the small Arab state of Kuwait. The order was given by Iraqidictatorial president Saddam Hussein. His aim was apparently to takecontrol Kuwait’s oil reserves (despite its small size Kuwait is a hugeoil producer; it has about 10 per cent of the world’s oil reserves ). Iraq accused Kuwait, and also the United Arab Emirates, of breakingagreements that limit oil production in the Middle East.
Accordingto Saddam Hussein, this brought down world oil prices severely andcaused financial loss of billions of dollars in Iraq’s annual revenue. Saddam Hussein had the nearly hopeless task of justifying theinvasion. He plead the fact that Kuwait had been part of the Ottomanprovince of Basra, a city in the south of Iraq. However, the Ottomanprovince collapsed after World War I and today’s Iraqi borders werenot created until then. There was also a further and more obviousblunder in a bid to justify this illegal invasion. Baghdad, thecapital of Iraq, had namely recognized Kuwaiti independence in 1963.
Furthermore, Hussein claimed that Kuwait had illegally pumped oil fromthe Iraqi oil field of Rumaila and otherwise conspired to reduceIraq’s essential oil income. By invading Kuwait, Iraq succeeded in surprising the entireworld. The USA ended her policy of accommodating Saddam Hussein, whichhad existed since the Iran-Iraq war. Negative attitude toward Iraq wassoon a worldwide phenomenon.
The United Nations Security Councilpassed 12 resolutions condemning the invasion. The ultimate decisionwas to use military force if Iraq did not withdraw unconditionallyby January 15, 1991. Then, when the deadline was set, it was time tostart preparing for the worst-the war. President George Bushconfronted little difficulty in winning Americans’ support for thepotential war against Iraq. However, the government found it difficultto decide upon and state one overriding reason for going to war.
Wasit to oppose aggression or was it just to protect global oil supplies?Other powers were more directly concerned as consumers of Persian Gulfoil, but they were not as eager to commit military force, to risktheir youth in battle and to pay for the costs of the war. Critics ofPresident Bush continued to maintain that he was taking advantage ofthe issue of energy supplies in order to manipulate the U. S. publicopinion in favor of war. After consulting with U. S.
Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney inearly August 1990, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia invited American troopsonto Saudi soil. He had seen Kuwait’s destiny; therefore, he wantedprotection. It was also the interest of the USA to stop any furtheradvantage of the Iraqi army. The deployment was called “OperationDesert Shield. ” These troops were armed with light, defensiveweaponry. On November 8, 1990 President Bush announced a military buildupto provide an offensive option, “Operation Desert Storm,” to forceIraq out of Kuwait.
The preparation of the operation took two anda half months and it involved a massive air- and sea lift. Finally, inJanuary 1991, the U. S. Congress voted to support Security Councilresolution 660. It authorized using “all necessary means” if Iraq didnot withdraw from Kuwait by January 15. Shrugging off this finalwarning, Saddam Hussein resolutely maintained the occupation ofKuwait.
The United States established a broad-based internationalcoalition to confront Iraq militarily and diplomatically. Themilitary 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 UnitedStates. The war also was financed by countries which were unableto send in troops. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait were the main donors. Morethan $53 billion was pledged and received. Before the war, it appeared obvious that Iraq would have verylittle chance against the Coalition.
The relative strength between theparties was extremely unequal. The most critical difference was thatthe Coalition had a total of 2600 aircraft, over three times morethan Iraq’s 800 aircraft. Most Arab observers thought Hussein wouldnot last more than six months. Lieutenant General Khalid bin Sultan,the commander of the Arab coalition forces, gave Iraq’s leader only 40days, and repeated this prediction many times. Iraq’s prospect wasdreary.
President George Bush waited two days after the UN deadline forIraqi withdrawal from Kuwait before ordering the Coalition to beginaction against Iraq. The winds of Desert Storm began howling acrossIraq on January 17, 1991, at 2. 30 am Baghdad time. Bhagdad was bombedfiercely by the coalition’s fighter airplanes in the first night ofthe war. An interesting fact is that several weeks before this, USintelligence agents successfully inserted a computer virus into Iraq’smilitary computers. It was designed to disable much of Baghdad’sair-defense system.
To minimize casualties, the coalition forces, under the commandof U. S. General Norman Schwarzkopf, pursued a strategy beginning withfive weeks of intensive air attacks and ending with a ground assault. Drawing on its 1,800 planes, land- and carrier-based, the UnitedStates flew the greatest number of sorties.
The British, French, andSaudis made up most of the rest. Besides the tremendous air power, thecoalition deployed technologically advanced weapon systems, such asthe unmanned Tomahawk cruise missile, advanced infrared targeting thatilluminated Iraqi tanks buried in the, sand and laser-guided bombs,“smart bombs. ” Its use of brand new aircraft that never before hadbeen engaged in combat, such as British Tornados and U. S. F-117AStealth fighters, gave the Coalition an accuracy and firepower thatoverwhelmed the Iraqi forces. The large-scale usage of air force andlatest technology made the war short and saved great numbers ofCoalition soldiers’ lives.
After establishing air superiority, coalition forces disabledIraq’s command and control centers, especially in Baghdad and AlBashrah. This caused the communication to fail between Baghdad and thetroops in the field. The next stage was to attack relentlessly Iraq’sinfantry, which was dug in along the Saudi-Kuwaiti border, and theelite 125,000 man Republican Guard in southeastern Iraq and northernKuwait. Iraq retaliated by using mobile launchers to fire Scudmissiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel, a noncombatant coalition. Overall, Hussein’s forces launched 93 Scuds.
The United Statescountered this threat with Patriot antimissile missiles, called also“Scudbusters,” and commando attacks on Scud launchers. Patriot missiles gave an engagement rate of nearly 96 per cent. The coalition’s air raids on Iraq’s infantry lowered Iraqi soldiers’morale dramatically. It is easy to sense in the following quote froman Iraqi lieutenant’s war diary the powerlessness and fear that thesoldiers felt during air attacks by the Coalition:“2 February 1991 I was awakened this morning by the noise of anenemy air raid. I ran and hid in the nearby trench.
I had breakfastand afterwards something indescribable happened. Two enemy planescame toward us and began firing at us, in turn, with missiles,machine guns, and rockets. I was almost killed. Death was a yardaway from me. The missiles, machine guns and rockets didn’t let up.
One of the rockets hit and pierced our shelter, which waspenetrated by shrapnel. Over and over we said, “Allah, Allah,Allah. ” One tank burned and three other tanks belonging to 3rdCompany, which we were with, were destroyed. That was a very badexperience. Time passed and we waited to die.
The munitions dump ofthe 68th Tank Battalion exploded. A cannon shell fell on one of thesoldiers’ positions, but, thank God, no one was there. The soldierswere somewhere else. The attack lasted about 15 minutes, but itseemed like a year to me. I read chapters in the Qur’an.
How hardit is to be killed by someone you don’t know, you’ve never seenand, can’t confront. He is in the sky and you’re on the ground. Ourground resistance is magnificent. After the air raid, I gavegreat thanks to God and joined some soldiers to ask how each ofthem was.
While I was doing that, another air attack began. 2February at 2000 hours. ”The ground war began at 8:00 p. m. on February 23 and lasted exactly100 hours.
This phase featured a massively successful outflankingmovement of the Iraqi forces. Schwarzkopf used a deceptive maneuver bydeploying a large number of forces as if to launch a large amphibiouslanding. The Iraqis apparently anticipated that they also would beattacked frontally and had heavily fortified those defensivepositions. Schwarzkopf instead moved the bulk of his forces west andnorth in a major use of helicopters, attacking the Iraqis from theirrear. The five weeks of intensive air attack had greatly demoralizedthe Iraqi front-line troops, causing wholesale desertions. Remainingfront-line forces were quickly killed or taken prisoner with minimalcoalition losses.
Iraqi front-line commanders had already lost much of theirability to communicate with Baghdad, which made their situation evenworse. On the final night of the war, within hours of the cease-fire,two U. S. Air force bombers dropped specially designed 5,000-poundbombs on a command bunker fifteen miles northwest of Baghdad in adeliberate attempt to kill Saddam Hussein. President Bush’s decisionto terminate the ground war at midnight February 28, 1991 wascriticized, because it allowed Baghdad to rescue a large amount ofmilitary equipment and personnel that were later used to suppress thepostwar rebellions of its Shiite and Kurdish citizens.
In his owndefense, the president asserted that the war had accomplished itsmandate. The mission, given by the Security Council, was to expel theIraqi forces from Kuwait and reestablish Kuwaiti independence. Bush’sdecision was probably influenced by his desire to maintain coalitionunity. A particular reason was to keep on board the Arab members, whowere increasingly unhappy at the devastation inflicted on Iraq’sinfrastructure and civilian population. Iraqi representatives accepted allied terms for a provisionaltruce on March 3 and a permanent cease-fire on April 6.
Iraq agreed topay reparations to Kuwait, reveal the location and extent of itsstockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and eliminate itsweapons of mass destruction. Subsequently, however, UN inspectorscomplained that the Baghdad government was frustrating their attemptsto monitor Iraqi compliance, and UN sanctions against Iraq were keptin place. The following chart shows total equipment and casualties ofthe Gulf War. In addition, 300,000 Iraqi soldiers were wounded,150,000 were deserted, and 60,000 were taken prisoner (an estimate ofU. S.
Defense Intelligence Agency). The United States suffered 148killed in action, 458 wounded, and 11 female combat deaths. 121 werekilled in nonhostile actions; they were mostly victims of friendlyfire.Table 01; Total Equipment and Casualties of Gulf WarIRAQ COALITIONLOST – ON HAND – LOST ON – HANDTANKS: 4000 4230 4 3360ARTILLERY: 2140 3110 1 3633ARMORED PERSONNEL CARRIERS: 1856 2870 9 4050HELICOPTERS: 7 160 17 1951AIRCRAFT: 240 800 44 2600SOLDIERS: 100000 545000 200 680000