Saddam vs. the World: Your Ultimate Guide to the First Gulf War

Warfare History Network
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Warfare History Network

Security, Middle East

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Saddam vs. the World: Your Ultimate Guide to the First Gulf War

On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait with the aim of annexing the country. Within a week, U.S. forces began arriving in Saudi Arabia. Having received the support of the United Nations, the United States formed a coalition of 34 nations to liberate Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm began on January 16, 1991, and achieved its goal in less than two months.

I. Invasion & Troop Deployment

July 15, 1990 – Having drained his country’s finances in a protracted eight-year war against Iran, Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein decided to conquer the rich neighboring country of Kuwait. Saddam claims Kuwait is stealing oil from Iraq’s Rumaylah oil field on the two countries’ border. His first overt move is to order his elite Republican Guard units to the border of Kuwait to intimidate the Kuwaitis.

August 2 – After misleading Arab and western nations into believing he has no real intention to invade Kuwait, Saddam invades Kuwait with an army of 100,000 men and 200 tanks. The Kuwaiti royal family takes refuge in Saudi Arabia. The United Nations condemns the invasion through U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 660.

August 7 – The United States sends advance elements of what will become a large U.S. military force to Saudi Arabia. Ultimately, the U.S.-led coalition will field 670,000 troops, of which 425,000 are from the United States.

II. Operation Desert Storm

November 29 – UNSCR 678 sets January 15, 1991, as the date that Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait or face armed expulsion by the U.S.-led coalition, which has the support of the United Nations.

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