Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Gulf War

The Gulf War or Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991 was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force from 34 nations authorized by the United Nations (UN) and led primarily by the United States and the United Kingdom in order to return Kuwait to the control of the Emir of Kuwait.

The conflict developed as a later result of the Iran-Iraq War and in 1990 , as Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing Iraq's oil through slant drilling. The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops was met with immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by some members of the UN Security Council, and with immediate preparation for war by the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The Gulf War began in earnest as removal 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 also launched missiles against targets in Saudi Arabia and Israel in retaliation for their support of the invading forces in Kuwait.
Since the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88 had been called the "Gulf War" or "Persian Gulf War" by many news sources, the 1991 war has sometimes been called the Second Persian Gulf War, but more commonly, the 1991 war is styled simply the Gulf War or the "First Gulf War", in distinction from the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Operation Desert Storm was the U.S. name of the air and land operations and is often used to refer to the conflict.
Shortly after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, US President George H.W. Bush started to deploy US Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard units to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield), while at the same time 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 January 16, 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 US Navy, which deployed six aircraft-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 US Army and nine Marine regiments, with their large support and service forces; and four countries had sent combat aircraft, joining the local air forces of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the US Air Force, US Navy, and U.S. Marine aviation, for a grand total of 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft. US personnel and materiél dwarfed the contributions of the others.

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