International Affairs Military Studies Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Iraq invaded Kuwait. The invasion lasted a few days and on August 8th Iraq announced that Kuwait was its nineteenth province. The same day the invasion began, the United Nations denounced the attack and passed Resolution 660, which condemned the Iraqi invasion and called for immediate and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. The United States began mobilizing its military on August 7th.

By the time the UN deadline arrived in January of 1991, The United States had amassed hundreds of thousands of troops in the Persian Gulf Region. The war began on January 17th with bombing sorties. Over the next month, 67,000 sorties would be flown over Iraq. Operation Desert Storm was launched on February 24th, and Coalition ground forces entered the fight. The war was won in less than four days. The cease-fire began on 8am, February 28th. Iraq was defeated and Kuwait was liberated.

In a strategic sense, Operation Desert Storm was beautifully planned and executed. Every goal set by the President was achieved and Coalition casualties were minor. In virtually every sense of the word, Operation Desert Storm was a success.

The crisis that culminated in Coalition victory against Iraq has its roots many years earlier. Since the 1930s, Iraq has maintained the position that Kuwait is not its own nation and has historically been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. As Iraq was recognized as the successors of the Ottomans, this meant that Kuwait was supposed to be under their sovereignty. Kuwait, however, was granted its independence in 1961 and recognized by the United Nations as a legal entity. Despite this, Iraq refused to release their claim on Kuwait. In addition, there was a dispute over the exact location of the Iraq-Kuwait border, even though the United Nations recognized the observed border. This of course resulted in much tension between the two neighboring nations over the years. This tension was brought to a boil in 1990 as Kuwait defied its OPEC maximum quotas and produced a surplus of oil, thereby adversely affecting the price of oil for the other OPEC nations. This appeared to be a last straw for Iraq. In an effort to ease tensions, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia hosted talks between the two nations. Their goal was to discuss the oil price issue and Iraq's border disputes. After one day of heated talks, Iraq left the bargaining table. Two days later the invasion of Kuwait began. Despite the condemnation of its neighbors and the UN, Iraq refused to relinquish its hold.

Before and during the crisis, there had been numerous attempts to dissuade Iraq from its chosen course. These diplomatic efforts were to no avail, as Iraq seemed purposefully blind to the consequences of its actions. Saddam Hussein led his people in a great folly and, like a madman drunk with power yet hungering for more, he shook his fist at the rest of the world as he amassed his forces on the border with Saudi Arabia. In the five months between his invasion and the initial air strikes of the coalition, no action, be it diplomatic or economic; could make him rethink the wisdom of his plans. From the beginning, the crisis appeared imminent, like nothing could stop it from occurring.

However, recently, a document has surface that sheds a different light on the days leading up to the crisis. It is a transcript of…

Sources Used in Documents:


April Glaspie Transcript." What Really Happened. 1996. What Really Happened. 9 Mar 2004

Chronology of the Kuwait Crisis." The Kuwait Information Office. 2004. The Kuwait

Information Office. 9 Mar 2004

Final Report to Congress: Conduct of the Persian Gulf War." Apr 1992. The National Security Archive 11 Feb 2004. George Washington University. 9 Mar 2004

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