Saturday, August 8, 2009

Gulf War

The Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991), known also as the Gulf War, the First Gulf War, or often as the Second Gulf War or more commonly Desert Storm and by Saddam Hussein as the Mother of all Battles was a military conflict initiated by a coalition force from 34 nations, with United Nations authorization, between Iraq and the coalition with the purpose of expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Iraq's occupation and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990.
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 approximately US$60 billion cost was paid by Saudi Arabia.[15][page needed]
The invasion of
Kuwait by Iraqi troops had been met with immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by members of the UN Security Council, and with immediate preparation for war by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait began in January 1991 and was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, which took over Kuwait and entered Iraqi territory.
Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and bordering areas of
Saudi Arabia. Iraq launched missiles against coalition military targets in Saudi Arabia, and at civilian centers in Israel in an attempt to precipitate retaliation by the Jewish state that would destabilize the coalition by alienating its Arab members.
After Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President
George H. W. Bush deployed U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard units to Saudi Arabia as a part of Operation Desert Shield, while urging other countries to send their own forces to the scene. UN coalition-building efforts were so successful that by the time the fighting (Operation Desert Storm) began on 16 January 1991, twelve countries had sent naval forces, joining the regional states of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as the huge array of the U.S. Navy, which deployed six carrier battle groups.
Eight countries had sent ground forces, joining the regional troops of
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the seventeen heavy and six light brigades of the U.S. Army and nine Marine regiments, with their large support and service forces. Four countries had sent combat aircraft, joining the local air forces of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine aviation, for a grand total of 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft.
Iraq had only a few
gunboats and small missile craft to match the coalition's armada, but approximately 1.2 million ground troops, 5,800 tanks, 5,100 other armoured vehicles, and 3,850 artillery pieces all made for a greater strength on the ground. Iraq also had 750 fighters and bombers, 200 other aircraft, and elaborate missile and gun defenses.
"Operation Desert Storm" was the U.S. name of the
air and land operations and is often incorrectly used to refer to the entire conflict; although the U.S. Postal Service issued a postage stamp reflecting Operation Desert Storm in 1992, and the U.S. military awarded campaign ribbons for service in Southwest Asia.
Each nation participating had its own operation name for its contribution: U.S. - Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; UK -
Operation Granby; Canada - Operation Friction, etc.
The Gulf War was followed in 2003 by the
Iraq War

Tensions with Kuwait

By the time the ceasefire with Iran was signed in August 1988, Iraq was virtually bankrupt, with most of the 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.
Iraq claimed Kuwait had been 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.
In late July 1990, as negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait stalled, Iraq massed troops on its border with the
emirate. On August 2, 1990 at Iraq launched an invasion. The main thrust was conducted by commandos deployed by helicopters and boats to attack Kuwait 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 escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia. After the decisive Iraqi victory, Saddam Hussein installed Ali Hassan al-Majid as the governor of Kuwait.[

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 is seen ruffling the hair of a young boy named Stuart Lockwood. Saddam then asks through the interpreter "Is Stuart getting his milk?". He 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.

Pre-War Diplomacy

UN resolution

On 2 August 1990, Saddam launched the invasion of Kuwait. Within hours of the invasion, Kuwaiti and US 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. The resolution 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 - In 1991, leading up to the Persian Gulf War, United Nations Security Council authorized the naval blockade to enforce the embargo against Iraq when it issued United Nations Security Council Resolution 665 which authorized 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.”

Operation Desert Shield

One of the main concerns of the west was the threat Iraq posed to Saudi Arabia. The conquest of Kuwait had brought the Iraqi army within easy striking distance of the Saudi oil fields. Iraqi control of these fields as well as Kuwait and Iraqi reserves would have given it control of the majority of the world's reserves. Iraq also had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had lent Iraq some 26 billion dollars to prosecute its invasion of Iran. The Saudis had 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 winning 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, President Saddam began verbally attacking the Saudi
kingdom. He argued that the US-supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. President Saddam combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis.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 – Operation Desert Shield was when U.S. troops were moved into Saudi Arabia on August 7, 1990 (or August 8 depending on time zone used). This "wholly defensive" doctrine was to be quickly abandoned. On August 8, Iraq declared parts of Kuwait to be extensions of the Iraqi province of Basra and the rest to be the 19th province of Iraq.
US Navy mobilized two naval battle groups, the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Independence and their escorts, to the area, where they were ready by August 8. A total of 48 U.S. Air Force F-15s from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, landed in Saudi Arabia and immediately commenced round the clock air patrols of the Saudi–Kuwait–Iraq border areas to discourage further Iraqi advances. The U.S. also sent the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin to the region. Military buildup continued from there, eventually reaching 543,000 troops, twice the number used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Much of the material was airlifted or carried to the staging areas via fast sealift ships, allowing a quick buildup.

Creating a coalition

A long series of UN Security Council resolutions and Arab League resolutions were passed regarding the invasion. One of the most important was Resolution 678, passed on 29 November 1990 giving Iraq a withdrawal deadline of 15 January 1991, and authorizing “all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660,” a diplomatic formulation authorizing the use of force.

H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and President George H. W. Bush visit US troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990
The United States, especially
Secretary of State James Baker, assembled a coalition of forces to join it in opposing Iraq, consisting of forces from 34 countries: Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States itself.[28]
Although they did not contribute any forces, Japan and Germany made financial contributions totaling $10 billion and $6.6 billion respectively. US troops represented 73% of the coalition’s 956,600 troops in Iraq.
Many of the coalition forces were reluctant to join. Some felt that the war was an internal Arab affair, or did not want to increase US influence in the Middle East. In the end, many nations were persuaded by Iraq’s belligerence towards other Arab states, offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness, and threats to withhold aid.

Reasons and campaign for intervention

On 12 January 1991 the United States Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The votes were 52-47 in the US Senate and 250-183 in the US House of Representatives. These were the closest margins in authorizing force by the Congress since the War of 1812. Soon after, the other states in the coalition also followed suit.
The United States and the United Nations gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict. The most prominent reason was the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity. In addition, the United States moved to support its ally Saudi Arabia, whose importance in the region and as a key supplier of oil made it of considerable
geopolitical importance. During a speech given on 11 September 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush summed up the reasons with the following remarks: "Within three days, 120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks had poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia. It was then that I decided to act to check that aggression."
The Pentagon claimed that satellite photos showing a buildup of Iraqi forces along the border were the source of this information, but this was later shown to be false. A reporter for the Saint Petersburg Times acquired commercial satellite images made at the time in question, which showed nothing but empty desert. Polls showed that upwards of 80% of the American public supported the troop deployment.Other justifications for foreign involvement included Iraq’s history of
human rights abuses under President Saddam. Iraq was also known to possess biological weapons and chemical weapons, which Saddam had used against Iranian troops during the Iran–Iraq War and against his own country's Kurdish population in the Al-Anfal Campaign. Iraq was known to have a nuclear weapons program as well.
Although there were human rights abuses committed in Kuwait by the invading Iraqi military, the ones best known in the US were inventions of the
public relations firm hired by the government of Kuwait to influence US opinion in favor of military intervention. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the organisation Citizens for a Free Kuwait was formed in the U.S. It hired the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for about $11 million, paid by the Kuwaiti government.
Among many other means of influencing US opinion (distributing books on Iraqi atrocities to US soldiers deployed in the region, 'Free Kuwait' T-shirts and speakers to college campuses, and dozens of video news releases to television stations), the firm arranged for an appearance before a group of members of the
US Congress in which a woman identifying herself as a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor.
The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote. A year after the war, however, this allegation was revealed to be a fabrication. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the
Kuwaiti Royal Family, in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US. She had not been living in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion.
The details of the Hill & Knowlton public relations campaign, including the incubator testimony, were published in a
John R. MacArthur's Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of CA Press, 1992), and came to wide public attention when an Op-ed by MacArthur was published in the New York Times. This prompted a reexamination by Amnesty International, which had originally promoted an account alleging even greater numbers of babies torn from incubators than the original fake testimony. After finding no evidence to support it, the organisation issued a retraction. President George H. W. Bush then repeated the incubator allegations on television.
At the same time, the Iraqi army committed several well-documented crimes during its occupation, such as the
summary execution without trial of three brothers after which their bodies were stacked in a pile and left to decay in a public street. Troops also ransacked and looted private Kuwaiti homes, one residence was repeatedly defecated in. A resident later commented, "The whole thing was violence for the sake of violence, destruction for the sake of destruction... Imagine a surrealistic painting by Salvador Dalí".

Air campaign

The Persian Gulf War started with an extensive
aerial bombing campaign. The coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs, and widely destroying military and civilian infrastructure. The air campaign was commanded by USAF Lieutenant General Chuck Horner, who briefly served as Commander-in-Chief - Forward of U.S. Central Command; while General Schwarzkopf was still in the United States.

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