Gulf war 1990 is historically the second gulf war. It was between two Arab countries; Iraq and Kuwait. It is also called Kuwait liberation war or desert storm. Iraqi military called it the mother of all battles. Iraq occupied Kuwait to take it back to under their cover since athe Iraqi government used to see that Kuwait was part of their land. A coalition of 34 countries all against the Iraqi army in the Kuwaiti land. With a legislation of the United Nations, Security Council in particular, and the leadership of United States, the war took place. Gulf war is seen as one of the biggest political wars in the 20th century. It took place between august 2nd, 1990 to February 28, 1991. Meanwhile the operation desert storm ended in 1995. Iraqi government raised the issue of its neighbor is stealing oil where it was necessary to invade them to teach this tiny country a lesson as Saddam used to say.
Area in Which the Gulf War 1990 Happened:
The war was located on a massive space of the land included Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. It witnessed firing Iraqi wide range Scud missiles against some targets inside Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Allies against Iraq divided the battle on to sides; the first was the air force strike that destroyed and paralleled the Iraqi forces and the second side was mobilizing infantry forces inside the Iraq. After the invasion of Kuwait, US president George H. W. Bush started to deploy American forces into Saudi Arabian land in a step to circle the Iraqi forces in order to start the war. This operation was called the desert shield. He successfully convinced eight countries to send their troops and these countries were Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Kuwait itself. The allies’ air forces was almost 2430 fighters. The war witnessed the biggest alliance after World War II.
Causes and Background of the Gulf War 1990:
Since 19th century, Kuwait has been ruled by Al Sabah family and was inhibited by some tribes that used to trade with India. Its people was working on pearl fishing. By the end of that century, Britain showed high greed in the gulf area because of its rich oil fields. Under an agreement between Kuwait rules and the British regime, Kuwait became under the later protection. Britain interfered to protect Kuwait three times in 1920, 1961, and 1991 in the Gulf War II. Kuwait never had any ottoman troops in its land neither been under their rule by any means. The greed of its neighbor countries started when it became known for all that Kuwait has large fields of oil. Iraq has always been seeking invading Kuwait since the reign of King Ghazi bin Faisal bin Hussein who has been eagerly looking forward taking in Kuwait under his kingdom but his sudden death upon a car accident loomed without achieving this dream.
Later on 1961, Abdul Karim Qasim announced on TV that Kuwait is part of Iraq no matter what happens. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia helped Iraq with almost US$ 14 billion in a step to aid the latter country confront the Persian country. After the end of Persian war, Iraq was in debts to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia where it kept calling them to drop these debts as Iraq was defending the eastern gate for the sake of the Arabian countries to illuminate the Iranian threats ever and shut them down.
Few years later, Iraq started to publicly accuse Kuwait of doing unauthorized excavation works in the Iraqi fields specially Rumelia field. Saddam had been always looking to get rid of the Saudi Kuwaiti debts as he defended them in return. The Iraqi government had continuous fears that Iran might come back and start a war. That is why Saddam wanted to take advantages of some of the coasts of some gulf countries.
Hence, Kuwait was the best chance for him to control it and on another levels, it had the oil that his country has always been after. In addition, Iraq is very confident that Kuwait is a small country and they might not show it as invasion but a military coup of the Kuwaiti military against the ruler under the control of a Kuwaiti officer called Alaa Hussein whom in return fled to turkey and Norway. Kuwait issued a death sentence against Hussein. The world was not deceived by a fake coup however, it moved quickly to liberate Kuwait from Saddam hands.
Pre-War Iraqi American Diplomacy:
The bonds between Iraq and the US has always been cold since Iraq was one of the biggest allies of Soviet Union who in return was America’s archenemy. Iraq also was Israel biggest enemy so there was no appeal at all between both countries. Iraq used to support Abo Nidal, the Palestinian group, who was fighting against Israel. New era of good diplomatic relations started to happen when Iraq stopped to host that terrorist group, Abo Nidal. United nation, with pressure of United States, announced they do not accept Iraq using chemical mass destruction weapons in the war.
On the other hand, US used to help Iran and supply it with weapons and funds in order not to let Iraq advance more in the Persian land and used to give Iraq maps and intelligence information about the Persian enemy. Later on, America confess that it played on both sides to extend the war as much as possible. America used to supply Iraqi forces with chemical weapons under the cover of the US agriculture department deals with their Iraqi peer. The good relations of US and Iraq stopped the day Iraq decided to invade Kuwait. July 1990, the Iraqi armed forces started to mobilize to invade Kuwait. July 25, 1990, president Saddam Hussein met he American ambassador April Glaspie who transcended its country instruction that US will not interfere with the Iraqi invasion, which made Saddam believe it is a green light from the US to move forward.
The Start of Kuwait Invasion 1990:
August 2nd 1990 was the start of the invasion. Iraqi’s armored vehicles and tanks went deeply through Kuwaiti land and started to control all over the country including the Emiri guard. It was an easy win for Saddam since he found no resistance. Nevertheless, there were fierce battles around the palace of Kuwait prince, which gave him time to flee to Saudi Arabia. The Iraqi army occupied radio and television of Kuwait and started their reports about that they now rule and started to arrest thousands of Kuwaiti citizens and many of the foreign nationals who have been living there who had been used as hostages later. Iraqi forces committed severe crimes against Kuwaiti people started with stealing every single item from the markets to the extended they raped women and executed men. After the fail of Saddam regime, a tomb with 600 Kuwaiti prisoners were found in Iraq. The invaders went on sending everything they catch back to Iraq. Meanwhile the Iraqi media kept announcing that they did not invade Kuwait but they helped the military coup happening in Kuwait against the prince, which was not accepted by the world countries.
Arab States Reaction to the Gulf War 1990:
The Arab countries were not all on the same level of reacting to the gulf war. Some was against it represented in Jordan where they saw it is a great aggression to the Arabian nations. Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and liberation organization of Palestine were the same side of Jordan. Meanwhile some countries chose to stay neutral, which are Algeria and Tunis. On the contrary, Gulf countries, Egypt, Syria and Morocco were standing with the liberation of Kuwait. Secretary General at that time Dr. Alshazli Alqulibi resigned at the time when the war started.
The Preemptive Diplomacy:
After few hours of the Iraqi invasion, USA with Kuwait asked for emergency meeting for the Security Council to pass resolution 660, which has in its content serious requests represented in the withdrawal of Iraqi forces. August 3rd the Arab league had a breaking meeting discussing the situation of the region and the consequences of the invasion and how will they react against Iraq. Security Council then imposed economic penalties on Iraq. Saudi Arabia was also afraid about its oil in the region and very concerned about its land and stood firm to the Iraqi forces. Desert shield started to take place and the foreign forces started to mobilize to Iraq through the Saudi Arabian lands.
In August 7th 1990, Iraq reported that Kuwait is now part of it becoming the 19th province. Saudi Arabia hosted more the 500,000 troops. During that time, the Security Council and the Arab league kept issuing resolutions and decrees against Iraq. Resolution 678 was issued on November 29, 1990 to Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait and if they will not proceed with the withdrawal, the alliance country will do whatever it takes to fulfil the resolution #660 issued by the security council. 74% of the troops were American and later on the numbers of the mobilized troops reached 660,000.
In the same course, Iraq was defending its rights of invading Kuwait claiming that they did this for the sake of Arab countries and in order to force Israel to withdraw from Golan, Syria and the latter from Lebanon. In addition, to make sure that Israel will pull out from the western bank of Palestine and Gaza strip. These Iraqi calls found its ways to king Hussein bin Talal, kind of Jordan, King Hussein II king of Morocco, and Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian national authority.
Air Strikes to Defeat Iraq:
Iraq did not obey the resolutions of Security Council. In January 16, 1991, the allies’ air forces started flying and then destroying all the Iraqi air defense forces to have a clear paved way to troops to walk through Iraqi and Kuwaiti lands. On the contrary, Iraqi defense forces started to file missiles against vital targets in Israel, Riyadh and Zahran from Saudi Arabia on January 18, 1991. Allied used smart, cluster bombs and cruise missiles in their attacks. After finishing their first target, the coalition started moving forward with the second part of the war. Leading contact center were totally destroyed which paralyzed the Iraqi army and not every section could connect to the other neither to the war administration. The coalition defense forces destroyed 38 Meg Iraqi planes.
Iraqi forces knew their soviet planes would not go more deep inside the allies forces so they decided to change their destination to attach Iran and spilled out huge amounts of oil into the gulf waters on 23 January 1991. Over million tons of oil were spilled out. The air raids continued its work to destroy everything in Iraq and its bases in Kuwait. It is worth mentioning that the allies could send over 1000 plane raids every day from their bases in Saudi Arabia and the aircrafts carriers in the gulf waters. They went on destroying scud firing bases, military research centers, warships, power plants, contact centers, ports, bridges, railways, oil refiners, and desalination plants, which lead to many causalities in the Iraqi infrastructure that Iraq is still suffering until our date.
The Iraqi forces started to attack Saudi Arabia again in addition to attacking Israel, which, the latter, did not respond back in order not to make the Arab countries fighting against Iraq to stop their alliance and think twice. It was a tactical maneuvering from Saddam which Israel did not help him to achieve his target. He continued his war in Saudi Arabia looking for the coalition forces to attack. On his way, he occupied a strategic city called al khafji, a place where oil of the east used to be transferred through. But Saudi national guard with the help of a Qatari force could liberate the city. Hence, it was al khafji battle.
The American Ground Incursion:
February 22, 1991, Iraq agreed to a soviet suggestion to cease fire and withdrawing from the Kuwaiti lands during 3 weeks under the supervision of the Security Council, which the United States did not agree and gave the Iraqi forces 24 hours deadline to completely retreat to Baghdad. On February 24, 1991, the coalition forces could gain control of Kuwait again and two days later the Iraqi forces started their retreat after they fired all the Kuwaiti oil fields but the Americans did break their promise that they will not attack Iraqi forces on their way back but they break their word and flied over them fiercely. Later on, it was called the death road.
Consequences of the Gulf War 1990:
After the war ended, the Iraqi army was totally broken and could not do anything later for years. Military observers considered that the war will be the time for Saddam to be eliminated with did not happen until the American invasion in 2003. The American president then started funding and encouraging the Iraqi people to revolt against Saddam and it happens that a soldier target Saddam status in Al Basra, whereas observers had seen it the first spark to make an end to the reign of Saddam. The retreated army started to yell against Saddam, which is called the Iraqi Intifada of 1991.
Nevertheless, Saddam and his loyal forces could put down such strikes against him. Kurds fled to the borders of Iran and Turkey. The US government made a no-fly zone northern and southern Iraq which later caused the Kurds to have Kurdistan Iraq. Iraqi infrastructure was badly damaged which led to catastrophic problem to the Iraqi people on many social, economic, health levels.
To cut it short, the gulf war was one of the biggest wars after World War II where chemical weapons were used in spite that this was not allowed. It was a restructure to the Middle East forces domination. It gave Israel extra power to do whatever they want in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria since Iraq was very scary to Israel national security. This war is not easy. Hence, it’s a very tough lesson to those who take their nations to the stack and just pull them into a fearful, dreadful wars they can’t handle. The war also showed how bad the Iraqi diplomacy in solving their issues with their Arabic neighbors those who are supposed to be one blood.