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On August nd, 10 Iraqi military forces invaded and occupied the small Arab state of Kuwait. The order was given by Iraqi dictatorial president Saddam Hussein. His aim was apparently to take control Kuwaits oil reserves. Iraq accused Kuwait, and also the United Arab Emirates, of breaking agreements that limit oil production in the Middle East. According to Saddam Hussein, this brought down world oil prices severely and caused financial loss of billions of dollars in Iraqs annual revenue.

Saddam Hussein had the nearly hopeless task of justifying the invasion. He plead the fact that Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman province of Basra, a city in the south of Iraq. However, the Ottoman province collapsed after World War I and todays Iraqi borders were not created until then. There was also a further and more obvious blunder in a bid to justify this illegal invasion. Baghdad, the capital of Iraq, had namely recognized Kuwaiti independence in 16. Furthermore, Hussein claimed that Kuwait had illegally pumped oil from the Iraqi oil field of Rumaila and otherwise conspired to reduce Iraqs essential oil income.

By invading Kuwait, Iraq succeeded in surprising the entire world. The United States of American ended its policy of accommodating Saddam Hussein, which had existed since the Iran-Iraq war. The United Nations Security Council passed 1 resolutions condemning the invasion. The ultimate decision was to use military force if Iraq did not withdraw absolutely by January 15, 11. Then, when the deadline was set, it was time to start preparing for the worst-the war.

After consulting with U. S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in early August 10, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia invited American troops onto Saudi soil. He had seen Kuwaits destiny; therefore, he wanted protection. It was also the interest of the United States to stop any further advantage of the Iraqi army. The deployment was called Operation Desert Shield. These troops were armed with light, defensive weaponry.

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On November 8, 10 President Bush announced a military buildup to provide an offensive option, Operation Desert Storm, to force Iraq out of Kuwait. The preparation of the operation took two and a half months and it involved a massive air- and sea lift.

Finally, in January 11, the U. S. Congress voted to support Security Council resolution 660. It authorized using all necessary means if Iraq did not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15. Saddam Hussein resolutely maintained the occupation of Kuwait.

The United States established a broad-based international coalition to confront Iraq militarily and diplomatically. The military coalition consisted of Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Honduras, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The war also was financed by countries which were unable to send in troops. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were the main donors. More than $5 billion was pledged and received.

President George Bush waited two days after the UN deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait before ordering the Coalition to begin action against Iraq. Baghdad was bombed fiercely by the coalitions fighter airplanes in the first night of the war. An interesting fact is that several weeks before this, US intelligence agents successfully inserted a computer virus into Iraqs military computers. It was designed to disable much of Baghdads air-defense system.

After establishing air superiority, coalition forces stopped Iraqs command and control centers, especially in Baghdad and Al Bashrah. This caused the communication to fail between Baghdad and the troops in the field. The next stage was to attack relentlessly Iraqs infantry. Iraq retaliated by using mobile launchers to fire Scud missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel, a noncombatant coalition. Overall, Husseins forces launched Scuds. The United States countered this threat with Patriot antimissile missiles, called also Scudbusters, and commando attacks on Scud launchers. Patriot missiles gave an engagement rate of nearly 6 per cent.

The ground war began at 800 p.m. on February and lasted exactly 100 hours. This phase featured a massively successful movement of the Iraqi forces. The United States used a misleading maneuver by deploying a large number of forces as if to launch a large landing. The Iraqis apparently anticipated that they also would be attacked frontally and had heavily fortified those defensive positions. The United States instead moved the bulk of its forces west and north in a major use of helicopters, attacking the Iraqis from their rear. The five weeks of intensive air attack had greatly demoralized the Iraqi front-line troops, causing wholesale desertions. Remaining front-line forces were quickly killed or taken prisoner with minimal coalition losses. Iraqi front-line commanders had already lost much of their ability to communicate with Baghdad, which made their situation even worse. On the final night of the war, within hours of the cease-fire, two U.S. Air force bombers dropped specially design ed 5,000-pound bombs on a command bunker fifteen miles northwest of Baghdad in a deliberate attempt to kill Saddam Hussein.

President Bushs decision to terminate the ground war at midnight February 8, 11 was criticized, because it allowed Baghdad to rescue a large amount of military equipment and personnel that were later used to suppress the postwar rebellions of its Shiite and Kurdish citizens. In his own defense, the president asserted that the war had accomplished its mandate. The mission, given by the Security Council, was to expel the Iraqi forces from Kuwait and reestablish Kuwaiti independence. Bushs decision was probably influenced by his desire to maintain coalition unity. A particular reason was to keep on board the Arab members, who were increasingly unhappy at the devastation inflicted on Iraqs communications, transportations, and civilian population.

Iraqi representatives accepted allied terms for a provisional truce on March and a permanent cease-fire on April 6. Iraq agreed to pay reparations to Kuwait, reveal the location and extent of its stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and eliminate its weapons of mass destruction. Afterward, UN inspectors complained that the Baghdad government was frustrating their attempts to monitor Iraqi compliance, and UN sanctions against Iraq were kept in place.

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