Persian Gulf War-the Feat of the Western Countries

On August 2nd, 1990 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 Kuwait's oil reserves (despite its small size Kuwait is a huge oil producer; it has about 10 per cent of the world's 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 Iraq's 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 today's 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 1963. Furthermore, Hussein claimed that Kuwait had illegally pumped oil from the Iraqi oil field of Rumaila and otherwise conspired to reduce Iraq's essential oil income.

By invading Kuwait, Iraq succeeded in surprising the entire world. The USA ended her policy of accommodating Saddam Hussein, which had existed since the Iran-Iraq war. Negative attitude toward Iraq was soon a worldwide phenomenon. The United Nations Security Council passed 12 resolutions condemning the invasion. The ultimate decision was to use military force if Iraq did not withdraw unconditionally by January 15, 1991. Then, when the deadline was set, it was time to start preparing for the worst-the war.

President George Bush confronted little difficulty in winning Americans' support for the potential war against Iraq. However, the government found it difficult to decide upon and state one overriding reason for going to war. Was it to oppose aggression or was it just to protect global oil supplies? Other powers were more directly concerned as consumers of Persian Gulf oil, but they were not as eager to commit military force, to risk their youth in battle and to pay for the costs of the war. Critics of President Bush continued to maintain that he was taking advantage of the issue of energy supplies in order to manipulate the U. S. public opinion in favor of war.

After consulting with U. S. Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney in early August 1990, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia invited American troops onto Saudi soil. He had seen Kuwait's destiny; therefore, he wanted protection. It was also the interest of the USA to stop any further advantage of the Iraqi army. The deployment was called "Operation Desert Shield." These troops were armed with light, defensive weaponry.

On November 8, 1990 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 1991, 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. Shrugging off this final warning, 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 $53 billion was pledged and received.

Before the war, it appeared obvious that Iraq would have very little chance against the Coalition. The relative strength between the parties was extremely unequal. The most critical difference was that the Coalition had a total of 2600 aircraft, over three times more than Iraq's 800 aircraft. Most Arab observers thought Hussein would not last more than six months. Lieutenant General Khalid bin Sultan, the commander of the Arab coalition forces, gave Iraq's