The Gulf War: Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm
What was the Gulf War? The Gulf War was a major conflict the Persian Gulf region in the Middle East between coalition forces from 34 countries led by the United States against Iraq. The Gulf war was also known under other names, such as the Persian Gulf War, First Gulf War, Kuwait War, First Iraq War, or the Iraq War
What was the reason for the Gulf War? The Gulf War broke out in response to the invasion and annexation of oil rich Kuwait by Iraq ordered by Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein.
What date was the Gulf War? The date of the Gulf War was from August 2, 1990 to February 28,1991.
Where was the Gulf War fought? The Gulf War was fought in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Who fought in the Gulf War?: The Gulf War was fought by coalition forces from the United States, Europe, Canada and Arab Nations
What was the result of the Gulf War? The result of the Gulf War was a victory for the United States and the coalition forces.
Gulf War Facts for kids: President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WDM's)
Facts about Gulf War
The Persian Gulf countries, consisting of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, held up to 70% of the world’s oil reserves.
The Gulf War conflict was rooted in Saddam Hussein's accusations in May 1990 that Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates were over producing oil, causing the price of oil to drop, which was tantamount to "economic warfare" against Iraq, costing an estimated $14 billion a year.
Tensions increased in July 1990 as Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing oil from the Rumaylah oil field located in southern Iraq, approximately 20 mi (32 km) from the Kuwaiti border. Saddam Hussein warned of military action as Iraq began a military buildup against Kuwait.
On 25 July 1990, April Glaspie, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, met with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and his Deputy Prime Minister, Tariq Aziz to ask for an explanation of the military preparations in progress, including the massing of Iraqi troops near the border with Kuwait. Saddam Hussein responded by denying he would invade Kuwait.
On August 2, 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and began to seize Kuwaiti oil fields and take over the country. The Kuwait Armed Forces numbered 16,000 men. Iraq had the world's fourth largest army consisting of 955,000 standing soldiers and 650,000 paramilitary forces in the Popular Army.
The Battle of Dasman Palace (August 2, 1990) was fought between the Kuwaiti and Iraqi forces during the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait. The Emir's younger half brother was killed during the battle at the royal residence and his body was later placed in front of a tank and run over.
Within hours of the invasion by Iraq the Emir of Kuwait, Sheik Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, under threat of capture and death by the Iraqi's, fled the country and was exiled in Saudi Arabia.
On August 3, 1990 the United Nations (UN) Security Council passed Resolution 660 condemning the invasion by Iraq and the occupation of Kuwait and demanded that Iraq unconditionally withdrew all forces deployed in Kuwait.
US advisors and officials feared that the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq was the first step to the invasion of Saudi Arabia in order to capture its vast oil reserves.
President George H Bush led the United Nations (UN) to impose economic sanctions on Iraq and demanded a cease fire and their immediate withdrawal from Kuwait. On August 6, 1990 the UN imposed a trade embargo on Iraq.
The Iraqi army, the largest in the Middle East, was on the Saudi-Kuwaiti border. On August 7, 1990 King Fahd of Saudi Arabia requested U.S. troops to help defend the country against a possible Iraqi attack
General Norman Schwazkopf, commander in chief of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) at MacDill Airforce Base, prepares a US plan to send American troops to the area, if necessary.
President George H Bush persuaded other UN nations to join a coalition to stop the aggression of Iraq. The coalition consisted of forces from the United States, Europe, Canada and Arab Nations.
On August 8, 1990 Saddam Hussein, ignoring the United Nations, proclaimed the annexation (takeover and occupation) of Kuwait with a "comprehensive and eternal" Iraqi merger with Kuwait .
On August 9, 1990 the United Nations declared the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait void and demanded the restoration of the legitimate Kuwait government.
On the same day the first US military forces arrived in Saudi Arabia, beginning the build up of coalition forces along the Saudi Arabia / Iraq border.
President George H Bush reported that he had launched Operation Desert Shield (2 August 1990, to 16 January 1991) in the Persian Gulf region. Operation Desert Shield was described as a "wholly defensive" mission, that involved operations leading to the buildup of troops for the defense of Saudi Arabia.
On August 10, 1990 Saddam Hussein responded to the action by the United States and Operation Desert Shield by declaring a "jihad", an Islamic holy war, against the United States.
A Naval blockade of Iraq began on August 12, 1990 and all shipments of Iraqi oil were halted.
The presence of the US in the Persian Gulf did not intimidate Saddam Hussein who continued his annexation of Kuwait. On September 14, 1990 the United Kingdom and France joined America in sending 10,000 troops to fight against Iraq.
On November 29, 1990 the UN adopted resolution 678 setting a deadline for the Iraqi withdrawal of Kuwait. The resolution specified that if Iraq had not fully implemented all of the UN Council's resolutions relating to the occupation of Kuwait by 15 January 1991 that "all necessary means" would be used to compel Iraq to do so in order to restore international peace and security in the area.
The US Congress also voted to authorize the use of military force if Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait.
January 9, 1991 Talks in Geneva, Switzerland, between U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz ended in stalemate.
On January 12, 1991 Congress grants President George H Bush authority to wage war with Iraq.
Iraq failed to meet the 15 January 1991 deadline - the Gulf War was about to begin in earnest with Operation Desert Storm.
Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) began on January 17, 1991 under the leadership of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf. Operation Desert Storm was the combat phase of the Gulf war.
The U.S. led coalition began a massive air war to destroy Iraq's military forces and civil infrastructure. 88,500 tons of bombs, some containing Uranium were dropped on Iraq.
The air attacks destroyed much of the civil infrastructure of Iraq but caused considerable environmental damage to the country. Sewers flowed into the streets and rivers, and refineries and pipelines leaked oil into the soil.
On January 18, 1991 the first scud missiles from Iraq strike Israel and Saudi Arabia. Scud missiles were a type of long-range surface-to-surface guided missile able to be fired from a mobile launcher.
Israel feared that Iraq would fire scud missiles filled with nerve agents, such as sarin, and the government issued gas masks to Israeli citizens.
On January 22, 1991 Iraq began blowing up Kuwaiti oil wells as part of a scorched earth policy as they began retreating from Kuwait. Over 700 oil wells were destroyed in the Kuwaiti oil fires. The total amount of oil burned is generally estimated at about one billion barrels.
The Kuwaiti oil fires burned out of control until efforts were made to extinguish the fires at the end of the Gulf War. The oil fires produced heavy smoke and pure black soot-filled plumes that polluted both the soil and the air.
The pollution of the soil and the air in the Kuwaiti petroleum fires and the oil leaks in Iraq have been linked with what was later called the Gulf War Syndrome. The smoke from the oil fires contained a cocktail of chemicals, notably, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide.
On January 25, 1991 Iraq began another element of the "environmental war" by pumping millions of gallons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf. The oil release causes massive environmental damage throughout the Persian Gulf and to its coastlines.
Concerns were also growing about the type of weapons used by Iraq during the Gulf War. On February 1, 1991 Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney warned that the United States would retaliate if Iraq used chemical or unconventional weapons during the Gulf War.
Shock and awe tactics, or rapid dominance, was a military doctrine used during the Gulf War, based on the use of overwhelming power and spectacular displays of force to destroy the enemy's will to fight.
Between February 12-13, 1991, F-117 Stealth bombers hit Baghdad with a massive array of high-tech bombs and missiles. 400 people are killed in an air-raid shelter.
On February 19, 1991 President Bush rejected a Soviet-Iraqi peace plan that would allow three weeks for the withdrawal from Kuwait.
On February 22, 1991 President Bush issued a 24-hour ultimatum to Iraq to begin an "immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait" or face an allied ground attack within one week.
The demands from the United States included the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait City, the release of all prisoners of war within 48 hours, Iraq's removal of mines and booby traps and the right of allied aircraft to exercise "exclusive control over and use of all Kuwaiti airspace."
Iraq's ruling Revolutionary Command Council denounced the president's "shameful ultimatum", preferring the Soviet-Iraqi peace plan to end the Gulf War .
On Sunday 24 February 1991, allied forces launched a combined ground, air and sea assault in the Gulf War which overwhelmed the Iraqi army within 100 hours.
On February 26, 1991 Saddam Hussein announced Iraq's withdrawal from Kuwait, but still refused to accept all the UN resolutions passed against it.
Queues of Iraqi tanks, armored vehicles and trucks carrying Iraqi troops retreated from the onslaught of the allied attack on Highway 80 north of Al Jahra, the main road north from Kuwait to the southern Iraqi city of Basra. Allied forces bombed them from the air, killing hundreds of troops in their vehicles in what became known as the “Highway of Death”. Between 1800-2700 vehicles were destroyed as they littered the “Highway of Death”.
On February 27, 1991 the U.S. 1st Armored Division fights the tank Battle of Medina Ridge against Iraqi Republican Guard outside Basra, Iraq. It was the largest tank battle in American history and ended in a decisive victory for the United States.
Coalition forces entered Kuwait City and President Bush declared Kuwait liberated. President Bush declared a cease-fire for February 28, Iraqi resistance had completely collapsed.
The Gulf War ended on 28 February 1991. The terms of the peace were that Iraq recognized Kuwait’s sovereignty and that it relinquished any missiles with ranges exceeding 90 miles (150 km) and all weapons of mass destruction (i.e., nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons).
Economic sanctions would continue until Iraq completely complied with the terms.
Gulf War Aftermath: Saddam Hussein was left in control of Iraq. His harsh regime resulted in the rebellion of Kurds that was suppressed by Saddam with great brutality.
Gulf War Aftermath: UN inspectors sought to guarantee that all long range missiles weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed. Iraq failed to cooperate with UN inspectors which led to a brief resumption of hostilities (Operation Desert Fox) in 1998.
Gulf War Aftermath: Iraq failed to fully cooperate with the inspectors and on March 17, 2003 President George W. Bush issued an ultimatum demanding that Saddam Hussein stepped down from power, left Iraq within 48 hours or faced another war.
Gulf War Aftermath: Saddam Hussein refused to step down and UN Weapons Inspectors found evidence that Iraq had developed biological weapons and had an advanced nuclear weapons development program.
On March 20, 2003 U.S. and allied forces launched an attack on Iraq beginning what became known as the Iraq War (20 March 2003 – 18 December 2011).
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