INVASION OF KUWAIT The Gulf War Student: Bianca Elena Vlcu Professor Coordinator: Arkadiusz Kotliski Poland,2013
INTRODUCTION Since the beginning, Iraq had always claimed Kuwait part of its territory. One of the early claims surfaced in the 1930's when oil was discovered in the region. Another claim came right after Kuwait gained its independence, but Britain and the Arab league rejected that assertion.
During the 1980 Iraq-Iran War Kuwait aided Iraq with large amounts of money, and relations between both countries got even better. But that didnt stop Saddam Hussein from invading his neighboring country on August 2, 1990. Again, his justification was that Kuwait historically belonged to Iraq, and the land should be returned it its original owners. Iraqi troops crossed the borders by land and in about 48 hours seized and took complete control of the whole country.
CAUSES OF THE GULF WAR The causes of the Gulf War actually started when Iraq was at war with Iran. During this war Iran was not only attacking Iraq but also attacking oil tankers from Kuwait at sea too. To support the ending of the war Kuwait financially aided Iraq by lending the country 14 Billion US Dollars. Iraq tried to convince Kuwait to dissolve the debt as Iraq had done Kuwait a favour by being at war with Iran, Kuwait declined and this caused a rift between the two countries. For a year they tried to resolve the financial situation but to no avail.
Another reason was Saddam Hussein's need for oil. He had amassed a huge debt with western Europe during the Iran-Iraq war and needed some way of re-paying that money. Hussein had also caught Kuwait exceeding quota's set out by OPEC which drove the price of oil down and making Iraq lose money. Iraq did also not have direct access to the Persian Gulf which would help in the exporting and importing of goods.
Hussein delivered a speech in which he accused neighboring nation Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from the Ar-Rumaylah oil fields located along their common border. In addition to Hussein's incendiary speech, Iraq had begun amassing troops on Kuwait's border. Alarmed by these actions, President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt initiated negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait in an effort to avoid intervention by the United States or other powers from outside the Gulf region. Hussein broke off the negotiations after only two hours, and on August 2, 1990 ordered the invasion of Kuwait.
THE GULF WAR BEGINS On November 29, 1990, the U.N. Security Council authorized the use of "all necessary means" of force against Iraq if it did not withdraw from Kuwait by the following January 15. By January, the coalition forces prepared to face off against Iraq numbered some 750,000, including 540,000 U.S. personnel and smaller forces from Britain, France, Germany, the Soviet Union, Japan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among other nations. Iraq, for its part, had the support of Jordan (another vulnerable neighbor), Algeria, the Sudan, Yemen, Tunisia and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Early on the morning of January 17, 1991, a massive U.S.-led air offensive hit Iraq's air defenses, moving swiftly on to its communications networks, weapons plants, oil refineries and more. The coalition effort, known as Operation Desert Storm, benefited from the latest military technology, including Stealth bombers, Cruise missiles, so-called "Smart" bombs with laser-guidance systems and infrared night-bombing equipment. The Iraqi air force was either destroyed early on or opted out of combat under the relentless attack, the objective of which was to win the war in the air and minimize combat on the ground as much as possible.
Though the Gulf War was recognized as a decisive victory for the coalition, Kuwait and Iraq suffered enormous damage, and Saddam Hussein was not forced from power. Intended by coalition leaders to be a "limited" war fought at minimum cost, it would have lingering effects for years to come, both in the Persian Gulf region and around the world. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Hussein's forces brutally suppressed uprisings by Kurds in the north of Iraq and Shi'ites in the south.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE GULF WAR The invasion was a turning point in Kuwait as it changed almost every aspect of the country. The people were somehow hostile toward the ruling family who were in exile during the war. Fortunately, the rulers responded by: 1- Instituting martial law and staging trials. 2- Compensating citizens for their loses. 3- Granting more freedoms to the people, especially those of expression and press. 4- Reinstating the National Assembly in 1992. Another lasting impact was the imposition of no-flight zones in Iraq patrolled by US and allied aircraft, the long term presence of US forces in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and the continued interest by UN inspectors in the Iraqi WMD programs.
AMERICAN INTERVENTION US interests in the region played a dominant role in the decision to accept the Saudi invitation to oppose Iraqi aggression. On January 17, 1991, American and allied forces began launching air attacks on Iraqi forces and on February 24 the ground campaign began. By February 27, the coalition had achieved their stated mission of ejecting the Iraqi army out of Kuwait. Exactly 100 hundred hours after the ground battle had begun, the allies suspended all offensive operations. While Bush's decision to conclude the war without removing Saddam Hussein from power would become controversial, his advisors would recall that the president was insistent that the war should not exceed the authorization of the Security Council.
Interviewed in 2007, when the U.S. had been fighting in Iraq for more than four years in a war initiated by Bush's son, President George W. Bush, Colin Powell remarked, "In recent months, nobody's been asking me about why we didn't go to Baghdad. Pretty good idea now why Baghdad should always be looked at with some reservations."
CONCLUSION In the end, this was a popular war that secured economic advantages for the Western World - ensuring our way of life was not threatened by a shortage of the free flow of natural resources. It confirmed the value of air power and air superiority on the battlefield. Finally, it proved that armed aggression never prevails in the face of a free alliance of nations determined to see justice done.