 1990 - February 27, 1991)
  • Iraq
    • Saddam Hussein (Iraqi President)
  • Palestine Liberation Organization (passive support of Iraq)
  • Jordan (remains neutral, but ignores blockade of Iraq)
  • United States (lead nation in UN coalition)
    • George H. W. Bush (U.S. President)
    • Colin Powell (U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff)
    • Norman Schwarzkopf (Commander and Chief of the U.S. Central Command)
  • 25 other nations contribute troops to UN coalition
  • Israel - persuaded by U.S. to stay out, despite missile attacks
reasons for iraqi invasion of kuwait
Reasons for Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
  • Slant drilling into Iraq by Kuwait
  • Debts owed to Kuwait by Iraq
  • Artificial borders established by British
  • Vague U.S. stance on Iraq-Kuwait disagreement

“-- we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts --”

-- attributed to April Glaspie, U.S. ambassador to Iraq before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait

iraq invasion of kuwait
Iraq invasion of Kuwait
  • August 2, 1990, Iraq invades Kuwait despite on-going negotiations with Arab states to prevent war
  • Kuwait, a small country with no sizeable military, fell quickly
desert shield
Desert Shield
  • UN resolution 660condemns Iraqi invasion
  • UN resolution 661economic sanctionsagainst Iraq
  • UN resolution 678withdraw deadline:January 15, 1991
  • Meanwhile, coalition forcesmove into position, includingover 500,000 U.S. troops,mostly in Saudi Arabia

“This will not stand”

desert storm the air war
Desert Storm (the air war)
  • Air war begins January 17, 1991
  • Bombs begin falling in Baghdad during U.S. national news broadcasts
  • U.S. uses “stealth” airplanes for the first time
  • Cruise missiles, “smart” bombs used, but majority of ordinance “dumb”
  • Iraqi pilots escape to Iran

Anti-aircraft fire over Baghdad

desert storm the ground war
Desert Storm (the ground war)
  • Coalition forces enter Iraq and Kuwait on February 22, 1991
  • Thousands of demoralized Iraqi troops surrender rather than fight
  • American armor decimates elite, Iraqi Republican guard troops
end of hostilities
End of hostilities
  • Saddam Hussein orders Iraqi troops to set Kuwaiti oil fields alight
  • Retreating Iraqi forces destroyed along the “Highway of Death”
  • Cease fire accepted on February 27, 1991
  • Ground war ended within 100 hours
an uneasy peace
An uneasy peace
  • Saddam Hussein puts down rebellions in the Shia south and Kurdish north
  • U.S. sets up “no-fly zones” to prevent further Iraq aggression against Shia and Kurds, though the rebellions have already been effectively squashed
  • UN sends weapons inspectors to Iraq numerous times to locate Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction
  • “Gulf War syndrome” afflicts veterans, causes birth defects. Still under investigation.

"I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.

And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties, and while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war.

And the question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is, not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the President made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq.”

-- Dick Cheney U.S. Secretary of Defense1992