Gulf War

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

"Persian Gulf War" and "First Gulf War" redirect here. For other uses, see Persian Gulf War (disambiguation).

Persian Gulf War

Clockwise from top: USAF aircraft flying over burning Kuwaiti oil wells; British troops in Operation Granby; Camera view of a Lockheed AC-130; Highway of Death; M728 Combat Engineer Vehicle
Date 2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991 (officially ended 30 November 1995)
Location North of the Arabian Peninsula
  • Coalition victory
  • Removal of Iraqi invasion force from Kuwait

 New Zealand
 Saudi Arabia
 United Arab Emirates
 United Kingdom
 United States
Other Coalition forces

Flag of Iraq Iraq
Flag of Kuwait Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah

Flag of the United States George H. W. Bush
Flag of the United States Norman Schwarzkopf
Flag of the United States Colin Powell
Flag of Saudi Arabia Khalid bin Sultan[1][2]
Flag of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher
Flag of the United Kingdom John Major
Flag of the United Kingdom Peter de la Billière

Flag of Iraq Saddam Hussein

Flag of Iraq Ali Hassan al-Majid

1,820 Fighter aircraft and attack aircraft (1,376 American, 175 Saudi, 69 British, 42 French, 24 Canadian, 8 Italian)
3,318 tanks (mainly M1 Abrams(U.S.),Challenger 1(UK), M60(U.S.)
8 aircraft carriers
2 battleships
20 cruisers
20 destroyers
5 submarines[4]
545,000 (100,000 in Kuwait)+
649 fighters
4,500 tanks (Chinese Type-59s, Type-69s, & self produced T-55 T-62, about 500 Soviet Union T-72) [4]
Casualties and losses
Enemy fire: 190 killed,
719 wounded,
41 taken prisoner (unknown Kuwaiti casualties, but at least 605 missing)
Friendly fire: 44 dead, 57 wounded
Exploding munitions: 11 dead
Accidents: 134 dead
20,000-200,000 killed,
80,000 taken prisoner,[5]
75,000 wounded

(see section below)

The Persian Gulf War, also known as the First Gulf War (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991)[6][7] was a United Nations-authorized military conflict between Iraq and a coalition force from 34 nations[8] commissioned with expelling Iraqi forces from Kuwait after Iraq's occupation and annexation of Kuwait in August 1990. Though there were nearly three dozen member states of the coalition, the overwhelming majority of the military forces participating were from the United States and the United Kingdom, but the majority the war costs were paid by Saudi Arabia - around 40 billion of the approximately 50 billion in cost.

The invasion of Kuwait by Iraqi troops was met with immediate economic sanctions against Iraq by some[specify] members of the UN Security Council, and with immediate preparation for war by the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait began in January 1991 and was a decisive victory for the coalition forces, which took over Kuwait and entered Iraqi territory. Aerial and ground combat was confined to Iraq, Kuwait, and bordering areas of Saudi Arabia. Iraq launched missiles against military targets in Saudi Arabia, and at civilian centers in Israel in an attempt to precipitate retaliation by the Jewish state that would destabilize the coalition by alienating its Arab members.

Immediately after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, U.S. President George H. W. Bush started to deploy U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard units to Saudi Arabia (Operation Desert Shield), while at the same time urging other countries to send their own forces to the scene. UN coalition-building efforts were so successful that by the time the fighting (Operation Desert Storm) began on 16 January 1991, twelve countries had sent naval forces, joining the regional states of Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf states, as well as the huge array of the U.S. Navy, which deployed six carrier battle groups; eight countries had sent ground forces, joining the regional troops of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, as well as the seventeen heavy and six light brigades of the U.S. Army and nine Marine regiments, with their large 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 had 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 armoured vehicles, and 3,850 artillery pieces made for greater strength on the ground. Iraq also had 750 fighters and bombers, 200 other aircraft, and elaborate missile and gun defenses.

Since the Iran–Iraq War of 1980–88 had been called the "Persian Gulf War" by many news sources, the 1991 war has sometimes been called the "Second Persian Gulf War", but more commonly, the 1991 war is styled simply the "Gulf War" or the "First Gulf War", in distinction from the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[9] "Operation Desert Storm" was the U.S. name of the air and land operations and is often incorrectly used to refer to the entire conflict; although the U.S. Postal Service issued a postage stamp reflecting Operation Desert Storm in 1992, and the U.S. military awarded campaign ribbons for service in Southwest Asia. Each nation participating had its own operation name for its contribution: U.S. - Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; UK - Operation Granby; Canada - Operation Friction, etc.


[edit] Origins

Throughout much of the Cold War, Iraq had been an ally of the Soviet Union and there was a history of friction between it and the United States of America. The US was concerned with Iraq's position on IsraeliPalestinian politics and its disapproval of the nature of the peace between Israel and Egypt. The US also disliked 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 29 December 1979. The US remained officially neutral after the invasion of Iran that became the Iran–Iraq War, although it assisted Iraq covertly. In March 1982, however, Iran began a successful counteroffensive (Operation Undeniable Victory) and the United States began to more concertedly support Iraq to prevent Iran from forcing an Iraqi surrender.

In a US bid to open full diplomatic relations with Iraq, the country was removed from the US 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."[10] With Iran's newfound success in the war and its rebuff of a peace offer in July, arms sales to Iraq from other states reached a record spike in 1982, but an obstacle remained to any potential US-Iraqi relationship — Abu Nidal continued to operate with official support in Baghdad. When Iraqi President Saddam Hussein expelled the group to Syria at the United States' request in November 1983, the Reagan administration then sent Donald Rumsfeld to meet President Hussein as a special envoy and to cultivate ties.

[edit] Tensions with Kuwait

By the time the ceasefire with Iran was signed in August 1988, Iraq was virtually bankrupt and most of the money it owed was to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq pressured both nations to forgive the debts, but they refused. Kuwait was also accused by Iraq of exceeding its OPEC quotas and driving down the price of oil, thus further hurting the Iraqi economy. The collapse in oil prices had a catastrophic impact on the Iraqi economy. The Iraqi Government described it as a form of economic warfare, which it claimed was aggravated by Kuwait slant-drilling across the border into Iraq's Rumaila oil field.[11]

Kuwait had been part of the Ottoman Empire's province of Basra, and although its ruling dynasty, the al-Sabah family, had concluded a protectorate agreement in 1899 that assigned responsibility for its foreign affairs to Britain. Britain drewthe border between to two countries, and deliberately tried to limit Iraq's access to the ocean so that any future Iraqi government would be in no position to threaten Britain's domination of the Persian Gulf. Iraq refused to accept this border, and did not recognize the Kuwaiti government until 1963.[12]

In late July 1990, as negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait stalled, Iraq massed troops on its border with the emirate and summoned US ambassador April Glaspie to a meeting with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Two transcripts of that meeting have been produced, both of them controversial. In them, Saddam Hussein 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 23 September 1990, Glaspie expressed concern over the troop buildup to President Hussein:

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 (Chedli Klibi, then Arab League General Secretary) or via President Mubarak. All that we hope is that these issues are solved quickly. With regard to all of this, can I ask you to see how the issue appears to us? My assessment after 25 years' service in this area is that your objective must have strong backing from your Arab brothers. I now speak of oil. But you, Mr. President, have fought through a horrific and painful war. Frankly, we can see only that you have deployed massive troops in the south. Normally that would not be any of our business. But when this happens in the context of what you said on your national day, then when we read the details in the two letters of the Foreign Minister, then when we see the Iraqi point of view that the measures taken by the U.A.E. and Kuwait is, in the final analysis, parallel to military aggression against Iraq, then it would be reasonable for me to be concerned. And for this reason, I received an instruction to ask you, in the spirit of friendship — not in the spirit of confrontation — regarding your intentions. I simply describe the position of my Government. And I do not mean that the situation is a simple situation. But our concern is a simple one.

Some have interpreted portions of these statements, particularly the language "We have no opinion on the Arab–Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait", as signaling an American "green light" for the invasion. Although the US State Department did not confirm (or deny) the authenticity of these transcripts, US sources say that it handled everything “by the book” (in accordance with the US' official neutrality on the Iraq–Kuwait issue) and had not signaled to President Hussein any approval for defying the Arab League’s Jeddah crisis squad, which had conducted the negotiations. Many believe that President Hussein may have been influenced by the perception that the US was not interested in the issue, (as they had not minded when he ordered the invasion of Iran) for which the Glaspie transcript is merely an example, and that he may have felt so in part because of US 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 a US 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. 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.

[dubious ]

Saddam Hussein detained several Westerners, with video footage being shown on state television

On 23 August 1990 President Hussein appeared on state television with Western hostages to whom he had refused exit visas. They were seen as human shields, though Saddam Hussein denied the claim. In the video he is seen ruffling the hair of a young boy named Stuart Lockwood. Hussein then asks through the interpreter "Is Stuart getting his milk". He went on to say "We hope your presence as guests here will not be for too long. Your presence here, and in other places, is meant to prevent the scourge of war."[13]

[edit] Diplomacy and Operation Desert Storm

[edit] UN resolution

On 2 August 1990, Saddam launched the invasion of Kuwait. After two days of intense combat, most of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces were either overrun by the Iraqi Republican Guard or escaped to neighboring Saudi Arabia. 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 3 August the Arab League passed its own resolution. The resolution called for a solution to the conflict from within the League, and warned against outside intervention. On 6 August UN Resolution 661 placed economic sanctions on Iraq.

[edit] Withdrawal offers

Originally, Iraq offered to withdraw from Kuwait if Israeli forces withdrew from the Palestinian Territories and Syrian forces withdrew from Lebanon. It later amended this to a request for access to the sea. The US refused to act on either proposal. [14]Iraq was eventually persuaded by the Soviet Union to a full and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait without having won any concessions, but the US insisted on a timeframe that did not allow Iraq to remove all its ordnance. [15] As this would have seriously weakened it militarily, Iraq pressed for more time, but was rebuffed. The US was determined not only that Iraq pull out of Kuwait, but that its ability to threaten its neighbours be reduced.

[edit] Possible attack on Saudi Arabia

The rapid success of the Iraqi army had brought it within easy striking distance of the Hama oil fields, one of Saudi Arabia’s largest oil fields. Iraqi control of these fields as well as Kuwait and Iraqi reserves would have given it control of the majority of the world's reserves. The Iraqi armoured 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 well-equipped arm of the Saudi military.[citation needed]

Iraq had a number of grievances with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis had lent Iraq some 26 billion dollars to prosecute its invasion of Iran, as they feared the influence of mainly Shia Iran's Islamic revolution on its own Shia minority (most of the Saudi oil fields are in territory populated by Shias). The long desert border was also ill-defined. Soon after his conquest of Kuwait, President Hussein began verbally attacking the Saudi kingdom. He argued that the US-supported Saudi state was an illegitimate and unworthy guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. President Hussein combined the language of the Islamist groups that had recently fought in Afghanistan with the rhetoric Iran had long used to attack the Saudis.[citation needed]

[edit] Operation Desert Shield

Acting on the policy of the Carter Doctrine, and out of fear the Iraqi army could launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia, U.S. 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 was when U.S. troops were moved into Saudi Arabia on August 7, 1990 (or August 8 depending on time zone used).[16] This "wholly defensive" doctrine was to be quickly abandoned. 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.[17]

The US 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. A total of 48 U.S. 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 discourage further Iraqi advances. The U.S. also sent the battleships USS Missouri and USS Wisconsin to the region. Military buildup continued from there, eventually reaching 543,000 troops, twice the number used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Much of the material was airlifted or carried to the staging areas via fast sealift ships, allowing a quick buildup.

[edit] Recruiting a coalition

A long series of UN Security Council resolutions and Arab League resolutions were passed regarding the invasion. One of the most important was Resolution 678, passed on 29 November giving Iraq a withdrawal deadline of 15 January 1991, and authorizing “all necessary means to uphold and implement Resolution 660,” a diplomatic formulation authorizing the use of force.[citation needed]

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, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Spain, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States itself.[18] Although they did not contribute any forces, Japan and Germany made financial contributions totaling $10 billion and $6.6 billion respectively. US troops represented 73% of the coalition’s 956,600 troops in Iraq. Many of the coalition forces were reluctant to join; some felt that the war was an internal Arab affair, or did not want to increase US influence in the Middle East. In the end, many nations were persuaded by Iraq’s belligerence towards other Arab states, fear of the US, offers of economic aid or debt forgiveness, and threats to withhold aid. [19]

[edit] Reasons and propaganda campaign for intervention

The United States and the United Nations gave several public justifications for involvement in the conflict. The most prominent reason was the Iraqi violation of Kuwaiti territorial integrity. In addition, the United States moved to support its 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 11 September 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush summed up the reasons with the following remarks: "Within three 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."[20] The Pentagon claimed that satellite photos showing a buildup of Iraqi forces along the border were the source of this information, but this was later shown to be false. A reporter for the Saint Petersburg Times acquired commercial satellite images made at the time in question, which showed nothing but empty desert.[21] Polls showed that upwards of 80% of the American public supported the troop deployment.[22]

Other justifications for foreign involvement included Iraq’s history of human rights abuses under President Hussein. Iraq was also known to possess biological weapons and chemical weapons, which Hussein had used against Iranian troops during the Iran–Iraq War and against his own country's Kurdish population in the Al-Anfal Campaign. Iraq was known to have a nuclear weapons program as well.

Although there were human rights abuses committed in Kuwait by the invading Iraqi military, the ones best known in the US were an invention of the public relations firm hired by the government of Kuwait to influence US opinion in favor of military intervention. Shortly after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the organisation 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.[23] Among many other means of influencing US opinion (distributing books on Iraqi atrocities to US soldiers deployed in the region, 'Free Kuwait' T-shirts and speakers to college campuses, and dozens of video news releases to television stations), the firm arranged for an appearance before a group of members of the US Congress in which a woman identifying herself as 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. A year after the war, however, this allegation was revealed to be a fabrication. The woman who had testified was found to be a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family, in fact the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US[24] She had not been living in Kuwait during the Iraqi invasion. The details of the Hill & Knowlton public relations campaign, including the incubator testimony, were published in a John R. MacArthur's Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the Gulf War (Berkeley, CA: University of CA Press, 1992), and came to wide public attention when an op-ed by MacArthur was published in the New York Times. This prompted a re-examination by Amnesty International, which had originally promoted an account alleging even greater numbers of babies torn from incubators than the original fake testimony; after finding no evidence to support it, the organisation issued a retraction. President George H.W. Bush then repeated the incubator allegations on television.

At the same time, the Iraqi army committed several well-documented crimes during its occupation, such as the summary execution without trial of three brothers after which their bodies were stacked in a pile and left to decay in a public street.[25] Troops also ransacked and looted private Kuwaiti homes, one residence was repeatedly defecated in.[26] A resident later commented, "The whole thing was violence for the sake of violence, destruction for the sake of destruction... Imagine a surrealistic painting by Salvador Dalí".[27]

[edit] Decision to invade

On 12 January 1991 the United States Congress authorized the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait. The votes were 52-47 in the US Senate and 250-183 in the US House of Representatives. 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 followed suit.

[edit] Air campaign

The Persian Gulf War started with an extensive aerial bombing campaign. The coalition flew over 100,000 sorties, dropping 88,500 tons of bombs,[28] and widely destroying military and civilian infrastructure.[29]

[edit] Main air campaign starts

EF-111 Raven - No Coalition aircraft were lost to a radar-guided missile during Desert Storm while an EF-111 was on station.[citation needed].

A day after the deadline set in Resolution, the coalition launched a massive air campaign which began the general offensive codenamed Operation Desert Storm with more than 1,000 sorties launching per day. It began on January 17, 1991, when Task Force Normandy (eight U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters led by two MH-53 Pave Low 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 – destroyed an Iraqi Dassault Mirage F-1, when their low altitude maneuvering led the F-1 into the ground.

At 3 A.M., ten U.S. F-117 Nighthawk stealth bombers under the protection of a three-ship formation of EF-111s bombed Baghdad, the capital.

Within hours of the start of the coalition air campaign, a P-3 Orion called “Outlaw Hunter” developed by the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, which was testing a highly specialised OTH-T (over the horizon targeting system package), detected a large number of Iraqi patrol boats and naval vessels attempting to make a run from Basra and Um Qasar to Iranian waters. “Outlaw Hunter” vectored in strike elements which attacked the flotilla near Bubiyan Island destroying 11 vessels and damaging scores more.

Concurrently, U.S. Navy BGM-109 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles struck targets in Baghdad, and other coalition aircraft struck targets throughout Iraq. Government buildings, 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” because of the advanced weapons used in the air campaign which included precision-guided munitions (or “smart bombs”) and cruise missiles, although these were very much in the minority when compared with "dumb bombs". Cluster munitions and BLU-82 “Daisy Cutters” were also used. Iraq responded by launching eight Iraqi modified Scud missiles into Israel the next day. These missile attacks on Israel were to continue throughout the six weeks of the war. The first priority for Coalition forces was destruction of the Iraqi air force and anti-aircraft facilities. 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. 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, USS John F. Kennedy and USS Ranger. USS America, USS Theodore Roosevelt, and USS Saratoga operated from the Red Sea (USS America transitioned to the Persian Gulf midway through the air war).

Iraqi antiaircraft defenses, including shoulder-launched ground-to-air missiles, were surprisingly effective against coalition aircraft and the coalition suffered 75 aircraft losses.[30][broken citation] In particular, RAF and U.S. Navy aircraft which flew at low altitudes to avoid radar were particularly badly hit, since Iraqi defenses relied very little on radar, and to a large extent on small scale weapons which were well targeted against low-flying aircraft.[31][broken citation]

The next coalition targets were command and communication facilities. Saddam Hussein 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.

USAF A-10A Thunderbolt-II ground attack plane over circles of irrigated crops during Desert Storm.

[edit] Some of Iraq's air force escapes

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 a MIGCAP mission to turn back fleeing Iraqi fighters

The first week of the air war saw a few Iraqi sorties; but these did little damage, and 38 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.[32] The mass exodus of Iraqi aircraft to Iran took coalition forces by surprise as the Coalition had been expecting the aircraft to flee to Jordan, a nation friendly to Iraq rather than Iran, Iraq's long-time enemy. As a purpose of the war was to weaken Iraq militarily, the coalition had placed aircraft over western Iraq to try and stop any retreat into Jordan. This meant 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-15 Eagle and F-14 Tomcat fighters on the Iraq-Iran border (called MIGCAP), thereby stopping the exodus of fleeing Iraqi fighters. Iran has never returned the aircraft to Iraq and did not allow the aircrews to be released until years later. However, most Iraqi planes remained in Iraq. They were devastated by Coalition aircraft throughout the war.

[edit] Infrastructure bombing

The third and largest phase of the air campaign ostensibly targeted military targets throughout Iraq and Kuwait: Scud missile launchers, weapons research facilities, and naval forces. About one-third of the Coalition airpower was devoted to attacking Scuds, some of which were on trucks and therefore difficult to locate. Some US 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 — such as the famous Bravo Two Zero patrol of the SAS.

[edit] Civilian infrastructure

Allied bombing raids were successful in destroying Iraqi civilian infrastructure. 11 of Iraq's 20 major power stations and 119 substations were totally destroyed, while a further six major power stations were damaged.[33][34] 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, turning Iraq from one of the most advanced Arab countries into one of the most backward. Telecommunications equipment, port facilities, oil refineries and distribution, railroads and bridges were also destroyed.

RAF Tornado during Gulf War.

The Iraqi targets were located by aerial photography and were referenced to the GPS coordinates of the US 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 US, gave the GPS receiver to the appropriate intelligence agency in Langley, Virginia, where the exact coordinates of the US Baghdad embassy were officially determined. This position served as the origin for a coordinate system used to designate targets in Baghdad. [35]

Jordan's neutrality in the war prompted US jets to bomb highways linking Jordan and Iraq, crippling infrastructure on both sides.

[edit] Civilian casualties

The US government claimed the Iraqi government fabricated numerous attacks on Iraqi holy sites in order to rally the Muslim community. One such instance had Iraq reporting that coalition forces attacked the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. The final number of Iraqi civilians killed was 2,278, while 5,965 were reported wounded.[36]

On February 13, 1991, two laser-guided smart bombs destroyed the Amiriyah blockhouse, which was a civilian air shelter, killing hundreds of civilians. US officials claimed that the blockhouse was also a military communications centre. Jeremy Bowen, a BBC correspondent, was one of the first television reporters on the scene. Bowen was given access to the site and did not find evidence of military use.[37]

[edit] Iraq launches missile strikes

If Iraq was to be forced to obey UN resolutions, the Iraqi government made it no secret that it would respond by attacking Israel. Before the war started, Tariq Aziz, Iraqi Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, was asked, “if war starts...will you attack Israel?” His response was, “Yes, absolutely, yes.”[38] The Iraqis hoped that attacking Israel would draw it into the war. It was expected that this would then lead to the withdrawal of the US' Arab allies, who would be reluctant to fight alongside Israel. Israel did not join the coalition, and all Arab states stayed in the coalition. The Scud missiles generally caused fairly light damage, although their potency was felt on February 25 when 28 US soldiers 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 a dramatic reduction in accuracy and payload. Nevertheless, the total of 39 missiles that landed on Israel caused extensive property damage and two direct deaths, and caused the United States to deploy two Patriot missile battalions in Israel, and the Netherlands to send one Patriot Squadron, in an attempt to deflect the attacks. Allied air forces were also extensively exercised in "Scud hunts" in the Iraqi desert, trying to locate the camouflaged trucks before they fired their missiles at Israel or Saudi Arabia. Three Scud missiles, along with a coalition Patriot that malfunctioned, hit Ramat Gan in Israel on January 22, 1991, injuring 96 people, and indirectly causing the deaths of three elderly people who died of heart attacks. Israeli policy for the previous forty years had always been retaliation, but at the urging of the US and other commanders, the Israeli government decided that discretion was the better part of valour in this instance. After initial hits by Scud missiles, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir hesitantly refused any retaliating measures against Iraq, due to increasing pressure from the United States to remain out of the conflict.[39] The US government was concerned that any Israeli action would cost them allies and escalate the conflict, and an air strike by the IAF would have required overflying hostile Jordan or Syria, which could have provoked them to enter the war on Iraq's side or to attack Israel.

[edit] Battle of Khafji

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 and Qatari forces supported by the United States Marine Corps with close air support over the following two days. Casualties were heavy on both sides. Coalition forces lost a total of 43 dead, 32 to enemy fire and 11 to friendly fire. Coalition troops also lost 52 wounded and 2 captured. Iraqi forces in Khafji lost 60-300 dead and 400 captured. 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 east 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 US deployment along superior defensive lines.

[edit] Vulnerability of Iraq against air power

The effect of the air campaign was to devastate 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 a large number (450,000) of Iraqi troops from achieving a larger force concentration.

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 US forces, but were instead dispersed, as with Yugoslav forces in Kosovo. Opposing forces also reduced the length of their supply lines and the total area defended. This was seen during the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan when the Taliban preemptively abandoned large swathes 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.

[edit] Ground campaign

Ground troop movements from February 24-28th 1991 during Operation Desert Storm.

The Coalition forces dominated the air with their technological advantages, but the ground forces were considered to be more evenly matched up between Iraqi and Coalition infantry. Coalition ground forces had the significant advantage of being able to operate under the protection of air superiority that had been achieved by their Air Forces prior to the start of the main ground offensive. Coalition forces also had two key technological advantages:

  1. The Coalition Main Battle Tanks such as the US M1 Abrams, British Challenger 1 and Kuwaiti M-84AB were vastly superior to the export version Soviet-built T-72 tanks used by the Iraqis, with crews better trained and armoured doctrine better developed;
  2. 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 aimlessly and firing at whatever hostile forces they bumped into.

[edit] Initial moves into Iraq

The ground phase of the war was given the official designation Operation Desert Sabre [40]. The first units to move into Iraq were three patrols of B squadron of the British Special Air Service, callsigns Bravo One Zero, Bravo Two Zero, and Bravo Three Zero, in late January. These eight-man patrols landed behind Iraqi lines to gather intelligence on the movements of Scud mobile missile launchers, which could not be detected from the air, as during the day they would hide under bridges and camouflage netting. Other objectives included the destruction of the launchers and their fibre optic communications arrays that lay in pipelines, relaying coordinates to the TEL operators launching attacks against Israel.

Elements of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division of the US Army performed a covert Reconnaissance into Iraq on 9 February 1991, followed by one in force on February 20 that destroyed an Iraqi battalion[citation needed]. 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 six 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 Coalition rejected the proposal but said that retreating Iraqi forces would not be attacked[citation needed], and gave twenty-four hours for Iraq to begin withdrawing forces. However, on February 25, 1991, Iraqi troops launched a missile at a Coalition barracks in Dharan, Saudi Arabia. The missile attack killed 28 American reservists.[41]

[edit] Coalition forces enter Iraq

Shortly afterwards, the U.S. VII Corps assembled in full strength and, spear-headed by the 3rd Squadron of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (3/2 ACR), launched an armoured attack into Iraq early Sunday, February 24, 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 Armoured Cavalry Regiment (3rd ACR) and the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). The left flank of this movement was protected by the French 6th Light Armoured Division Daguet. The French force quickly overcame the Iraqi 45th Infantry Division, suffering only a handful of casualties and taking a large number of prisoners, and took up blocking positions to prevent an Iraqi counter-attack on 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.

General Colin Powell briefs US President George H. W. Bush and his advisors on the progress of the ground war

The Coalition advance was much swifter than US generals had expected. On February 26, Iraqi troops began retreating from Kuwait, setting fire to Kuwaiti oil fields as they left. A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. Even though they were retreating, this convoy was bombed so extensively by Coalition forces that it came to be known as the Highway of Death. Hundreds of Iraqi troops were killed. Critics of the action contend that the column also contained prisoners and other fleeing Iraqi civilians, such as families of Iraqi military units.[who?] Forces from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France continued to pursue retreating Iraqi forces over the border and back into Iraq, fighting frequent battles which resulted in massive losses for the Iraqi side and moderate losses on the coalition side, eventually moving to within 150 miles (240 km) of Baghdad before withdrawing.

The mixture of civilian and military vehicles on the Highway of Death

One hundred hours after the ground campaign started, President Bush declared a cease-fire and on April 6 he declared that Kuwait had been liberated.

[edit] Post-war military analysis

Although it was said at the time in Western media 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 Turkish-Iraqi border. This caused significant force dilution of the Iraqi military by forcing it to deploy its forces along all its borders. This allowed the main thrust by the US to not only possess a significant technological advantage but also a superiority in real force numbers.

The widespread support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war meant Iraq had military equipment from almost every major dealer of the world's weapons market. This resulted in a lack of standardization in this large heterogeneous force, which additionally suffered from poor training and poor motivation. The majority of Iraqi armoured forces still used old Chinese Type-59s and Type-69s, Soviet-made T-55s from the 1950s and 1960s, and some T-72s from the 1970s in 1991. These machines were not equipped with up-to-date equipment, such as thermal sights or laser rangefinders, and their effectiveness in modern combat was very limited. The Iraqis failed to find an effective countermeasure to the thermal sights and the sabot rounds used by the M1 Abrams, Challenger 1 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 tank crews used old, cheap steel penetrators against the advanced Chobham Armour of these US and British tanks, with disastrous results. 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.

Iraqis also tried to copy the 1950s Soviet doctrine of mass attacks, but the implementation failed due to the lack of skill of their commanders and the preventive air strikes of the USAF on communication centers and bunkers.

[edit] The end of active hostilities

A peace conference was held in Iraqi territory occupied by the coalition, where a cease fire agreement was negotiated and signed by both sides. 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 Hussein.[42]

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 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.[43]

Instead of greater involvement of its own military, the United States hoped that Saddam Hussein would be overthrown in an internal coup d'état. 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.

[edit] Coalition involvement

Members of the Coalition inlcuded Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Kuwait, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Korea, Spain, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States of America.[5] 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". United States 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.

[edit] United Kingdom

The United Kingdom sent the largest contingent of any European nation participating in combat operations during the war. Operation Granby was the name for the operations in the Persian Gulf. British Army regiments (mainly with the British 1st Armoured Division), Royal Navy vessels, and Royal Air Force squadrons were mobilised 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[5] 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.

[edit] France

The second largest European contingent was from France, with 18,000 troops.[5] Operating on the left flank of the U.S. 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 U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps. France also deployed combat aircraft and naval units. The French called their contribution Opération Daguet.

[edit] Canada

A column of M-113 APCs and other military vehicles of the Royal Saudi Land Force travels along a channel cleared of mines during Operation Desert Storm, Kuwait, 1 March 1991.

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 committed the Canadian Forces to deploy the destroyers HMCS Terra Nova and HMCS Athabaskan to join the maritime interdiction force. The supply ship HMCS Protecteur was also sent to aid the gathering coalition logistics forces in the Persian Gulf. A fourth ship, HMCS Huron arrived in-theatre after hostilities ceased and visited Kuwait.

After the UN authorised full use of force against Iraq, the Canadian Forces deployed a CF-18 Hornet squadron with support personnel as well as a field hospital to deal with casualties from the ground war. When the air war began, Canada's CF-18s were integrated into the coalition force and were tasked with providing air cover and attacking ground targets. This was the first time since the Korean War that the Canadian military had participated in offensive combat operations.

[edit] Coalition military personnel deployment[44]

List of Coalition forces by number of military personnel
Country Number of personnel Comments / Major Events
 United States 575,000 - 697,000 Operation Desert Shield
Battle of Khafji
Battle of 73 Easting
Battle of Al Busayyah
Battle of Phase Line Bullet
Battle of Medina Ridge
Battle of Wadi Al-Batin
Battle of Norfolk
Operation Desert Storm.
 Saudi Arabia 52,000 - 100,000 Operation Desert Shield
Battle of Khafji
Operation Desert Storm
 United Kingdom 43,000 - 45,400 Operation Desert Shield
Operation Granby
Operation Desert Storm
 Egypt 33,600 - 35,000 Operation Desert Storm
 France 18,000 Opération Daguet
 Syria 14,500 Operation Desert Storm
 Morocco 13,000
 Kuwait 9,900 Invasion of Kuwait
Operation Desert Storm
 Oman 6,300 Operation Desert Storm
 Pakistan 4,900 - 5,500
 Canada 2,700 in-theatre, 4,500 total [45] Operation FRICTION
 United Arab Emirates 4,300 Operation Desert Storm
 Qatar 2,600 Battle of Khafji
 Bangladesh 2,200
 Australia 1,800 Australian contribution to the 1991 Gulf War
 Italy 1,200 Deployed Panavia Tornado strike attack aircraft
 Netherlands 600 Naval deployment
 Niger 600
 Senegal 500
 Spain 500 Naval deployment
 Bahrain 400
 Belgium 400
 South Korea 314 Medical & transportation support
 Afghanistan 300
 Argentina 300 Naval deployment
 Czechoslovakia 200 Operation Desert Shield
Operation Desert Storm
 Greece 200
 Poland 200 Operation Simoom
Naval & medical deployment
 Philippines 200[citation needed] Medical personnel
 Denmark 100
 Hungary 50
 Norway 280

[edit] Casualties

[edit] Coalition losses

The DoD reports that U.S. forces suffered 148 battle-related deaths, plus one pilot listed as MIA. A further 145 Americans died in out-of-combat accidents. The UK suffered 47 deaths (38 from Iraqi fire), France 2 and the Arab countries, not including Kuwait, suffered 37 deaths (18 Saudis, 10 Egyptians, 6 from the UAE and 3 Syrians).[46][47] At least 605 Kuwaiti soldiers were still missing 10 years following their capture.[48]

The largest single loss of life among 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. In all, 190 coalition troops were killed by Iraqi fire during the war, 113 of them American, out of a total of 358 coalition deaths. Another 44 soldiers were killed and 57 wounded by friendly fire. 145 soldiers died of exploding munitions, or out of combat accidents.[citation needed]

The number of coalition wounded in combat seems to have been 776, including 458 Americans.[49]

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.[50] About 30% of the 700,000 men and women who served in U.S. forces during the Gulf War still suffer an array of serious symptoms whose causes are not fully understood.[51]

[edit] Coalition losses to enemy fire

190 Coalition troops were killed engaging Iraqi combatants, the rest of the 379 coalition deaths being from friendly fire or accidents. This number was much lower than expected.

This is a list of Coalition troops killed by Iraqi combatants by country.

Flag of the United States United States - 113

Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom - 38

Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia - 18

Flag of Egypt Egypt - 10

Flag of the United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates - 6

Flag of Syria Syria - 3

Flag of France France - 2

Flag of Kuwait Kuwait - unknown

[edit] Friendly fire

While the death toll among Coalition forces engaging Iraqi combatants was very low, a substantial number of deaths were caused by accidental attacks from other allied units. Of the 148 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.

[edit] Pre-war estimates

Before the war Pentagon officials were estimating 30,004-40,032 coalition casualties.[citation needed]

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 (the model makes use of 'human' factors such as morale and they predicted that very few Iraqi divisions would put up resistance).[citation needed]

[edit] Iraqi deaths

The exact number of Iraqi combat casualties is unknown, but known to be heavy. Immediate estimates said up to 100,000 Iraqis were killed. Some now estimate that Iraq sustained between 20,000 and 35,000 fatalities. However other figures still maintain fatalities as high as 200,000.[52]

A report commissioned by the U.S. Air Force, estimated 10,000-12,000 Iraqi combat deaths in the air campaign and as many as 10,000 casualties in the ground war.[53] This analysis is based on Iraqi prisoner of war reports. It is known that between 20,000 and 200,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed.

Saddam Hussein's government gave high civilian casualty figures in order to draw support from the Islamic countries.[citation needed] The Iraqi government claimed that 2,300 civilians died during the air campaign.

According to the Project on Defense Alternatives study,[54] 3,664 Iraqi civilians and between 20,000 and 26,000 military personnel were killed in the conflict. 75,000 Iraqi soldiers were wounded in the fighting.

[edit] 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 of them 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.

During the long bombing campaign prior to the ground war, many aerial attacks 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. Some estimates 2,300 to 200,000 Iraqi civilians were killed during the war. Other research, such as an investigation by Beth Osborne Daponte, has speculated on civilian fatalites as high as 100,000. [52] Notably, the coaltion forces claimed they expressly avoided the targeting of civilians and damage to civilian areas, unlike previous campaigns such as the Bombing of Tokyo in World War II.

[edit] Israeli civilian losses

Thirty-nine Scud missiles were fired into Israel by Iraq during the seven weeks of the war.[55] Three Israeli civilians died due to these attacks, in addition to approximately 78 injured. More than one third of these injuries were caused by the attack on January 19, 1991, which injured 29 people. [56] Several others suffered fatal heart attacks immediately after the missile strikes. Israel was eager to respond with military force to these attacks, but agreed not to when asked by the U.S. Government who feared that if Israel became involved, the other Arab nations would either desert from the coalition or join Iraq. Israel was given two batteries of MIM-104 Patriot missiles for the protection of civilians.[57] The Royal Netherlands Air Force also deployed Patriot missiles in Turkey and Israel to counter the Scud threat. The Dutch Ministry of Defense later stated that the military use of the Patriot missile system was largely ineffective, but its psychological value was high.[58]

[edit] Gulf War controversies

[edit] Gulf War Illness

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.

[edit] Effects of depleted uranium

Approximate area and major clashes in which DU rounds were used.

Depleted uranium (DU) was used in the Gulf War in tank kinetic energy penetrators and 20-30 mm cannon ordnance. DU is a pyrophoric, genotoxic, and teratogenic heavy metal. Its use during the First Gulf War has been cited by many as a contributing factor in a number of instances of health issues in both veterans of the conflict as well as the surrounding civilian populations, although scientific opinion on the risk is mixed.[59][60][61]

[edit] Highway of Death

On the night of February 26 and February 27 1991, defeated Iraqi forces began leaving Kuwait on the main highway north of Al Jahra in a column of some 1400 vehicles. U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy jets pursued and destroyed the convoy, subjecting it to sustained bombing for several hours. The convoy also contained some stolen vehicles loaded up with stolen 'loot' from Kuwait.[citation needed]Given the nature of aerial attack, the Iraq troops were not given any opportunities to surrender.[62].

[edit] Bulldozer assault

Another 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." One newspaper story reported that the US commanders estimated thousands of Iraqi soldiers surrendered, escaping burial 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. After the war, the Iraqi government claimed to have found 44 bodies.[63]. In his book 'The wars against Saddam' John Simpson, alleges that the US forces attempted to cover up this incident.[64].

[edit] Abuse of coalition POWs

During the conflict coalition aircrew shot down over Iraq were displayed as POWs on TV, most with visible signs of abuse. Amongst several testimonies to poor treatment,[65] Royal Air Force Tornado crew John Nichol and John Peters have both alleged that they were tortured during this time.[66][67]Nichol and Peters were forced to make statements against the war in front of television cameras, but this only increased outrage against Hussein[68]

[edit] Gulf War oil spill

On January 23, Iraq was accused of dumping 400 million gallons of crude oil into the Persian Gulf, causing the largest oil spill in history.[69] It was reported as a deliberate natural resources attack to keep U.S. Marine forces from coming ashore. 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.[citation needed]

[edit] Cost

The cost of the war to the United States was calculated by the United States Congress to be $61.1 billion.[70] About $52 billion of that amount was paid by different countries around the world: $36 billion by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf States; $16 billion by Germany and Japan (which sent no combat forces due to its constitution). About 25% of Saudi Arabia's contribution was paid in the form of in-kind services to the troops, such as food and transportation.[70] U.S. troops represented about 74% of the combined force, and the global cost was therefore higher.

[edit] Media

The Persian 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.

An unusual Hutt River Province (Australia) commemorative coin.

Still, it was CNN which 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 audio reports from the Al-Rashid Hotel as the air strikes began. The network had previously convinced the Iraqi government to allow installation of a permanent audio circuit in their makeshift bureau. When the telephones of all of the other Western TV correspondents went dead during the bombing, CNN was the only service able to provide live reporting. After the initial bombing, Arnett remained behind and was, for a time, the only American TV correspondent reporting from Iraq.

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 organised 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. 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. About halfway through the war, Iraq's government decided to allow live satellite transmissions from the country by Western news organisations, and American journalists returned en masse to Baghdad. Tom Aspell of NBC, Bill Blakemore of ABC, and Betsy Aaron of CBS filed reports, subject to acknowledged Iraqi censorship. Throughout the war, footage of incoming missiles was broadcast almost immediately. 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.

[edit] Technology

The USS Missouri launches a Tomahawk missile. The Gulf War was the last conflict in which battleships were deployed in a combat role.

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 disperse numerous submunitions,[71] 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 East 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 mobilisation 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.

The USA's Patriot missile was used for the first time in combat. The U.S. military claimed a high effectiveness against Scuds at the time. Later estimates of the Patriot's effectiveness range widely. The Dutch Ministry of Defense (the Netherlands also sent Patriot missiles to protect civilians in Israel and Turkey) for example later disputed this claim (see note 51). Further, there is at least one incident of a software error causing a Patriot missile's failure to engage an incoming Scud, resulting in deaths.[72]

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.[73]

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. Two examples of this is the U.S. Navy E-2 Hawkeye and the U.S. Air Force E-3 Sentry. Both were used in command and control area of operations. They provided essential communications link between the ground forces, air forces, and the navy. It is one the many reasons why the air war during the Gulf war was dominated by the Coalition Forces.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes and references

  1. ^ Gulf War, the Sandhurst-trained Prince Khaled bin Sultan al-Saud was co commander with General Norman Schwarzkopf
  2. ^ General Khaled was Co-Commander, with U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf, of the allied coalition that liberated Kuwait
  3. ^ Gulf War Coalition Forces (Latest available) by country
  4. ^ a b Geoffrey Regan, p.214
  5. ^ a b c d Crocker III, H. W. (2006). Don't Tread on Me. New York: Crown Forum. pp. 386. ISBN 9781400053636. 
  6. ^ "Frontline Chronology" (PDF). Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved on 2007-03-20. 
  7. ^ CNN, 16 January 2001 [1]
  8. ^ " In-depth specials — Gulf War". CNN. 2001. 
  9. ^ "Rescue Operations in the Second Gulf War". Air & Space Power Journal. Spring 2005. 
  10. ^ Douglas A. Borer (2003). "Inverse Engagement: Lessons from U.S.-Iraq Relations, 1982–1990". U.S. Army Professional Writing Collection. U.S. Army. Retrieved on 2006-10-12. 
  11. ^ Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. 2nd Ed pg. 464
  12. ^ Cleveland, William L. A History of the Modern Middle East. 2nd Ed pg. 463
  13. ^ BBC News. "1990: Outrage at Iraqi TV hostage show". Accessed 2 September 2007.
  14. ^
  15. ^,M1
  16. ^ "The Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Timeline". Retrieved on March 29 2007. 
  17. ^ "15 Years After Desert Storm, U.S. Commitment to Region Continues". Retrieved on March 29 2007. 
  18. ^ "The Unfinished War: A Decade Since Desert Storm". CNN In-Depth Specials. 2001. Retrieved on 2008-04-05. 
  19. ^
  20. ^ Miller Center of Public Affairs - Presidential Speech Archive
  21. ^ In war, some facts less factual |
  22. ^ - Poll results show support for Iraq pullout, flag-burning amendment
  23. ^ How PR Sold the War in the Persian Gulf | Center for Media and Democracy
  24. ^ Kuwaitgate - killing of Kuwaiti babies by Iraqi soldiers exaggerated | Washington Monthly | Find Articles at BNET
  25. ^ Kanan, Makiya. Cruelty and Silence. (W.W. Norton & Company: 1993). P.40
  26. ^ Kanan, Makiya, P.31-33.
  27. ^ Kanan, Makiya, P.32.
  28. ^ ITV - John Pilger - In the Gulf war, every last nail was accounted for, but the Iraqi dead went untallied. At last their story is being told
  29. ^ Operation Desert Storm
  30. ^ " In-depth specials — Gulf War". CNN. 2001. 
  31. ^ Atkinson, Rick (2003). "frontline: the gulf war: chronology". SBS. 
  32. ^ "Iraqi Air Force Equipment — Introduction". Retrieved on January 18 2005. 
  34. ^ John Sweeney Responds on Mass Death in Iraq
  35. ^ Clancy, Tom (1994). Armored Cav. Berkley Books. pp. 180. ISBN 0425158365. 
  36. ^ Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order, 1990-1991 (Princeton, 1993), 324-29.(
  37. ^ Report aired on BBC 1, 14 February 1991
  38. ^ Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order, 1990-1991 (Princeton, 1993), 332.
  39. ^ Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order, 1990-1991 (Princeton, 1993), 331-41.
  40. ^
  41. ^ twentieth century battlefields, the gulf war
  42. ^ Robert Fisk. The Great War for Civilisation, Vintage (2007 reprint), at p. 646.
  43. ^ ""Cheney changed his view on Iraq", by Charles Pope, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 29, 2004". Retrieved on January 7 2005. 
  44. ^ - Gulf War Coalition - Troops by country
  45. ^ [2]
  46. ^ In-Depth Specials - Gulf War
  47. ^ WikiAnswers - How many Americans died in the Gulf War
  48. ^
  49. ^ Persian Gulf War - MSN Encarta
  50. ^ NGWRC: Serving veterans of recent and current wars
  51. ^ Is an Armament Sickening U.S. Soldiers?
  52. ^ a b Robert Fisk, The Great War For Civilisation; The Conquest of the Middle East (Fourth Estate, 2005), p.853.
  53. ^ Keaney, Thomas; Eliot A. Cohen (1993). Gulf War Air Power Survey. United States Dept. of the Air Force. ISBN 0-16-041950-6. 
  54. ^ Wages of War - Appendix 2: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 1991 Gulf War
  55. ^ "Saddam's Irag: Key events". BBC News. 2003. Retrieved on 2009-01-11. 
  56. ^ New York Times, January 20, 1991.
  57. ^ "Three Isrealis killed as Scuds hit Tel Aviv". The Tech. 1991. Retrieved on 2009-01-11. 
  58. ^ "Betrokkenheid van Nederland" (in Dutch). Ministerie van Defensie. 2009. Retrieved on 2009-01-11. 
  59. ^ Schröder H, Heimers A, Frentzel-Beyme R, Schott A, Hoffman W (2003). "Chromosome Aberration Analysis in Peripheral Lymphocytes of Gulf War and Balkans War Veterans". Radiation Protection Dosimetry 103: 211–219. 
  60. ^ Hindin, R. et al. (2005) "Teratogenicity of depleted uranium aerosols: A review from an epidemiological perspective," Environmental Health, vol. 4, pp. 17.
  61. ^ An Analysis of Uranium Dispersal and Health Effects Using a Gulf War Case Study, Albert C. Marshall, Sandia National Laboratories
  62. ^ • Peter and Dan Snow, 20th Century Battlefields. BBC books: London, 2008
  63. ^ "frontline: the gulf war: appendix: Iraqi death toll". Retrieved on December 4 2005. 
  64. ^ • John Simpson, The Wars Against Saddam. MacMillan: Basingstoke. 2003.
  65. ^ Frontline: War Stories
  66. ^ The Flight That Changed My Life
  67. ^ War Story:John Peters
  68. ^ twentieth century battlefields-gulf war
  69. ^ Duke Magazine-Oil Spill-After the Deluge, by Jeffrey Pollack-Mar/Apr 2003
  70. ^ a b How much did the Gulf War cost the US?
  71. ^
  72. ^ The Patriot Missile Failure
  73. ^ "Conclusions" (PDF). Retrieved on December 4 2005. 

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Films about the Gulf War

[edit] Novels about the Gulf War

[edit] Video games related to the Gulf War

[edit] External links

Personal tools