USAF F-15 Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft flying over burning oil wells (set alight by retreating Iraqi forces) during Desert Storm.
| UN Coalition
|| Republic of Iraq
| Norman Schwarzkopf,
Michel Roquejeoffre ,
Peter de la Billière,
Khalid bin Sultan,
Mohamed Hussein Tantawi
| Saddam Hussein
|see section below
The Gulf War or the Persian Gulf War (2 August 1990–28 February 1991) was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force of approximately 30 nations led by the United States and mandated by the United Nations in order to liberate Kuwait.
The conflict is known by numerous alternative names that reflect the historical, political, and journalistic views of different groups and regions. These include Gulf War, Persian Gulf War, War in the Gulf, 1990 Gulf War, Second Persian Gulf War (to distinguish it from the Iran-Iraq War), Gulf War Sr. or First Persian Gulf War (to distinguish it from the 2003 Iraq War), Liberation of Kuwait, and War of Kuwait. Operation Desert Storm was the U.S. name of the airland operations and is often used to refer to the conflict.
It was actually the second of three Persian Gulf Wars fought between western allies and a theoretically independent Iraq. The first , also known as the Anglo-Iraqi War, had been fomented by Nazi Germany (which supplied aircraft in Iraqi markings with German crews) to draw Allied forces away from campaigns for the Mediterranean and the Western Desert during the parallel Second World War. In that tradition, many historians label it, therefore, as the Second Gulf War (although, for the British Army, it also brought back memories of the Great War Mesopotamian campaign).
Five days after Iraq invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990, the United States started to deploy Army, Navy, Marine, Air Force, and Coast Guard units to Saudi Arabia with the Saudi doubted allegation that Iraq was preparing to invade their country (Operation Desert Shield), while at the same time urging other countries to send their own forces to the scene. U.S. coalition-building efforts were so successful that by the time the fighting (Operation Desert Storm) began on January 17, 1991, twelve countries had sent naval forces, joining the local navies of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as the huge array of the U.S. Navy, with no fewer than six aircraft-carrier battle groups; eight countries had sent ground forces, joining the local troops of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the seventeen heavy, six light brigades of the U.S. Army and nine Marine regiments, with all their vast support and service forces and four countries had sent combat aircraft, joining the local air forces of Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, as well as the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Marine aviation, for a grand total of 2,430 fixed-wing aircraft. Against them, the Iraqis deployed only a few gunboats and small missile craft to match the coalition's armada; but on the other hand, some 1.2 million ground troops with about 5,800 tanks, 5,100 other armored vehicles, and 3,850 artillery pieces made for impressive ground strength. With 750 fighters and bombers, 200 other aircraft, and elaborate missile and gun defenses, Iraqi air strength also seemed formidable. However, the tanks used by Iraqis were mostly copies of 50 year old Soviet design and the shells these tanks used had Chinese steel penetrators or Soviet penetrators, which were decommissioned in 1970's, because they were outdated then (in 1970's). The same situation held for other branches of Iraqi military.
The war developed out of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, following Iraqi contentions that Kuwait was illegally slant-drilling petroleum across Iraq’s border. The invasion was met with immediate economic sanctions by the UN against Iraq. There were several Iraqi proposals that were rejected by the U.S. such as those involving withdrawal if Israel withdraws from the 1967 territories or the lifting of sanctions . The Gulf War began on January 1991, resulting in a decisive victory for the coalition forces, which drove Iraqi forces out of Kuwait with minimal coalition deaths. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait and bordering areas of Saudi Arabia. Iraq also launched missiles against targets in Saudi Arabia and Israel.
 Pre-war Iraqi-American relations
 Pre Iran-Iraq war
To the U.S., Iran-Iraqi relations were stable, and Iraq had been chiefly an ally of the Soviet Union. The U.S. was concerned with Iraq’s belligerence toward Israel and disapproval of moves towards peace between Israel and Egypt. It also condemned Iraqi support for various Arab and Palestinian militant groups such as Abu Nidal, which led to its inclusion on the incipient U.S. list of state sponsors of international terrorism on December 29, 1979. The U.S. remained officially neutral during the outbreak of hostilities in the Iran-Iraq War, possibly due to the public out-cry over the 444-day long Iranian hostage crisis (1979-1981); with former U.S. president Ronald Reagan taking his oath of office coincidentally several minutes before the crises ended , perhaps that furthered the neutrality position in order to move the political discourse in the U.S. away from the recent bureaucratic bungling in the hostage crisis. In March 1982, however, Iran began a successful counteroffensive (Operation Undeniable Victory). In a bid to open the possibility of relations to Iraq, the country was removed from the list of state sponsors of terrorism. Ostensibly this was because of improvement in the regime’s record, although former United States Assistant Secretary of Defense Noel Koch later stated, "No one had any doubts about [the Iraqis'] continued involvement in terrorism... The real reason was to help them succeed in the war against Iran." With Iran's newfound success in the war and its rebuff of a peace offer in July, arms sales to Iraq from other states (most importantly the USSR, France, Egypt, and starting that year, China) reached a record spike in 1982, but an obstacle remained to any potential U.S.-Iraqi relationship - Abu Nidal continued to operate with official support in Baghdad. When the group was expelled to Syria in November 1983, the Reagan administration sent Donald Rumsfeld as a special envoy to cultivate ties.
 U.S. military aid to Iraq
Because of fears that revolutionary Iran would defeat Iraq and export its Islamic Revolution to other Middle Eastern nations, the U.S. began giving aid to Iraq. From 1983 to 1990, the U.S. government approved around $200 million in arms sales to Iraq, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). These sales amounted to less than 1% of the total arms sold to Iraq in the relevant period, including helicopters which, although designated for civilian use, were immediately deployed by Iraq in its war with Iran.
An investigation by the Senate Banking Committee in 1994 determined that the U.S. Department of Commerce had approved, for the purpose of research, the shipping of dual-use biological agents to Iraq during the mid-1980s, including Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), later identified by the Pentagon as a key component of the Iraqi biological warfare program, as well as Clostridium botulinum, Histoplasma capsulatum, Brucella melitensis, and Clostridium perfringens. The Committee report noted that each of these had been "considered by various nations for use in war." Declassified U.S. government documents indicate that the U.S. government had confirmed that Iraq was using chemical weapons (but not biological weapons that the agents being exported could have been used for) "almost daily" during the Iran-Iraq conflict as early as 1983. The chairman of the Senate committee, Don Riegle, said: “The executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think it’s a devastating record”.
The level of U.S. covert aid to Iraq during this period is difficult to quantify. Saddam Hussein is widely known to have received battlefield “intelligence” from the U.S . This, corresponding with other facts, leaks and rumors, is seen by many as an indicator of substantial CIA involvement during the era. This remains unproven, however.
 U.S. economic aid to Iraq
Chiefly, the U.S. government provided Iraq with economic aid. Iraq’s war with Iran, and the consequent disruption in its oil export business, had caused the country to enter a deep debt. U.S. government economic assistance allowed Hussein to continue using resources for the war which otherwise would have to have been diverted. Between 1983 and 1990, Iraq received $5 billion in export credit guarantees from the Commodity Credit Corporation program run by the Department of Agriculture, beginning at $400 million per year in 1983 and increasing to over $1 billion per year in 1988 and 1989, finally coming to an end after another $500 million was granted in 1990. Besides agricultural credits, the U.S. also provided Hussein with other loans. In 1985 the U.S. Export-Import Bank extended more than $684 million in credits to Iraq to build an oil pipeline through Jordan with the construction being undertaken by Californian construction firm Bechtel Corporation.
 Cooling of relations
Following the war, however, there were moves within the Congress of the United States to isolate Iraq diplomatically and economically over concerns about human rights violations, its dramatic military build-up, and hostility to Israel. Specifically, in 1988 the Senate passed the “Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988,” which imposed sanctions on Iraq. The bill was not, however, adopted by the House. These moves were disowned by some Congressmen though some U.S. officials, such as Reagan's head of Policy Planning Staff at the State Department and Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs Paul Wolfowitz disagreed with giving support to the Iraqi regime .
The relationship between Iraq and the United States remained unhindered until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait. On October 2, 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed secret National Security Directive 26, which begins, “Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area are vital to U.S. national security.”
With respect to Iraq, the directive stated, "Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer term interests and promote stability in both the Persian Gulf and the Middle East."
It has been noted that after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, the United States had both direct and indirect reasons for a cooling of relations between the United States and Iraq. For example, the direct interest that the Western powers had in oil supplies from the Middle East meant that it would be undesirable for Iraq to dominate a large proportion of these supplies. Indirectly, in terms of the geopolitics, it was further undesirable that there should be an Iraqi hegemony in the Gulf. 
 Eve of the invasion
In late July, 1990, as negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait stalled, Iraq massed troops on Kuwait’s borders and summoned American Ambassador April Glaspie to an unanticipated meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Two transcripts of that meeting have been produced, both of them controversial. In them, Saddam outlined his grievances against Kuwait, while promising that he would not invade Kuwait before one more round of negotiations. In the version published by The New York Times on September 23, 1990, Glaspie expressed concern over the troop buildup, but went on to say:
"We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait. I was in the American Embassy in Kuwait during the late ’60s. The instruction we had during this period was that we should express no opinion on this issue and that the issue is not associated with America. James Baker has directed our official spokesmen to emphasize this instruction. We hope you can solve this problem using any suitable methods via [Chadli] Klibi [then Arab League General Secretary] or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly."
Some have interpreted these statements as diplomatic language signaling an American "green light" for the invasion. Although the State Department did not confirm (or deny) the authenticity of these transcripts, U.S. sources say that it handled everything “by the book” (in accordance with the U.S.’s official neutrality on the Iraq-Kuwait issue) and had not signaled to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein any approval for defying the Arab League’s Jeddah crisis squad, which had conducted the negotiations. Many believe that Saddam may have been influenced by the perception that the US was not interested in the issue, for which the Glaspie transcript is merely an example, and that he may have felt so in part because of U.S. support for the reunification of Germany, another act that he considered to be nothing more than the nullification of an artificial, internal border. Others, such as Kenneth Pollack, believe he had no such illusion, or that he simply underestimated the extent of American military response.
In November 1989, CIA director William Webster met with the Kuwaiti head of security, Brigadier Fahd Ahmed Al-Fahd. Subsequent to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, Iraq claimed to have found a memorandum pertaining to their conversation. The Washington Post reported that Kuwait’s foreign minister fainted when confronted with this document at an Arab summit in August. Later, Iraq cited this memorandum as evidence of a CIA - Kuwaiti plot to destabilize Iraq economically and politically. The CIA and Kuwait have described the meeting as routine and the memorandum as a forgery. The purported document reads in part:
"We agreed with the American side that it was important to take advantage of the deteriorating economic situation in Iraq in order to put pressure on that country's government to delineate our common border. The Central Intelligence Agency gave us its view of appropriate means of pressure, saying that broad cooperation should be initiated between us on condition that such activities be coordinated at a high level."
 Diplomacy/Operation Desert Shield
 UN Resolution
Within hours of the invasion, Kuwaiti and US delegations requested a meeting of the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 660, condemning the invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops. On August 3, the Arab League passed its own resolution . The resolution also called for a solution to the conflict from within the League, and warned against foreign intervention. On August 6, UN Resolution 661 placed economic sanctions on Iraq.
 Possibility of attack on Saudi Arabia
The decision by the West to fight the Iraqi invasion had as much to do with preventing an attack on Saudi Arabia, a nation of far more economic importance to the world than Kuwait, as it did with liberating Kuwait itself. The rapid success of the Iraqi army had brought it within easy striking distance of the Hama oil fields, Saudi Arabia’s most valuable resource. Iraqi control of these fields as well as Kuwait and Iraqi reserves would have given it a way into the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The Iraqi armored divisions would have encountered the same difficulties that Saudi forces faced defending the oil fields, namely traversing large distances across inhospitable desert. This would have been exacerbated by intense bombing by the Saudi Air Force, by far the most modern arm of the Saudi military.
Iraq had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The concern over debts stemming from the Iran-Iraq war was even greater when applied to Saudi Arabia, which Iraq owed some 26 billion dollars. The long desert border was also ill-defined. Soon after his victory over Kuwait, Saddam began verbally attacking the Saudi kingdom. He argued that the American-supported country was an illegitimate guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Saddam combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis.
The addition of “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Great”) to the flag of Iraq and images of Saddam praying in Kuwait were seen as part of a plan to win the support of the Muslim Brotherhood and detach Islamist Mujahideen from Saudi Arabia. There was further escalation of propaganda attacks on Saudi Arabia as western troops poured into the country.
Operation Desert Shield
The battleship USS Wisconsin
was one of many naval vessels deployed for Operation Desert Shield, and marked one of the few post-World War II
times that battleships participated in actual combat operations.
In 1980 then President Jimmy Carter issued the Carter Doctrine, which states in part that
"...an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."
President Ronald Reagan expanded this further in 1981 by declaring that the United States would use force to protect Saudi Arabia, whose security at the time was threatened after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq War. Acting on this authority, and out of fear the Iraqi army could launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia, President George H. W. Bush quickly announced that the U.S. would launch a "wholly defensive" mission to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia - Operation Desert Shield - and US troops moved into Saudi Arabia on August 7, 1990. On August 8, Iraq declared parts of Kuwait to be extensions of the Iraqi province of Basra and the rest to be the 19th province of Iraq.
The United States Navy mobilized two naval battle groups, the aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS Independence and their escorts, to the area, where they were ready by August 8. 48 US Air Force F-15s from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, landed in Saudi Arabia and immediately commenced round the clock air patrols of the Saudi-Kuwait-Iraq border areas to prevent further Iraqi advances. The U.S. also sent two battleship battle groups centered around the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin to the region; these would become the last battleships to actively participate in a war. Military buildup continued from there, eventually reaching 500,000 troops. Much of the material was airlifted or carried to the staging areas via fast sealift ships, allowing a quick buildup. The consensus among military analysts is nonetheless that until October, the American military forces in the area would have been insufficient to stop an invasion of Saudi Arabia had Iraq attempted one.
 Building a coalition
A long series of UN Security Council and Arab League resolutions were passed regarding the conflict. One of the most important was Resolution 678, passed on November 29, giving Iraq a withdrawal deadline of January 15, 1991, and authorizing “all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660,” a diplomatic formulation authorizing the use of force.
The United States, especially Secretary of State James Baker, assembled a coalition of forces to join it in opposing Iraq, consisting of forces from 34 countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, 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 itself. US troops represented 74% of the coalition’s 660,000 troops in Iraq. Many of the coalition forces were reluctant to join; some felt that the war was an internal Arab affair, or feared increasing American influence in Kuwait. In the end, many nations were persuaded by Iraq’s belligerence towards other Arab states, and offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness.
 Justifying the war
The United States and the United Nations gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict. The most important reason was the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity. In addition, the United States moved quickly to support its long-time ally, Saudi Arabia, whose importance in the region and as a key supplier of oil made it of considerable geopolitical importance.
During a speech given on September 11, 1990, George H.W. Bush made the following remarks: "Within 3 days, 120,000 Iraqi troops with 850 tanks had poured into Kuwait and moved south to threaten Saudi Arabia. It was then that I decided to act to check that aggression." Satellite photos showing a build up of Iraqi forces along the border were the supposed source of this information. Jean Heller, an investigative reporter on the St Petersburg Times decided to investigate. Satellite photos from a commercial satellite owned by Iraq's ally--Soyuz Karta--were obtained for around US$ 3,000. On January 6, 1991 she wrote an article detailing what had been found, titled "Photos Don't Show Buildup." The photos were reviewed by several experts and did not show any evidence to support the claims of George H.W. Bush. No buildup of troops in anywhere near the amounts stated by the President were visible in the photos, although Heller admitted that "(a)nother possibility is that the Soviets deliberately or accidentally produced a photo taken before the Iraqi invasion".
Although the story by Jean Heller never made it into mainstream press, some Americans were dissatisfied with the explanations and “No Blood For Oil” became a rallying cry for domestic opponents of the war, though they never reached the size of opposition to the Vietnam War. Later justifications for the war included Iraq’s history of human rights abuses under President Saddam Hussein. Saddam was also suspected of possessing chemical weapons (which he had previously used against his own people and against Iranian troops) and biological weapons and was known to be attempting to build atomic bombs, providing further justification beyond his violation of Kuwaiti integrity.
Although the human rights abuses of the Iraq regime before and after the Kuwait invasion were well-documented, the government of Kuwait set out to influence American opinion with a few accounts. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the organization Citizens for a Free Kuwait was formed in the U.S. It hired the public relations firm Hill & Knowlton for about $11 million, paid by the Kuwaiti government. This firm went on to manufacture a campaign in which a nurse working in the Kuwait City hospital described Iraqi soldiers pulling babies out of incubators and letting them die on the floor. The story was an influence in tipping both the public and Congress towards a war with Iraq: six Congressmen said the testimony was enough for them to support military action against Iraq and seven Senators referenced the testimony in debate. The Senate supported the military actions in a 52-47 vote. One year later, however, this allegation was labeled a fabricated hoax. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family living in Paris during the war, and therefore could not have been present during the alleged crime. (See Nurse Nayirah.)
 Final peace proposals
Various peace proposals were floated, but none were agreed to. The United States insisted that the only acceptable terms for peace were Iraq's full, unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait. Iraq insisted that withdrawal from Kuwait must be “linked” to a simultaneous withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon and Israeli troops from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon. Morocco and Jordan were persuaded by this proposal, but Syria, Israel, and the anti-Iraq coalition denied that there was any connection to the Kuwait issue. Syria joined the coalition to expel Saddam but Israel remained officially neutral despite rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. The Bush administration persuaded Israel to remain outside the conflict with promises of increased aid, while the PLO under Yasser Arafat openly supported Saddam Hussein, leading to a later rupture in Palestinian-Kuwaiti ties and the expulsion of many Palestinians from Kuwait. 
On January 12, 1991 the United States Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The votes were 52-47 in the Senate and 250-183 in the House. These were the closest margins in authorizing force by the Congress since the War of 1812. Soon after, the other states in the coalition also authorized force.
 Air campaign
combat aircraft flying over burning oil wells
(set alight by retreating Iraqi forces) during Desert Storm.
 Main air campaign starts
A day after the deadline set in Resolution, the coalition launched a massive air campaign codenamed Operation Desert Storm with more than 1,000 sorties launching per day. It all began on January 17, 1991, when eight U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters destroyed Iraqi radar sites near the Iraqi-Saudi Arabian border at 2:38 A.M. Baghdad time, which could have warned Iraq of an upcoming attack. At 2:43 A.M. two EF-111 Ravens with terrain following radar led 22 F-15E Strike Eagles against H-2 and H-3 - airfields in Western Iraq. Minutes later one of the EF-111 crews -- Captain James Denton and Captain Brent Brandon -- scored a kill against an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 into the ground.
- No Allied Aircraft was lost to a radar-guided missile during Desert Storm while an EF-111 was on station.
 At 3 A.M., ten U.S. F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighters under the protection of a three-ship of EF-111s bombed Baghdad, the capital.
Concurrently, U.S. Navy BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles struck targets in Baghdad, and other coalition aircraft struck targets throughout Iraq. The attack continued for hours. Government headquarters, Iraqi TV stations, Iraqi Air Force fields and Presidential Palaces were destroyed. Five hours after the first attacks, Baghdad state radio broadcast a voice identified as Saddam Hussein declaring that “The great duel, the mother of all battles has begun. The dawn of victory nears as this great showdown begins.”
The Persian Gulf War is sometimes called the “computer war”precision-guided munitions (or “smart bombs”) and cruise missiles. Cluster munitions and BLU-82 “Daisy Cutters” were also used. Iraq responded by launching 8 Scud missiles into Israel the next day. The first priority for Coalition forces was destruction of the Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities. This was quickly achieved, and for the duration of the war, Coalition aircraft could operate largely unchallenged. Despite Iraq’s better-than-expected anti-aircraft capabilities, only one coalition aircraft, an FA-18 flown by LCDR Scott Speicher, was lost in the opening day of the war. EA-6Bs, EF-111 radar jammers and F-117A stealth planes were heavily used in this phase to elude Iraq’s extensive SAM systems and anti-aircraft weapons; once these were destroyed, other types of aircraft could more safely be used. The sorties were launched mostly from Saudi Arabia and the six Coalition aircraft carrier battle groups (CVBG) in the Persian Gulf and Red Sea. Persian Gulf CVBGs included USS Midway (CV 41), USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and USS Ranger (CV-61). USS America (CV-66), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), and USS Saratoga (CV-60) operated from the Red Sea (USS America transitioned to the Persian Gulf midway through the air war).
because of the advanced weapons used in the air campaign which included
The next coalition targets were command and communication facilities. Saddam had closely micromanaged the Iraqi forces in the Iran-Iraq War and initiative at the lower levels was discouraged. Coalition planners hoped Iraqi resistance would quickly collapse if deprived of command and control.
 Iraq's air force escapes to Iran
F-14 Tomcats from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf await their turn refuelling from a KC-10A over Iraq during Desert Storm while conducting BONGCAP mission to stop fleeing Iraqi fighters.
The first week of the air war saw a few Iraqi sorties; but these did little damage, and thirty-eight Iraqi MiGs were shot down by Coalition planes. Soon after, the Iraqi Air Force began fleeing to Iran, with 115 to 140 aircraft flown to Iran. The mass exodus of Iraqi aircraft to Iran took coalition forces by surprise and they were unable to react before most of the Iraqi aircraft had made it "safely" to Iranian airbases. The coalition eventually established a virtual "wall" of F-14 Tomcat fighters on the Iraq border with Iran (called MIGCAP) thereby stopping the exodus of fleeing Iraqi fighters. Iran has never returned the aircraft to Iraq and did not release the aircrews to return home until years later.
 Persian Gulf War oil spill
On January 23, Iraq was accused of dumping approximately 1 million tons of crude oil into the gulf, causing the largest oil spill in history. This was denied by the Iraqi government, who claimed that the allied bombing campaign had damaged and destroyed Iraqi oil tankers that were docked at the time. It was reported that a deliberate natural resources attack to keep U.S. Marine forces from coming ashore. The Gulf War hostilities were slowed based on cease fire agreements in 1991. Operation Southern Watch followed the Gulf War which continued up until the Global War on Terror.
 Infrastructure bombing
The third and largest phase of the air campaign targeted military targets throughout Iraq and Kuwait: Scud missile launchers, weapons of mass destruction sites, weapons research facilities and naval forces. About one-third of the Coalition airpower was devoted to attacking Scuds, which were on trucks and therefore difficult to locate. In addition, it targeted facilities useful for both the military and civilians: electricity production facilities, nuclear reactors , telecommunications equipment, port facilities, oil refineries and distribution, railroads and bridges. Electrical power facilities were destroyed across the country. At the end of the war, electricity production was at four percent of its pre-war levels. Bombs destroyed the utility of all major dams, most major pumping stations and many sewage treatment plants. Some U.S. and British special forces teams had been covertly inserted into western Iraq to aid in the search and destruction of Scuds. However, the lack of adequate terrain for concealment hindered their operations, and many of them were killed or captured.
Tornado during Gulf War
The Iraqi targets were located by aerial photography and were referenced to the GPS coordinates of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which were determined by a USAF officer in August 1990: he arrived at the airport carrying a briefcase with a GPS receiver in it, then an embassy car took him to the embassy. He walked to the embassy courtyard, opened the briefcase, took one GPS reading, and put the machine back in the case. Then he returned to the U.S, gave the GPS receiver to the appropriate intelligence agency in Langley, VA, where the position of the U.S. Embassy was officially determined. This position served as the origin for a coordinate system used to designate military targets in Baghdad. (Clancy, Tom. "Armored Cav". Berkley Books, 1994, p. 180.)
Targeting camera showing US missile or bomb strike during Desert Storm - such images became familiar to Western television audiences, and were compared to video games
 Hits on civilian facilities
In most cases, the Allies avoided hitting civilian-only facilities. However, on February 13, 1991, two laser-guided "smart bombs" destroyed the Amiriyah blockhouse, which the Iraqis claimed was for the auspices of an air shelter. U.S. officials claimed that the blockhouse was a military communications center, but Western reporters have been unable to find evidence for this. The White House claims, in a report titled Apparatus of Lies: Crafting Tragedy, that U.S. intelligence sources reported the blockhouse was being used for military command purposes. In his book, Saddam's Bombmaker, the former director of Iraq’s nuclear weapon program, who defected to the west, supports the theory that the facility was used for both purposes.
We sought refuge several times at the shelter…. But it was always filled…. The shelter had television sets, drinking fountains, its own electrical generator, and looked sturdy enough to withstand a hit from conventional weapons. But I stopped trying to get in one night after noticing some long black limousines slithering in and out of an underground gate in the back. I asked around and was told that it was a command center. After considering it more closely, I decided it was probably Saddam’s own operational base.
In his autobiography, Iraqi general Georges Sada, who was in charge of POWs taken during combat, stated that Amiriya was a Military bunker with a civilian bunker built deliberately over it by Saddam, in violation of the Geneva Convention.
…I asked Gen. Ali Hussein to send the POWs to the new headquarters in Baghdad, which that had been specially built below civilian bunkers... It was an act of cowardice contrary to the Geneva Convention…Anyone who followed the events of that war will recall that the international news media had a field day when American bombers struck the Al-Ameriya bunker… but this was exactly what Saddam had wanted to happen.
 Iraq launches missile strikes
Iraq launched missile attacks on coalition bases in Saudi Arabia and on Israel, in the hopes of drawing Israel into the war and drawing other Arab states out of it. This strategy proved ineffective. Israel did not join the coalition, and all Arab states stayed in the coalition except Jordan, which remained officially neutral throughout. The Scud missiles generally caused fairly light damage, although its potency was felt on February 25 when 28 Americans were killed when a Scud destroyed their barracks in Dhahran. The Scuds targeting Israel were ineffective due to the fact that increasing the range of the Scud resulted in the dramatic reduction in accuracy and payload.
 Vulnerability of Iraq against air power
On January 29, Iraq attacked and occupied the lightly-defended Saudi city of Khafji with tanks and infantry. However, the Battle of Khafji ended when Iraqis were driven back by Saudi forces supported by U.S. Marines with close air support over the following two days. Khafji was a strategic city immediately after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi reluctance to commit several armoured divisions to the occupation and subsequent use of Khafji as a launching pad into the initially lightly defended Eastern portion of Saudi Arabia is considered by many academics as a grave strategic error. Not only would Iraq have secured a majority of Middle Eastern oil supplies, it would have found itself better able to threaten the subsequent U.S. deployment along superior defensive lines.
The effect of the air campaign was to decimate entire Iraqi brigades deployed in the open desert in combat formation. The air campaign also prevented effective Iraqi resupply to forward deployed units engaged in combat, as well preventing the large number (450,000) of Iraqi troops from achieving the force concentration essential to victory.
The air campaign had a significant effect on the tactics employed by opposing forces in subsequent conflicts. No longer were entire divisions dug in the open facing U.S. forces, but were instead dispersed, as with Serbian forces in Kosovo. Opposing forces also reduced the length of their supply lines and the total area defended. This was seen during the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan when the Taliban preemptively abandoned large swaths of land and retreated into their strongholds. This increased their force concentration and reduced long vulnerable supply lines. This tactic was also observed in the invasion of Iraq when the Iraqi forces retreated from northern Iraqi Kurdistan into the cities.
 Ground campaign
Schematic plan of Operation Desert Sabre.
The coalition forces dominated the air with their technological advantages, but the ground forces were considered to be more evenly matched up between Iraqis and coalition infantry. The coalition ground forces had the significant advantage of being able to operate under the protection of coalition Air supremacy that had been achieved by the Air Forces prior to start of the main ground offensive. Coalition forces also had two key technological advantages:
- the American M1 Abrams tank was vastly superior to the export version Soviet-built T-72 tanks used by the Iraqis;
- the use of GPS made it possible for Coalition forces to navigate without reference to roads or other fixed landmarks. This allowed them to fight a battle of maneuver rather than a battle of encounter: they knew where they were and where the enemy was, so they could attack a specific target, rather than wandering around and firing at whatever forces they bumped into.
 Initial moves into Iraq
The first units into Iraq were three patrols of B squadron of the Special Air Service, callsigns Bravo One Zero, Bravo Two Zero, and Bravo Three Zero in late January. These eight man patrols landed behind enemy lines to gather intelligence on the movements of Soviet Scud mobile missile launchers, which could not be detected from the air, as during the day they would hide under bridges and cam netting. Other objectives included the destruction of fibre optic communications arrays that lay in pipelines, relaying coordinates to the TEL operators launching attacks against Syria. Stopping these attacks would have prevented Syria from entering the war.
Elements of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division performed a covert recon into Iraq on 9 February 1991, followed by a recon in force on February 20 that destroyed an Iraqi battalion. On February 22, 1991, Iraq agreed to a Soviet-proposed cease-fire agreement. The agreement called for Iraq to withdraw troops to pre-invasion positions within three weeks following a total cease-fire, and called for monitoring of the cease-fire and withdrawal to be overseen by the UN Security Council. The US rejected the proposal but said that retreating Iraqi forces would not be attacked , and gave twenty-four hours for Iraq to begin withdrawing forces.
 Coalition forces enter Iraq
Shortly afterwards, the U.S. VII Corps assembled in full strength and launched an armoured attack into Iraq, just to the west of Kuwait, taking Iraqi forces by surprise. Simultaneously, the U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps launched a sweeping “left-hook” attack across the largely undefended desert of southern Iraq, led by the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The left flank of this movement was protected by the French 6th Light Armored Division (which included units of the French Foreign Legion). The fast-moving French force quickly overcame the Iraqi 45th Infantry Division, suffering only a handful of casualties, and took up blocking positions to prevent any Iraqi force from attacking the Allied flank. The right flank of the movement was protected by the British 1st Armoured Division. Once the allies had penetrated deep into Iraqi territory, they turned eastward, launching a flank attack against the Republican Guard.
Both sides exchanged fire, but the Republican guard divisions, worn down by weeks of aerial bombardment, proved unable to withstand the Allied advance. Tank battles, including the Battle of Medina Ridge and the Battle of 73 Easting, flared as the Republican Guard attempted to retreat. The Allies won with minimal losses.
It soon became obvious the Iraqi strategy was inherently flawed. Once Iraq had decided it was not going to advance into the eastern oil fields of Saudi Arabia, there was no reason for Iraqi forces to deploy further south from Kuwait City in great numbers. The decision to deploy significant quantities of troops along the desert border of Kuwait unnecessarily increased the length of Iraqi supply lines. Secondly, once the decision had been made to deploy along the border, the decision to extend it only slightly along the Iraqi border invited a massive flanking. Indeed the Iraqis did not possess enough forces to maintain a long enough front along the border of Kuwait and southwestern Iraq. Therefore it was imperative that the deployment and the front should have been shortened to just south of Kuwait City and extending to the outskirts of Basra. Iraq possessed only one absolute military advantage over the allies, that being the quality and quantity of its artillery pieces, especially the South African made G5 howitzer. However, most of Iraq’s artillery pieces were towed and hence not well suited to large expansive maneuvers. This also meant that it was in Iraq’s interest to slow down the movement of opposition forces and engage along lines that could not be easily broken or flanked.
The Coalition advance was much swifter than U.S. generals had expected. On February 26, Iraqi troops began retreating out of Kuwait, setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields as they left. A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. This convoy was bombed so extensively by the Allies that it came to be known as the Highway of Death. Critics of the action contend that the column also contained prisoners and other fleeing Iraqi civilians, such as families of Iraqi military units. Forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France continued to pursue retreating Iraqi forces over the border and back into Iraq, moving to within 150 miles (240 km) of Baghdad before withdrawing.
One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, President Bush declared a cease-fire and on February 27 declared that Kuwait had been liberated.
 Post-war military analysis
Although it was said at the time that Iraqi troops numbered approximately 545,000 (even 600,000) today most experts think that both the qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the Iraqi Army at the time were exaggerated, as they included both temporary and auxiliary support elements. Many of the Iraqi troops were also young, under-resourced and poorly trained conscripts. The Coalition committed approximately 540,000 troops. In addition to these, a further 100,000 Turkish troops were deployed along the common border of Turkey and Iraq. This caused significant force dilution of the Iraqi military by forcing it to deploy its forces along all its borders (except, ironically, its bitter enemy Iran). This allowed the main thrust by the Americans to not only possess a significant technological advantage but also a superiority in force numbers.
The main surprise of the ground campaign was the incredible success of Allied technology over the Soviet equipped and styled Iraqi army. This was due to the rigid Soviet style of centralized command and control that was easily disrupted and the Iraqis failing to find an effective countermeasure to the thermal sights and the sabot rounds used by the M1 Abrams and the other Coalition tanks. This equipment enabled Coalition tanks to effectively engage and destroy Iraqi tanks from more than three times the distance that Iraqi tanks could engage. The Iraqi forces also failed to utilize the advantage that could be gained from using urban warfare — fighting within Kuwait City — which could have inflicted significant casualties on the attacking forces. Urban combat reduces the range at which fighting occurs and can negate some of the technological advantage that well equipped forces enjoy.
 The end of active hostilities
A peace conference was held in Iraqi territory occupied by the coalition. At the conference, Iraq won the approval of the use of armed helicopters on their side of the temporary border, ostensibly for government transit due to the damage done to civilian transportation. Soon after, these helicopters, and much of the Iraqi armed forces, were refocused toward fighting against a Shiite uprising in the south. The rebellions were encouraged on 2 February 1991 by a broadcast on CIA run radio station The Voice of Free Iraq broadcasting out of Saudi Arabia. The Arabic service of the Voice of America supported the uprising by stating that the rebellion was large and that they soon would be liberated from Saddam.
In the North, Kurdish leaders took heart in American statements that they would support an uprising and began fighting, in the hopes of triggering a coup. However, when no American support was forthcoming, Iraqi generals remained loyal and brutally crushed the Kurdish troops. Millions of Kurds fled across the mountains to Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iran. These incidents would later result in no-fly zones being established in both the North and the South of Iraq. In Kuwait, the Emir was restored and suspected Iraqi collaborators were repressed. Eventually, over 400,000 people were expelled from the country, including a large number of Palestinians (due to their support of and collaboration with Saddam Hussein).
There was some criticism of the Bush administration for its decision to allow Saddam Hussein to remain in power, rather than pushing on to capture Baghdad and overthrowing his government. In their co-written 1998 book, A World Transformed, Bush and Brent Scowcroft argued that such a course would have fractured the alliance and would have had many unnecessary political and human costs associated with it.
In 1992, the United States Secretary of Defense during the war, Dick Cheney, made the same point:
"I would guess if we had gone in there, I would still have forces in Baghdad today. We'd be running the country. We would not have been able to get everybody out and bring everybody home.
And the final point that I think needs to be made is this question of casualties. I don't think you could have done all of that without significant additional U.S. casualties, and while everybody was tremendously impressed with the low cost of the (1991) conflict, for the 146 Americans who were killed in action and for their families, it wasn't a cheap war.
And the question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam (Hussein) worth? And the answer is, not that damned many. So, I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the President made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."
Instead of greater involvement of its own military, the United States hoped that Saddam would be overthrown in an internal coup. The Central Intelligence Agency used its assets in Iraq to organize a revolt, but the Iraqi government defeated the effort.
On March 10, 1991, Operation Desert Storm began to move 540,000 American troops out of the Persian Gulf.
 Coalition involvement
Members of the Coalition included Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States of America. Germany and Japan provided financial assistance and donated military hardware instead of direct military assistance, which was later to be known as a "checkbook diplomacy". America asked Israel not to participate in the war despite missile strikes on Israeli citizens. India extended military support to the United States in the form of refueling facilities situated in the Arabian Sea.
 United Kingdom
The United Kingdom was numerically the largest European nation to partake in combat operations during the war. Operation Granby was the name for the operations in the Persian Gulf. British Army regiments, Royal Navy vessels, and Royal Air Force squadrons were mobilized to the Gulf. The Royal Air Force, using various aircraft, operated from airbases in Saudi Arabia. Almost 2,500 armoured vehicles and 43,000 troops were shipped for action.
Chief Royal Navy vessels deployed to the gulf included a number of Broadsword-class frigates, and Sheffield-class destroyers, other RN and RFA ships were also deployed. The light aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal was not deployed to the Gulf area, but was deployed to the Mediterranean Sea.
The second largest European contingent was from France. Operating on the left flank of the US XVIII Airborne Corps, the main French army force was the 6th Light Armoured Division, including troops from the French Foreign Legion. Initially, the French operated independently under national command and control, but coordinated closely with the Americans, Saudis and CENTCOM. In January, the Division was placed under the tactical control of the US XVIII Airborne Corps. France also deployed combat aircraft and naval units. The French called their contribution Opération Daguet
Canada was one of the first nations to agree to condemn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and it quickly agreed to join the U.S.-led coalition. In August 1990, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney sent the destroyers HMCS Terra Nova and HMCS Athabaskan to enforce the trade blockade against Iraq. The supply ship HMCS Protecteur was also sent to aid the gathering coalition forces.
After the UN authorized full use of force in the operation Canada sent a CF-18 squadron with support personnel. Canada also sent a field hospital to deal with casualties from the ground war. When the air war began, Canada's planes were integrated into the coalition force and provided air cover and attacked ground targets. This was the first time since the Korean War that Canadian forces had participated in offensive combat operations.
 Troop deployment
- United States: 575,000 troops
- Saudi Arabia: 52,000 troops (only 20-40,000 took part in the Liberation of Kuwait & Battle of Khafji)
- Turkey: 50,000 troops (did not take part in any battle)
- United Kingdom: 43,000 troops Operation Granby
- Egypt: 35,000 troops
- Syria: 16,000 troops
- France: 14,663 troops Opération Daguet
- Kuwait: 7,000 troops
- Pakistan: 5,500 troops
- Canada: 4,500 troops Operation FRICTION
- Spain: 3,000 troops
- United Arab Emirates: 2,000 troops
- Morocco: 2,000 troops
- Bangladesh: 2,000 troops
- Qatar: (about 1000 troops took part in the Battle of Khafji beside Saudi Army)
- Oman: 950 troops
- Italy: 800 troops, 8 Panavia Tornado attack aircraft
- Niger: 500 troops
- Bahrain: 200 troops
- Senegal: 200 troops.
- Czechoslovakia: 200 troops
- Netherlands: 200 troops
- Honduras: 150 troops
- Argentina: Destroyer "Almirante Brown" and a Corvette "Spiro", later Corvette "Rosales" and "Trasport Bahía San Blas". Vessels Identified: 761, Vessels Checked: 273, Escorted: 17. Mission: supervise waters near Kuwait, mostly smugglers and traders
- Denmark: A corvette to supervise waters near Kuwait, mostly smugglers and traders
- Norway: The Nordkapp class OPV KV Andenes to supervise waters near Kuwait, mostly smugglers and traders
 Coalition deaths
Gulf War casualty numbers are controversial. Coalition military deaths have been reported to be around 378, but the DoD reports that US forces suffered 147 battle-related and 235 non-battle-related deaths, plus one F/A-18 Hornet Navy Pilot, Scott Speicher listed as MIA. The UK suffered 47 deaths, Saudi(18),Egypt(10),UAE(6),Syria(3),Kuwait(1),and France(2). The largest single loss of Coalition forces happened on February 25, 1991, when an Iraqi Al-Hussein missile hit an American military barrack in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia killing 28 U.S. Army Reservists from Pennsylvania. Being that Egyptian foot soldiers were some of the first to land in Kuwait to evict Iraqi forces, some sources report that Egypt suffered far more casualties than the official numbers reported.
 Coalition wounded
The number of coalition wounded in combat seems to have been less than 1,000. However, as of the year 2000, 183,000 U.S. veterans of the Gulf War, more than a quarter of the U.S. troops who participated in War, have been declared permanently disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs . About 30% of the 700,000 men and women who served in U.S. forces the Gulf War still suffer an array of serious symptoms whose causes are not fully understood .
 Pre-war estimates
Before the war Pentagon officials were estimating 30,000-40,000 coalition casualties. The Dupuy Institute stood alone and in front of Congress predicted Coalition Casualties below 6,000. They used the TNDM model which makes use of historical data from previous wars to predict casualties. While the Institute was phenomenally accurate, it was because the Iraqi armed forces fought in the open desert with tanks placed behind sand berms. Had the Iraqi military made use of urban warfare in Kuwait City and dug their tanks in within the city perimeters instead of behind sand berms the actual figures may have been different. The TNDM model makes use of 'human' factors such as morale and they predicted that very few Iraqi divisions would put up resistance. This is a value judgment that is difficult to make accurately before war. The 120,000 professional Iraqi soldiers backed by 4,500 tanks, 4,000 armored vehicles and 3,000 artillery pieces and with another 280,000 conscripted soldiers armed with RPGs, heavy mortars and heavy machine guns provided a force that could have made the low casualty estimate not inevitable. The United States, on the other hand had 3,400 tanks, 3,700 artillery pieces, 4,000 armored personnel carriers, 2,000 helicopters and about 2,600 aircraft.
 Iraqi deaths and wounded
A report commissioned by the U.S. Air Force; (1993-ISBN 0-16-041950-6), "Gulf War Air Power Survey" by Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, estimated 10-12,000 Iraqi combat deaths in the air campaign and as many as 10,000 casualties in the ground war. This analysis is based on enemy prisoner of war reports. The Iraqi government claimed that 2,300 civilians died during the air campaign, most of them during an F-117 Stealth Fighter strike on what was believed to be an Iraqi military communications center in Baghdad (it turned out to be an air raid shelter).
One infamous incident during the war highlighted the question of large-scale Iraqi combat deaths. This was the “bulldozer assault”, wherein two brigades from the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) used anti-mine plows mounted on tanks and combat earthmovers to bury Iraqi soldiers defending the fortified "Saddam Line." While approximately 2,000 of the troops surrendered, escaping burial, one newspaper story reported that the U.S. commanders estimated thousands of Iraqi soldiers had been buried alive during the two-day assault February 24-25, 1991. However, like all other troop estimates made during the war, the estimated 8,000 Iraqi defenders was probably greatly inflated. While one commander, Col. Anthony Moreno of the 2nd Brigade, thought the numbers might have been in the thousands, another reported his brigade buried between 80 and 250 Iraqis. After the war, the Iraqi government claimed to have found 44 such bodies. It may have been in the interests of both sides to claim lower figures.
Other independent reports state significantly higher figures. Beth Osborne Daponte’s report for the US Commerce Department’s Census Bureau of Foreign Countries update, estimated 86,000 men, 39,000 women, and 32,000 children killed by Allied Forces. Controversially, she was reprimanded and her report reissued with reduced figures including the omission of women and children deaths. Since the original report she has published more studies that have put the estimate to around 200,000 deaths.
 Controversies surrounding the Gulf War
 Civilian deaths
The increased importance of air attacks from both warplanes and cruise missiles led to much controversy over the level of civilian deaths caused during the initial stages of the War.
Within the first 24 hours of the War, more than 1,000 sorties were flown, many against targets in Baghdad. The city received heavy bombing due to being the seat of power for President Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi forces' command and control. However, this also led to substantial civilian casualties.
Other aerial attacks also led to civilian casualties. In one particularly notable event, stealth bombers attacked a bunker in Amirya, causing the deaths of between 200 and 400 civilians who were taking refuge there at the time. Subsequently, scenes of burned and mutilated bodies were broadcast and controversy raged over the status of the bunker, with some stating that it was a civilian shelter while others contended that it was a centre of Iraqi military operations and the civilians had been deliberately moved there to act as human shields. An estimated 2,300 Iraqi civilians were killed during the war. Notably, 'collateral damage' to civilians (or civilian positions) was expressly avoided by coalition forces, unlike previous campaigns such as the Bombing of Tokyo in World War II.
 Friendly fire
While the death toll among Coalition forces engaging enemy combatants was very low, a substantial number of deaths were caused by accidental attacks from other allied units. Of the 147 American troops who died in battle, 24% were killed by friendly fire, a total of 35 service personnel. A further 11 died in detonations of allied munitions. Nine British service personnel were also killed in a friendly fire incident when a USAF A-10A Thunderbolt-II attacked a group of two Warrior IFVs.
 Gulf War syndrome (Operation Desert Storm)
Many returning coalition soldiers reported illnesses following their participation in the Gulf War, a phenomenon known as Gulf War syndrome or Gulf War illness. There has been widespread speculation and disagreement about the causes of the illness and reported birth defects. Some factors considered as possibly causal include exposure to depleted uranium, chemical weapons, anthrax vaccine given to deploying soldiers, and/or infectious diseases. Major Michael Donnelly, a former USAF officer during the Gulf War, helped publicize the syndrome and advocated for veterans' rights in this regard.
 Effects of depleted uranium
Approximate area and major clashes in which DU rounds were used.
Depleted uranium (DU) was used in the Gulf War for the first time on the battlefield, in tank kinetic energy penetrators and 20-30mm cannon ordnance. DU is a heavy metal and chemical toxicant with nephrotoxic (kidney-damaging) and teratogenic (birth defect-causing) properties.
Depleted uranium is not a significant health hazard unless it is taken into the body. External exposure to radiation from depleted uranium is generally not a major concern because the alpha particles emitted by its isotopes travel only a few centimeters in air or can be stopped by a sheet of paper. Also, the uranium-235 that remains in depleted uranium emits only a small amount of low-energy gamma radiation. According to the World Health Organization, a radiation dose from it would be about 60% of that from purified natural uranium with the same mass.
When it does occur, however, uranium exposure is associated with a variety of illnesses. The chemical toxicological hazard posed by uranium dwarfs its radiological hazard because it is only weakly radioactive, and depleted uranium even less so. In some sense, its effect is similar but stronger than that of lead, another poisonous heavy metal.
Increases in the rate of birth defects for children born to Gulf War veterans have been reported. A 2001 survey of 15,000 U.S. Gulf War combat veterans and 15,000 control veterans found that the Gulf War veterans, were 1.8 (fathers) to 2.8 (mothers) times as likely to report having children with birth defects. A study of UK veterans who thought they might have been exposed to DU showed aberrations in their white blood cell chromosomes. In early 2004, the UK Pensions Appeal Tribunal Service attributed birth defect claims from a Gulf War combat veteran to depleted uranium poisoning. Uranyl ion contamination has been found on and around depleted uranium targets. DU has recently been recognized as a neurotoxin.
In 1998, Iraqi government doctors reported that Coalition use of depleted uranium caused a massive increase in birth defects and cancer among Iraqis, particularly leukemia. The government doctors claimed they were unable to provide evidence linking depleted uranium to the cancer and birth defects because the sanctions prevented them from obtaining necessary testing equipment. Subsequently, a World Health Organization team visited Basra and proposed a study to investigate the causes of higher cancer rates in southern Iraq, but Saddam refused.
The World Health Organization assessed the health risks of depleted uranium in a post-combat environment thanks to a 2001 mission to Kosovo. A 2001 WHO fact sheet on depleted uranium concludes: "because DU is only weakly radioactive, very large amounts of dust (on the order of grams) would have to be inhaled for the additional risk of lung cancer to be detectable in an exposed group. Risks for other radiation-induced cancers, including leukemia, are considered to be very much lower than for lung cancer." In addition, "no reproductive or developmental effects have been reported in humans" as a result of DU exposure. But the WHO also issues many warnings about DU, "If DU oxide dust inhalation resulted in the incorporation of significant amounts of insoluble uranium compounds, long term patient follow-ups should include checks for lung tumours." The WHO also advises preventing access to DU affected sites until it is cleaned up or stabilized. The UN has similar recommendations, as does the US military
The U.S. Department of State has also published a fact sheet on depleted uranium. It states: "World Health Organization and other scientific research studies indicate depleted uranium poses no serious health risks" and "depleted uranium does not cause birth defects. Iraqi military use of chemical and nerve agents in the 1980s and 1990s is the likely cause of alleged birth defects among Iraqi children." In regard to cancer claims, the fact sheet states that "according to environmental health experts, it is medically impossible to contract leukemia as a result of exposure to uranium or depleted uranium," and "cancer rates in almost 19,000 highly exposed uranium industry workers who worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory projects between 1943 and 1947 have been examined, and no excess cancers were observed through 1974. Other epidemiological studies of lung cancer in uranium mill and metal processing plant workers have found either no excess cancers or attributed them to known carcinogens other than uranium, such as radon." However, how this relates to insoluble DU oxide particulates deposited in lungs has not been demonstrated. For instance, there are no known lab studies conducted on animals to determine long term radiological effects of varying levels of DU oxide dust in lungs, and no known field studies comparing known, high, airborne exposure levels with a control group. All studies to date have been based on applied radiological theory, and epidemiological surveys subject to higher variances and unknowns than lab studies.
Some claim that the health risk of DU oxide is higher because depleted uranium ammunition vaporizes into tiny particles when it hits a hard target. In fact, most recently a comprehensive study by The Royal Society, a fellowship of over 1400 distinguished scientists, researchers and professors, found that depleted uranium might pose kidney and lungs risks for small numbers (those most highly exposed) of civilians as well as soldiers.
 The 'Highway of Death'
On the night of February 26-27, 1991, defeated Iraqi forces began leaving Kuwait on the main highway north of Al Jahra in a column of some 1400 vehicles, some military and some civilian and commandeered from the Kuwaiti population. United States Air Force and U.S. Navy jets pursued and destroyed the convoy, subjecting it to sustained bombing for several hours.
 Abuse of coalition POWs
Iraq displayed POWs on TV with visible signs of abuse who were disavowing the coalition's warfare. It has also been alleged that coalition POWs were tortured and raped by the Iraqis. These alleged tortures and rapes would constitute a war crime.
A list of Desert Storm POWs is kept here.
 Crossing Iraqi borders
Having driven Iraqi forces over the border from Kuwait, some coalition troops stood down, but forces from the USA, UK and France continued to pursue the retreating remnants of the Iraq forces across into Iraqi territory. Disagreements arose over whether the UN mandate to eject Saddam Hussein's forces from Kuwait allowed the coalition to enter Iraqi sovereign territory or not, with some military officials arguing that it was necessary to prevent them from regrouping and attempting a counter-attack.
 Views on Saddam after the war
After the hostilities between Saddam's regime and the West, he sometimes viewed as a hero by Arab and Muslim people. Until the invasion in 2003, he became an idol around the Arab World such as in Palestinian territory when Iraqi Scud missiles attacked Israel. The former Iraqi government was also funding Palestinian suicide bombers families. However, this was always disputed by some Iraqis and Muslims in the reason for his involvement in war crimes such as in Halabja.
In an act of solidarity during the war, a village in India was named Saddam Beach. When he was captured in 13 December 2003, the chief cleric of India's largest mosque said he would be "remembered as the symbol of Islamic resistance" and that it was the "blackest day for the Islamic world".
The cost of the war to the United States was calculated by Congress to be $61.1 billion.. About $52 billion of that amount was paid by different countries around the world: $36 billion by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States; $16 billion by Germany and Japan (which sent no combat forces due to terms contained in the treaty that ended World War II). About 25% of Saudi Arabia's contribution was paid in the form of in-kind services to the troops, such as food and transportation. U.S. troops represented about 74% of the combined force, and the global cost was therefore higher.
The Gulf War was a heavily televised war. For the first time people all over the world were able to watch live pictures of missiles hitting their targets and fighters taking off from aircraft carriers. Allied forces were keen to demonstrate the accuracy of their weapons.
In the United States, the "big three" network anchors led the network news coverage of the war: ABC's Peter Jennings, CBS's Dan Rather, and NBC's Tom Brokaw were anchoring their evening newscasts when air strikes began on January 16, 1991. ABC News correspondent Gary Shepard, reporting live from Baghdad, told Jennings of the quietness of the city. But, moments later, Shepard was back on the air as flashes of light were seen on the horizon and tracer fire was heard on the ground. On CBS, viewers were watching a report from correspondent Allen Pizzey, who was also reporting from Baghdad, when the war began. Rather, after the report was finished, announced that there were unconfirmed reports of flashes in Baghdad and heavy air traffic at bases in Saudi Arabia. On the "NBC Nightly News", correspondent Mike Boettcher reported unusual air activity in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Moments later, Brokaw announced to his viewers that the air attack had begun. But it was CNN who gained the most popularity for their coverage, and indeed its wartime coverage is often cited as one of the landmark events in the development of the network. CNN correspondents John Holliman and Peter Arnett and CNN anchor Bernard Shaw relayed telephone reports from the Al-Rashid Hotel as the air strikes began. Newspapers all over the world also covered the war and TIME Magazine published a special issue dated January 28, 1991, the headline "WAR IN THE GULF" emblazoned on the cover over a picture of Baghdad taken as the war began.
U.S. policy regarding media freedom was much more restrictive than in the Vietnam War. The policy had been spelled out in a Pentagon document entitled Annex Foxtrot. Most of the press information came from briefings organized by the military. Only selected journalists were allowed to visit the front lines or conduct interviews with soldiers. Those visits were always conducted in the presence of officers, and were subject to both prior approval by the military and censorship afterward. This was ostensibly to protect sensitive information from being revealed to Iraq, but often in practice it was used to protect politically embarrassing information from being revealed. This policy was heavily influenced by the military's experience with the Vietnam War, which it believed it had lost due to public opposition within the United States.
At the same time, the coverage of this war was new in its instantaneousness. Many American journalists remained stationed in the Iraqi capital Baghdad throughout the war, and footage of incoming missiles was carried almost immediately on the nightly television news and the cable news channels such as CNN. A British crew from CBS News (David Green and Andy Thompson), equipped with satellite transmission equipment traveled with the front line forces and, having transmitted live TV pictures of the fighting en route, arrived the day before the forces in Kuwait City, broadcasting live television from the city and covering the entrance of the Arab forces the following day.
Following uprisings in the north and south, Iraqi no-fly zones were established to help protect the Shi'ite and Kurdish groups in South and North Iraq, respectively. These no-fly zones (originally north of the 36th parallel and south of the 32nd parallel) were monitored mainly by the United States and the United Kingdom, though France also participated. Combined, they flew more sorties over Iraq in the eleven years following the war than were flown during the war. These sorties dropped bombs nearly every other day against surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft guns which engaged the patrolling aircraft. However, the greatest amount of bombs was dropped during two sustained bombing campaigns: Operation Desert Strike, which lasted a few weeks in September 1996, and Operation Desert Fox, in December 1998. Operation Northern Watch, the no-fly zone covering the Kurds, allowed the population to focus on developing security and infrastructure, which was reflected after Saddam's fall in 2003 by a much more progressive and sustainable region (when compared to the rest of the country following Operation Iraqi Freedom). Operation Southern Watch, on the other hand, was not successful in providing the Shi'ite population the same opportunity.
Widespread infrastructure destruction during the ground war hurt the Iraqi population. Years after the war, electricity production was less than a quarter of its pre-war level. The destruction of water treatment facilities caused sewage to flow directly into the Tigris River, from which civilians drew drinking water, resulting in widespread disease. Funds provided by Western nations to help combat the problem were diverted instead to maintaining Saddam's military control over the country.
Economic sanctions were kept in place following the war, pending a weapons inspection with which Iraq never fully cooperated as it accused the UN inspectors of spying (something which was later proven to be at least partially true ). Iraq was later allowed to import certain products under the UN's Oil for Food program. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health found evidence that there was a three fold increase in the mortality of Iraqi children under five years of age caused by the Gulf War and trade sanctions. The estimate from the study indicates more than 46,900 children died between January and August 1991. A 1998 UNICEF report found that the sanctions resulted in an increase to 90,000 deaths per year. Many argue that the sanctions on Iraq and the American military presence in Saudi Arabia contributed to an increasingly negative image of the United States in the Arab world.
A United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) on weapons was established, to monitor Iraq's compliance with restrictions on weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. Iraq accepted some and refused other weapons inspections. The team found some evidence of biological weapons programs at one site and non-compliance at many other sites.
In 1997, Iraq expelled all U.S. members of the inspection team, alleging that the United States was using the inspections as a front for espionage; members of UNSCOM were in regular contact with various intelligence agencies to provide information on weapons sites back and forth. The team returned for an even more turbulent time period between 1997 and 1999; one member of the weapons inspection team, U.S. Marine Scott Ritter, resigned in 1998, alleging that the Clinton administration was blocking investigations because they did not want a full-scale confrontation with Iraq. In 1999, the team was replaced by UNMOVIC, which began inspections in 2002. In 2002, Iraq — and especially Saddam Hussein — became targets in the United States' War on Terrorism, leading to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by the United States and, to a lesser extent, the United Kingdom.
The People's Republic of China (whose army used military equipment similar to the iraqi army) was surprised at the performance of American technology on the battlefield. The swiftness of the coalition victory resulted in an overall change in Chinese military thinking and began a movement to technologically modernize the People's Liberation Army.
These events of the Gulf War fueled additional Islamic extremism. The change of face by Saddam's secular regime did little to draw support from Islamist groups. This action combined with the Saudi Arabian alliance with the United States and Saudi Arabia being seen as being on the same side of Israel dramatically eroded that regime's legitimacy. Activity of Islamist groups against the Saudi regime increased dramatically. The presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia, the invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent blockade were some of the grievances listed by Osama bin Laden in his 1998 Fatwa.
In part to win back favour with Islamist groups Saudi Arabia greatly increased funding to those that would support the regime. Throughout the newly independent states of Central Asia the Saudis paid for the distribution of millions of Qur'ans and the building of hundreds of mosques for extremist groups. In Afghanistan the Saudi regime became a leading patron of the Taliban in that nation's civil war, and one of the few foreign countries to officially recognize the government.
Precision guided munitions (PGMs, also "smart bombs"), such as the United States Air Force guided missile AGM-130, were heralded as key in allowing military strikes to be made with a minimum of civilian casualties compared to previous wars. Specific buildings in downtown Baghdad could be bombed whilst journalists in their hotels watched cruise missiles fly by. PGMs amounted to approximately 7.4% of all bombs dropped by the coalition. Other bombs included cluster bombs, which break up into clusters of bomblets, and daisy cutters, 15,000-pound bombs which can disintegrate everything within hundreds of yards.
Scud is a tactical ballistic missile that the Soviet Union developed and deployed among the forward deployed Red Army divisions in Eastern Germany. The role of the Scuds which were armed with nuclear and chemical warheads was to destroy command, control, and communication facilities and delay full mobilization of Western German and Allied Forces in Germany. It could also be used to directly target ground forces. Scud missiles utilise inertial guidance which operates for the duration that the engines operate. Iraq used Scud missiles, launching them into both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Some missiles caused extensive casualties, while others caused little damage. Concerns were raised of possible chemical or biological warheads on these rockets, but if they existed they were not used. Scud missiles are not as effective at delivering chemical payloads as is commonly believed because intense heat during the Scud's flight at approximately Mach 5 denatures most of the chemical payload. Chemical weapons are inherently better suited to being delivered by cruise missiles or fighter bombers. The Scud is best suited to delivering tactical nuclear warheads, a role for which it is as capable today as it was when it was first developed.
An unmanned aerial vehicle launched by the battleship USS Wisconsin
observes several barrels that have been brought together to create the words "Free Kuwait."
America's Patriot missile defense was used for the first time in combat. The U.S. military claimed a high effectiveness against Scud at the time, which reassured allied troops and would not have encouraged the operators. Later estimates of Patriot's effectiveness range widely. Further, there is at least one incident of a software error causing a Patriot missile to fail, resulting in deaths.  Unclassified evidence on Scud interception is lacking. The higher estimates are based on the percentage of Scud warheads which were known to have impacted and exploded compared to the number of Scud missiles launched, but other factors such as duds, misses and impacts which were not reported confound these. Some Scud variations were re-engineered in a manner outside their original tolerance, and said to have frequently failed or broken up in flight. The lowest estimates are typically based upon the number of interceptions where there is proof that the warhead was hit by at least one missile, but due to the way the Al-Hussein (Scud derivative) missiles broke up in flight, it was often hard to tell which piece was the warhead, and there were few radar tracks which were actually stored which could be analyzed later. Realistically the actual performance will not be known for many years. The U.S. Army and the manufacturers maintain the Patriot delivered a "miracle performance" in the Gulf War.
Global Positioning System units were key in enabling coalition units to navigate easily across the desert.
Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and satellite communication systems were also important.
 Notes and references
- ^ Frontline Chronology (PDF). Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved on 2007-03-20.
- ^ The reported number of countries participating in the Coalition varies according to source. These variations may be in part be due to uncertainty over what level of participation constitutes being a Coalition member, and vagueness over the organization timeline of the Coalition. Examples of count variations include: an Arab anti-Gulf War essay - 31; CNN - 34; an Arab media site - 36; the Heritage Foundation (a US conservative thinktank citing a 1991 Department of Defense report) - 38; US Institute of Medicine report on Persian Gulf War Veterans' Health - 39. The number of Coalition members has been reported to be as low as 19 at the beginning of the air campaign.
- ^ a b Template:Cit
- ^ Arms transfers to Iraq, 1970-2004. Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ Donald W. Riegle, Jr.; Alfonse M. D'Amato (1994-05-24). The Riegle Report: U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Gulf War. Gulf War Veterans Resource Pages. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ Joyce Battle. Shaking Hands with Saddam Hussein: The U.S. Tilts toward Iraq, 1980-1983. National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 82. The National Security Archive. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ How America armed Iraq. Sunday Herald (2004-06-13). Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ Allen I. Mendelowitz. Iraq’s Participation in the Commodity Credit Corporation’s GSM-102/103 Export Credit Guarantee Programs (PDF). United States General Accounting Office.
- ^ Claiborne Pell (1988-09-08). A bill entitled the "Prevention of Genocide Act of 1988".. The Library of Congress. Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ National Security Directive 26. The White House (1988-10-02). Retrieved on 2006-10-12.
- ^ /Ken Matthews (1993). The Gulf Conflict and International Relations. London , Routledge pp182-184
- ^ The Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Timeline. Retrieved on March 29, 2007. The BBC has a start date of the 8th August, while Frontline has 8th August as when the first US aircraft arrive in Saudi Arabia. Timeline of the Gulf War has the 7th August.
- ^ 15 Years After Desert Storm, U.S. Commitment to Region Continues. Retrieved on March 29, 2007.
- ^ At the time of the Gulf War the United States was the only remaining nation in the world with operational battleships, due in large part to President Ronald Reagan’s "600-ship Navy" plan. After the war the United States decommissioned all four of its Iowa-class battleships, keeping two in reserve and donating two as museum ships. The remaining two were removed from the Naval Vessel Register on March 17, 2006, and are in the process of being donated for use as museum ships as well.
- ^ http://www.prwatch.org/books/tsigfy10.html
- ^ Iraqi Air Force Equipment - Introduction. Retrieved on January 18, 2005.
- ^ Apparatus of Lies: Crafting Tragedy. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ Fisk, Robert. The Great War for Civilization, Fourth Estate, 2005, p794.
- ^ "Cheney changed his view on Iraq", by Charles Pope, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 29, 2004. Retrieved on January 7, 2005.
- ^ frontline: the gulf war: appendix: Iraqi death toll. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/feb2003/nf2003026_0167_db052.htm
- ^ Raabe, Otto G. (2001) "Answer to Question #754 Submitted to 'Ask the Experts': What are some health effects of the element uranium?" Health Physics Society. hps.org
- ^ Hindin R, Brugge D, Panikkar B (2005) "Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective," Environmental Health, 4:17. ehjournal.net
- ^ Arfsten DP, Still KR, Ritchie GD (2001) "A review of the effects of uranium and depleted uranium exposure on reproduction and fetal development," Toxicology and Industrial Health, 17:180-191. DOI
- ^ Argonne, Laboratory. 2006. "Depleted uranium." Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland. (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). First published August 28, 2006; Last revised October 19, 2006; Retrieved November 24, 2006. http://www.eoearth.org/article/Depleted_uranium
- ^ Centers for Disease Control (1999) "Toxicological Profile for Uranium," Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. atsdr.cdc.gov
- ^ Miller, A. (2002) "Depleted uranium-catalyzed oxidative DNA damage: absence of significant alpha particle decay"PDF (375 KiB) Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry 91:246–252.
- ^ Kang H, et al. (2001) "Pregnancy Outcomes Among U.S. Gulf War Veterans: A Population-Based Survey of 30,000 Veterans," Annals of Epidemiology 11:504-511. annalsofepidemiology.org
- ^ Schröder H, Heimers A, Frentzel-Beyme R, Schott A, Hoffman W (2003). "Chromosome Aberration Analysis in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Gulf War (Desert Storm) and Balkans War Veterans". Radiation Protection Dosimetry 103: 211-219. cerrie.orgPDF (90.0 KiB)
- ^ "First Award for Depleted Uranium Poisoning Claim," by Martin Williams, The Herald, February 4, 2004. vitw.org
- ^ "MoD Forced to Pay Pension for DU Contamination," by the Campaign Against Depleted Uranium, CADU News 17 (Spring, 2004) cadu.org.uk
- ^ Salbu B, et al. (2004) "Oxidation states of uranium in depleted uranium particles from Kuwait," Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 78:125-135. DOI
- ^ Jiang GC, Aschner M (2006) "Neurotoxicity of depleted uranium: reasons for increased concern," Biological Trace Element Research 110:1-18. PMID 16679544
- ^ WHO : Depleted Uranium. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ WHO : Guidance on Exposure to Deplete Uranium. Retrieved on July 24, 2006.
- ^ WHO:Depleted Uranium. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ UN Environment Program : Depleted Uranium in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ Army Technical Bulletin 9-1300-278:Guidelines for Safe Response to Handling, Storage, and Transportation Accidents Involving Army Tank Munitions or Armor Which Contain Depleted Uranium. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ DOD Deployment Link: Environmental Exposure Report: TAB M - Characterizing DU Aerosols. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ DOD Deployment Link: Environmental Exposure Report: TAB G - DU Exposures in the Gulf War. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ DOD Deployment Link: Environmental Exposure Report: TAB N - TAB N – Gulf War Protective Guidance. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ Fact Sheet on the Health Effects of Depleted Uranium. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ Argonne National Labs: Physical Properties of Pertinent Uranium Compounds. Retrieved on July 25, 2006.
- ^ Gulf War Veterans and Depleted Uranium. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ Royal Society : Science issues : Depleted uranium. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
- ^ Saddam is Islam's hero: Imam. The Times of India Online (2003-12-15). Retrieved on 2007-04-02.
- ^ Ascherio, A; Chase R, Coté T, Dehaes G, Hoskins E, Laaouej J, Passey M, Qaderi S, Shuqaidef S, Smith MC, et al. (1992-09-24). "Effect of the Gulf War on infant and child mortality in Iraq.". The New England Journal of Medicine 327 (13): 931-936. Retrieved on 2007-03-21.
- ^ Conclusions. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
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- Mitchell Bard. The Gulf War. Retrieved on December 4, 2005. Jewish virtual library.
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- Ronald Andrew Hoskinson and Norman Jarvis. Gulf War Photo GalleryGulf War Photo Gallery. Retrieved on December 4, 2005. 1994.
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- Report to Congress on the Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, Chapter 6. Retrieved on December 4, 2005.
 See also
 Films about the Gulf War
 Video games related to the Gulf War
 External links