Gulf War Essay, Research Paper
I.Introduction – Why did a coalition of over 30 nations find it was necessary to go to war to help Kuwait after it was invaded by Iraq? How did the coalition defeat the Iraqis? And although the coalition won there were many consequences to face when the war ended.
II.Reasons for war
b.Iraq?s? Economic Crisis
d.Disputes over Boundary
III.Forming of the Coalition
a.Nations joining the Coalition
c.Gulf War Syndrome
d.Reconstruction of Kuwait
VI.Conclusion ? When the coalition of over 30 nations was formed by President Bush to help Kuwait after it was invaded by Iraq, they had their own strategy to win. With all the different parts of the strategy put together they won the war, but with consequences to face (some good, others bad).
The Persian Gulf War
Why did a coalition of over 30 nations find it was necessary to go to war to help Kuwait after it was invaded by Iraq? How did the Coalition defeat the Iraqis?? Although the Coalition won there were many consequences to face. The causes of the war started with Saddam Hussein, then the Iraqi?s economic condition, and the dispute over boundaries, and finally oil. When the Iraqi?s invaded Kuwait a coalition was formed against them, which consisted of the use of many types of military strategies. When the coalition won there were casualties, the Gulf War Syndrome, and still some things to deal with in Kuwait.
Since the invasion of Kuwait caught the world by surprise the question in everybody?s mind was ? What were the reasons for the invasion? The first reason was Saddam Hussein. Saddam had two distinct characteristics: one, the determination to be remembered in history, two, and a certain vision of the future. Saddam wanted to have a unified Arab world with Baghdad as its center. Hussein also felt that after that after the fall of the Ottoman Empire there was an uneven distribution of wealth from oil reserves to the allied nations. Iraq?s only hope of survival was clearly oil revenues from its neighbor, Kuwait. Iraq?s economy was also hurt with the consequences of the 8-year Iran-Iraq War. When Iraq?s leaders claimed victory there were three-quarters of a million casualties (one third Iraqis), and heavy debt from weapon purchases and reconstruction costs. The debt totaled nearly $130 billion. After the war countries slowed the granting of loans to rebuild Iraq. At this time Iraq had to find money or it would not survive. The only source of money would be to sell Iraq?s oil at high prices or to get Kuwait?s oil.
Kuwait was a major oil target for Iraq because it would give them major control over the world?s oil reserves and a large role in OPEC and its policies. Despite Kuwait?s oil wealth it was already a wealthy country. If it came down to it Kuwait could survive without its oil revenue because of all its investments. In 1990 when the price of oil started dropping Iraq was in real trouble. At an OPEC meeting in May 1990, Iraq stressed their anger about Kuwait?s over production of oil. On Baghdad Radio it was reported that Saddam Hussein stated that the continuing of over production of oil and its effect on oil prices was a so-called war on Iraq. Iran supported Iraq when they requested that the minimum price of oil was set to $25 per barrel, which was $14 at the time. OPEC eventually agreed to $21 per barrel of oil. After the agreement it was assumed that the Iraqi-Kuwaiti dispute was over. But that assumption was wrong.
There were disputes over the land boundaries and Kuwait?s right to stay an independent state. The UK granted Kuwait independence in 1961. The Iraqis felt that in 1871 when Kuwait became part of the Ottoman providence it belonged to them when Iraq was created by joining the Ottoman providences of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. However, there were some issues that Kuwait was not taking into consideration such as when Kuwait was detached from the Ottoman Empire in 1899 by the UK. The disputes over land boundaries were mostly about access to the sea and the islands of Warba and Babiyan. The northern borders of Kuwait and Iraq followed the line of the UK-Ottoman Convention of 1913. This is when Kuwait was also given the two islands. The northwestern and western borders were specified in the Iraqi-Kuwaiti Convention of 1932. Iraq?s access to the sea was blocked by land except for one small outlet to the gulf. Its major problem with this is it has no outlets for exports. Iraq felt it would be ideal to have a deep-water port on the Kuwaiti coast. In 1963 Baghdad tried to have the borders adjusted; it was rejected and so was the idea in 1984 to lease the islands.
Kuwait was clearly outnumbered on the morning of August 2nd when 150,000 Iraqi troops headed for Kuwait City. The Iraqi?s quickly took control of Kuwait City and very soon after they had control of the whole country. The Security Council immediately started an economic embargo on Iraq that stopped almost all trade with Iraq. On August 6th the United States announced its deployment of 400,000 military troops to Saudi Arabia. After this twelve members of the Arab League also voted to send troops. 200,000 addition troops were sent from Saudi Arabia, The United Kingdom, France, Kuwait, Egypt, Syria, Senegal, Niger, Morocco, Bangladesh, Pakistan, The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. Countries which contributed ships, air forces and medical units included Canada, Italy, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Czechoslovakia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Poland, and South Korea. Turkey allowed uses of its air bases and Japan and Germany gave financial support.
The Coalition became essential from the very beginning. ?Unilateral U.S. response to Saddam?s invasion could well have gotten us crosswise with the Soviet Union, even other Arab countries and even Europe. It was essential that other countries join in, and that the United Nation be involved . . . the aggression was so clear, and the U.N.?s stated objective, that we all felt we could and must get the U.N. to pass a resolution. In doing so, not only could we bring together the Coalition that would commit forces, but major powers such as China be committed.? The coalition strategy was summarized by Colin Powell who said, ? First we?re going to cut the Iraqi army off, and then we?re going to kill it. The Coalition used all four types of strategy:
1.Combat Strategy ? Enemy?s forces are directly attacked
2.Logistic Strategy ? Indirect attack striking supplies, supply lines, and supply sources
3.Persisting Strategy ? Attacks to gain territory and defending territory
4.Raiding Strategy ? Hit-and-Run attacks
Using these four types of strategy there were four phases to the overall strategy. The first phase was to use air power with logistic and raiding strategies. The second and third phase was combat and raiding strategies that would use standoff air power, close-in power, ground artillery and naval artillery. The fourth phase used a combat and persisting strategy, which was set out to remove Iraqi forces.
During all four phases the Coalition concentrated on the Iraqi weaknesses. The greatest weakness was their underestimation of the Coalition?s capabilities. The Iraqi strategy was based on things they learned in the Iran-Iraq War: reliance on entrenched, static defenses and the Coalitions unwillingness to absorb heavy casualties. Iraq had one major problem though ? not enough troops to defend everywhere and not enough intelligence or mobility to defend at attack points.
A large majority of the U.S. population opposed military action. Many were concerned the military forces would suffer large amounts of casualties and said that the only reason for the invasion was a cheap oil supply. President George Bush argued that the UN gave him the authority to use military forces. Many Americans also believed that Congress did not give the President a declaration of war. On January 12, 1991, the U.S. Congress authorized the President to use force. Thus, on January 17, 1991, Coalition forces began a massive air attack on Iraqi targets. The air assaults three main goals were to attack Iraqi air defenses, disrupt communication and control, and to weaken ground forces in and around Kuwait. Disrupting communication and control would be tough. To defeat the task they would have to attack Iraqi electrical system, communication centers, roads, bridges, and other targets. The problem with these areas was that they were in civilian areas and both civilians and military used them. Although the Coalition used very precise weapons it caused many civilian casualties and disrupted Iraqi civilian life. The Coalition also felt that weakening ground forces would also be difficult. They used less complicated weaponry and within five and a half weeks on intense bombing and over 100,000 flights the Iraqi forces were severely damaged.
The Iraqis attempted to split the coalition by firing Scud missiles at Saudi Arabia and Israel, but they failed. Iraq also threatened to use chemical and biological warfare. In return the U.S. said they would use nuclear weapons in response. The Coalition deployed technologically advanced weapon systems, such as unmanned Tomahawk cruise missiles, Patriot antiaircraft systems, and advanced infrared targeting. It also used aircraft that had never been used in combat before, such as British Tornado and USF-117A stealth fighters. One month into the air war, Iraqis began negotiating with the USSR over withdrawing from Kuwait. The Coalition sensed victory. The five weeks of air attacks greatly affected the Iraqi front line troops. On February 24th the Coalition launched its ground troops. The Coalition troops started in the southwest and moved northeast. This allowed the Coalition to move up the coast and take over Kuwait City. The Coalition advanced quicker than anticipated. Thousands of Iraqi troops surrendered and deserted. Iraq decided to destroy Kuwait and so they set many oil wells on fire, which created oil lakes, thick black smoke, and other environmental damage. Two days later Iraq announced that they would be leaving Kuwait. Thus, the Coalition fulfilled its goals.
The end of the war did have some consequences for the Coalition. The Security Council made strict demands for ending sanctions between the UN and Iraq. Iraq would have to accept liability for damages, destroy chemical and biological weapons, ballistic missiles, forego nuclear weapons programs, and accept international inspection to ensure the conditions were met. Iraq resisted and said its withdrawal from Kuwait was sufficient. The Kuwaiti country was covered in spilled oil pools, 730 burning oil wells, and thousands of land mines.
The American casualties were minimal. The U.S. suffered 148 killed in action, 407 wounded, and 121 killed in non-hostile actions. 15 of these casualties were women. The Iraqis suffered many more casualties. 100,000 soldiers died, 300,000 wounded, 150,000 deserted, and 60,000 were taken prisoner. Many researchers claim that these numbers are even low.
One consequence that badly affected the American soldiers of the war was Gulf War Syndrome. The soldiers developed health problems, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, insomnia, short-term memory loss, rashes, headaches, blurred vision, and aching joints. Recently researchers discovered that children of Gulf War Veterans are two to three more time likely to have birth defects and miscarriages. The cause of the syndrome was unknown, but there are some ideas of the cause: Exposure to chemical and biological weapons, experimental drugs given to troops to protect against chemical weapons, vaccinations against illness and disease, insecticides sprayed over troop-populated areas, and smoke from burning oil wells. It was known that 20,000 troops had been exposed to a toxic nerve gas called sarin. Later it was suggested by the CIA that perhaps hundreds of thousands of soldiers were exposed.
Most of the economic embargo on Iraq continued after the war. There were also countries that enforced other sanctions such as no-fly zones. Iraq finally agreed to pay for some of the damages done to Kuwait. In 1998, Iraq blocked the inspectors, which then made the U.S and Britain to launch a four-day air attack. In response Iraq refused to follow inspection rules and threatened to fire at planes patrolling no-fly zones.
There were four main causes for the Iraqis to invade Kuwait. When Iraq invaded Kuwait a Coalition was formed against them, started by President George Bush. Many countries joined the Coalition to help out. The war started with air strikes and ended with ground troops. When Iraq was driven out of Kuwait they destroyed the country. After the war American Gulf War Vets were faced with the new Gulf War Syndrome and some casualties. The UN also had some problems to take care of with Iraq. Kuwait needed some rebuilding but remained an independent nation.
Bin,Alberto,Richard Hill,and Archer Jones. Desert storm – A Forgotten War.Westport: Praeger Publishers,1998.
Johnson,James, and George Weigal. Just War and the Gulf War. Washington: Ethics and Public Policy Center,1991.
Leyden,Andrew. Gulf War Debriefing Book.Internet. http://www.leyden.com/gulfwar.
Milano,Fred. Gulf War Syndrome: The ‘Agent Orange’ of the Nineties.Internet.Spring-Summer 2000.http://www.findarticles.com.
Schwartz,Richard. Encyclopedia of The Persian Gulf War. 1998
“Study:Gulf Vets’ kids have more birth defects” The Leaf Chronicle.VOL.191. 6 October 2001, local ed.: A5
Thompson,Mark.”The Gulf War Poisons Seep Out” Time Magazine. 30 September 1996, pp57
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