The Gulf War (August 28, 1990 - February 28, 1991) was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force of approximately 30 nations1 led by the United States and mandated by the United Nations in order to liberate the nation of 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, Gulf War Sr., or First Gulf War (to distinguish it from the ongoing Iraq War), Second Gulf War (to distinguish it from the Iran-Iraq War), Liberation of Kuwait, War of Kuwait, and Mother of Battles. Operation Desert Storm was the US name of the air/land operations and is often used to refer to the conflict.
The war began with 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 United Nations against Iraq. Hostilities commenced in 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 SS-1 Scud missiles against targets in Saudi Arabia and Israel. Although Saddam Hussein, Iraq's President, had been aided by the West during the Iran-Iraq War, his dictatorial regime, belligerence toward Israel, and human rights violations, increasingly led the U.S. and allies to distance themselves from Iraq.
Pre-war Iraqi-American relations
Pre Iran-Iraq war
To the U.S., Iran-Iraqi relations were stable, and Iran 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 with other Arab states. 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, as it had previously been humiliated by a 444 day long Iranian hostage crisis and expected that Iran was not likely to win. 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."2 With Iran's newfound success in the war and its rebuff of a peace offer in July, arms sales from other states (most importantly the Soviet Union, 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.
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.
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 for an unanticipated meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Saddam may have interpreted some comments by U.S. officials to give an invasion the green light. U.S. sources say that it had handled everything “by the book” (in accordance with the U.S.'s official neutrality on the Iraq-Kuwait issue) and had not signaled Iraqi President Saddam Hussein any approval for defying the Arab League's Jeddah crisis squad, which had conducted the negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait. Many believe that Saddam's expectations may have been influenced by a perception that the U.S. 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.
Diplomacy/Operation Desert Shield
Within hours of the invasion, Kuwaiti and U.S. delegations requested a meeting of the UN Security Council, which passed UN Security Council Resolution 660, condemning the invasion and demanding a withdrawal of Iraqi troops. On August 3, the Arab League passed its own resolution demanding a withdrawal. The resolution also called for a solution to the conflict from within the League, and warned against foreign intervention. On August 6, the Security Council passed UN Security Council Resolution 661, placing economic sanctions on Iraq.
Possibility of attack on Saudi Arabia
The decision by the West to repel the Iraqi invasion had as much to do with preventing an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia, a nation of far more importance to the world than Kuwait, as it did with defending Kuwait itself. The rapid success of the Iraqi army against Kuwait had brought Iraq's army within easy striking distance of the Hama oil fields, Saudi Arabia's most valuable resources. Iraqi control of these fields as well as Kuwaiti and Iraqi reserves would have given it a large share of the world's oil supply, second only to Saudi Arabia itself. The United States, Europe, and Japan saw such a potential monopoly as dangerous. Saudi Arabia, a geographically large nation with dispersed population centers would have found it difficult to quickly mobilize to meet the Iraqi division deployed in Southern Kuwait. Very likely Iraq would have gained control of the Eastern oil fields but it is heavily debatable whether Iraq could have fought into the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The Iraqi armored divisions would face the same difficulties that Saudi forces were facing in order to defend the oil fields, namely to transverse large distances across inhospitable desert. This would have all occurred against the backdrop of 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. 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 such propaganda attacks on Saudi Arabia as western troops poured into the country.
Operation Desert ShieldThe 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 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 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 Saudia 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 the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin to the region, and they would later 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, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, 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 itself. U.S. troops represented 74 percent 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 toward other Arab states, and offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness.H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. and President George H. W. Bush visit U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia on Thanksgiving Day, 1990.
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 11th, 1990, George H.W. Bush stated that he thought Iraq intended to threaten Saudi Arabia from its new military position in Kuwait. 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, Soyuz Karta, were obtained for around $3,000. On January 6, 1991, she wrote an article detailing what had been found, titled "Photos Don't Show Buildup.3 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.Senior United States military officials preparing to discuss the possibility of invasion, including Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf.
Some Americans were dissatisfied with the explanations and "No Blood For Oil" became a rallying cry for domestic opponents of the war. Later justifications for the war included Iraq's history of human rights abuses under President Saddam Hussein. Saddam was also suspected of possessing biochemical weapons (which he later used against his own people) and was known to be attempting to build atomic bombs, providing further justification beyond his violation of Kuwaiti integrity.
The Senate supported military actions in a 52-47 vote.
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 campaignUSAF F-16A, F-15C, F-15E 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 the UN resolution, the coalition launched a massive air campaign codenamed Operation Desert Storm with more than 1,000 sorties launching per day, beginning early in the morning on January 17, 1991. 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” because of the advanced weapons used in the air campaign which included precision-guided munitions (or "smart bombs"), cluster munitions, BLU-82 “Daisy Cutters”, and cruise missiles. Iraq responded by launching 8 SCUD missiles into Israel the next day. The first priority for Coalition forces was the 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 was lost in the opening day of the war. 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 groups in the Persian Gulf.USAF A-10A Thunderbolt-II ground attack plane over circles of irrigated crops during Desert Storm.
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 airforce escapes to Iran
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 between 115 to 140 aircraft flown to Iran.4 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. Iran has never returned the aircraft to Iraq and did not release the aircrews to return home until years later. 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, which claimed that the allied bombing campaign had damaged and destroyed Iraqi oil tankers that were docked at the time.
Infrastructure bombingTargeting camera showing US missile or bomb strike during Desert Storm-such images became familiar to Western television audiences, and were compared to video games.
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 Coalition air power was devoted to attacking SCUDs, which were on trucks and therefore difficult to locate. In addition, the air campaign 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.
Hits on civillian facilities
In most cases, Coalition forces 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.5
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 thus alienating 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 following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Iraqi reluctance to commit several armored 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 for victory.
Ground campaignSchematic 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. However, 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.
Initial moves into Iraq
Elements of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division performed a covert recon into Iraq on February 9, 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 IraqGeneral Colin Powell briefs President George H. W. Bush and his advisers on the progress of the ground war.
The U.S. VII Corps launched an armored 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 coalition 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 flared as the Republican Guard attempted to retreat. The coalition won with minimal losses.
Iraq's forces outmatched
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 coalition, that being the quality and quantity of its artillery pieces. 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 expected. On February 26, Iraqi troops began retreating out of Kuwait, allegedly setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields as they left (although the fact that coalition troops had to clear unexploded cluster bombs from the oil fields before the fires could be extinguished has lead some observers to suggest that the fires may have been caused by the coalition bombing campaign). A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. The column also had prisoners and other fleeing Iraqi civilians such as families of Iraqi military. Controversially, this convoy was bombed so extensively by the Allies that it came to be known as the Highway of Death. Equally controversially, 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.Highway 80 in Kuwait on April 18, 1991. The "Highway of Death".
Post-war military analysis
Estimates of the number of Iraq troops deployed at the time ranged from 545,000 to 600,000. Subsequently, experts think that the qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the Iraqi Army at the time were exaggerated, including both temporary and auxiliary support elements. Many of the Iraqi troops were also young, under-resourced and poorly trained conscripts. Both the coalition and the Iraqi leadership had an interest in exaggerating the numbers and strength of the Iraqi forces.
The coalition committed approximately 540,000 troops. A further 100,000 Turkish troops were deployed along the common border of Turkey and Iraq, which 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 February 2, 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. 6
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 overthrow 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.
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 involvementC Company, 1 STAFFS, in a live firing exercise, during Operation Granby (British name for the Gulf War), 6 January 1991.Coalition forces.
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, Un