what ways, and for what reasons, did the U.S. contribute
to the coalition effort during the 1990-1991 Gulf War?
At night between the 1-st and the 2-nd of August, 1990 military
powers of Iraq invaded the territory of the independent state
Kuwait under pretence of defense of their economic interests.
The territory of Kuwait is only 20,2 thousands km?, its population
is about 1,7 million people, the capital is Al Kuwait. Basic
riches of country are oil. It gives 92% of national income
of the state. According to some data, the recourses of Kuwaiti
oil contain 9 milliards of tons.
The political and propagandist campaign of blackmail and threats
were preceded by the aggressive action of Iraq concerning
Kuwait, which was prosecuted for “stealing” of
oil, mined on its territory, and for intentional overstating
of oil prices with the purpose of economic injury of Iraq.
Tore Kjeilen wrote the following in Encyclopedia of the Orient:
There were tensions over the rights of underground oil
resources along the border, with respect to which Iraq
claimed that Kuwait was depleting resources that
territorially were on Iraqi side of the border.
120-thousandth grouping of the Iraq army, overcoming the resistance
of the Kuwaiti army, consisting of 20 300 persons, occupied
all of territory of Kuwait by the end of Augusts, 2.
The armed action of Iraq was blamed at once by the world public.
The president of the USA named it perfidious, and next day
after the beginning of military operations the United States
Congress approved the president’s decision about the
application of strict economic sanctions against Iraq. The
USA tore fully the economic connections with an aggressor
and was ready to go on any measures, directed to the defense
of its interests in the area of the Persian Gulf. The president
hoped that these sanctions could change the policy of Iraq
and force them to call off the troops from Kuwait.
On August, 10 political and economic sanctions against Iraq
were approved and universal support of the USA policy was
expressed on the special session of advice of NATO. All the
participants of the session declared a willingness to contribute
to the conflict settlement.
On August, 6 the President of the USA made a decision about
transference of a large contingent of military powers to the
district of conflict after the origin of the real insecurity
in Saudi Arabia near Kuwait. Especially the most meaningful
reason was that Iraq can take under control 10% world daily
booty of oil at once with the capture of Kuwait, and in the
case of annexation of Saudi Arabia this number can be increased
twice. The countries of NATO expressed readiness to send their
military contingents to the district of conflict at the instance
of Saudi Arabia.
One more statement was also announced on a session, which
read about actions of Iraq against Turkey that would be examined
as encroachment upon an ally of the NATO block. At the end
of August in the framework of NATO a coordinating center was
formed for the analysis of situation in the area of the Persian
Gulf. On September, 9, on the conference of representatives
of military powers of the USA, NATO and Arabic states the
districts of blockade actions were specified for each of countries
of anti-Iraq coalition. So, the basic action districts of
the USA naval forces were the Red sea, Omani and Persian Gulfs,
and eastern part of Mediterranean Sea.
The control after a foreign navigation was laid on blockade
forces for the observance of UNO Security Council resolution
(August, 6, 1990) about economic sanctions against Iraq.
Not later than Augusts, 23 all of participating in a blockade
of Iraq and Kuwait coasts forces united in an operative group,
more than 7 thousand of ships were intercepted, 860 of them
were examined, and 32 returned back by the end of battle actions.
Realizing the projects and plans, Americans and their allies
in a period from August, 7, 1990 for January, 1991 conducted
an operation under the code name “Desert Shield”.
During this operation in the area of the Persian Gulf the
most powerful group of army and forces of fleet from times
of Vietnamese war were created. An operation was conducted
in the compressed terms and was a practical verification of
plans of strategic transfers of forces from the USA and countries
of NATO to the Near East.
During the operation “Desert Shield” allies continued
not only to intensify their forces and facilities, but also
to transfer fuel, food, medicines, spare parts on the seat
In addition to transportations by a sea, the considerable
volume of military loads was delivered on the seat of war
by air during the operation “Free wind”.
Thus, as a result of the carefully planned and well organized
operation “Desert Shield” countries of anti-Iraq
coalition at the head of the USA were managed to create the
powerful group of different types of military powers and prepare
it for conducting a large-scale military operation in the
shortest possible time.
The grouping of naval forces of 14 countries of the allied
anti-Iraq coalition contained more than 170 thousand of people,
145 battle ships and more than 50 auxiliary ships, including
6 multi-purpose aircraft-carriers, 2 linear ships, 8 atomic
multi-purpose submarine boats and so on. More than 20 ships
of this amount were the transmitters of the winged rockets
“Tomahawk” (about 500 rockets).
In the operative force construction of united naval forces
possibility of the battle affecting of Iraq was provided from
three main directions - from the Persian bay, northern part
of the Red sea and eastern part of Mediterranean Sea. The
impact of the united fleet was also enabled in the Persian
Gulf. The basis of this group was made up by aircraft shock
formation (“Zulu”), two rocket masses of manoeuvre
and landing forces.
The group of Iraq military powers contained over 700 thousand
of people(42 divisions of ground forces), who had more than
5 thousand of tanks, more than 8 thousand of instruments of
the field artillery and mortars, 700 battle airplanes and
about 60 battle ships and cutters, including those that were
usurped in Kuwait. The quantity of naval forces personnel
was about 5 thousand of people.
Military-political guidance of Iraq, using the experience
of 8-years-old war with Iran, prepared for the reflection
of attack within the limits of the possibilities. Camouflage
masking measures were conducted in wide scales, including
the use of the beforehand prepared false objects and radio
networks, dispersal fields, starting and fire positions, for
tanks trenches were dug and other shelters were erected. On
the whole advantage was on the side of the USA and their allies
on judging by battle possibilities and quality of armament
and live ammunitions.
The USA political aims of the operation “Desert Storm”
consisted in liberation of Kuwait and returning power to the
legal government, renewal of stability in the region of the
Persian Gulf; consolidation of principles of the “new
world order”, the replacement of the ruling personnel
in Iraq and its political course. The soldiery aims of operation
consisted in elimination of military potential of Iraq, threatening
with its land power to Israel and some countries of the Near
east; in deprivation of possibility to produce nuclear, chemical
and biological weapon.
In the operation “Desert Storm”, beginning from
January, 17, the battle use of multinational forces was foreseen
within the framework of “air-ground-marine campaign”,
including conducting air offensive operation, airily-surface
offensive operation and marine landing operation. The project
of this campaign implied: conducting of air offensive operation
by the massed shots of the winged rockets and aviation on
military and industrial objectives on territory of Iraq and
Kuwait on the first stage, liberation of Kuwait by the forces
of land forces and marines with the direct support of aviation
and ships on the second stage; completion of defeat of the
ground forces of Iraq on their territory on the third stage.
According to a project, the operation “Desert Storm”
had to last from a few weeks to 3 - 6 months.
On the first stage of the operation “Desert Storm”
it was assumed to carry out radio and electronic suppression
and to strike Iraq facilities of air defense, air fields,
air-bases, starting positions of operative-tactic rockets,
major points of state and military administration, large signal
office centers, nuclear and chemical centers with the coordinated
shots by a strategic, tactical, topside aviation and winged
Military operations began at 2:30 on January, 17 with a sudden
rocket and aviation shots of multinational forces on the military
and industrial objects of Iraq. The first rocket-aviation
thrust proceeded from 2:30 to 5:00. The objects of the system
of air defense, major points of state and military administration,
districts of concentration of the Iraq army, signal office
centers, aviation on the air fields, starting positions of
rockets and nuclear and chemical centers were struck during
On the second day of war air superiority was conquered, strategic
bombardments were continued and isolation of the battle district
of actions was started.
As a result of rocket-aviation shots multinational forces
succeeded to violate the system control of military powers
of Iraq on the first stages of air offensive operation. The
second stage of operation began on January, 20.
By the middle of February after 30-days of strategic bombardments
it was supposed that the petroleum refineries and factories
of Iraq had shortened their production to 50 - 90%, the objects
of electro energy fell out of action on 25%, military potential
was reduced on 50%, about 25% of management organs of Iraq
military powers and their vehicle for communication were destroyed
it is destroyed completely, and 50% of them were damaged.
However, management of military powers, as allies thought,
was not fully broken.
With the purpose of exception of strengthening of ground forces
groups in the southern part of Iraq and on territory of Kuwait,
allies began elimination of bridges, temporary bridges, transport
ways and storages, especially with combustive-lubricating
materials. As a result of aviation shots the transportation
of financial facilities was reduced to 10 per cents and more
than 125 storages of combustive-lubricating materials were
destroyed. At the same time the isolated group of the Iraq
force continued to be struck.
In spite of absence of serious counteraction at sea Americans
organized all of types of defense of their aircraft striking
For achievement of ultimate goals of the operation “Desert
Storm” the command of multinational forces planned a
marine landing operation under the code name “Desert
Saber” together with air and airily-ground offensive
The encircled Iraq army with a number of half a million soldiers,
having lost almost all of military technique, ended all resistance
by 8:00 February, 28. Losses of allies including killed, wounded,
captive and disappeared soldiers did not exceed 1 thousand
The row of factors promoted the success of airily-surface
offensive operation. So, large-scale and purposeful preparation
beginning from an economic blockade, conviction of aggression
and power pressure of world association to undoing of military
operations preceded it.
Conducting operations “Desert Shield” and “Desert
Storm”, the USA and their allies attained their primary
goal: they set Kuwait free and also occupied a considerable
part of the territory on the south of Iraq. This short and
victorious war became the classic standard of application
of military force in districts of “vitally important
interests” for the USA and allowed to fasten and strengthen
their influence in countries of the Near East.
It is rather hard to describe what the real reasons and purpose
of USA contribution to the coalition were and why did they
start this war. No doubt the main reason is oil and world
oil market. It is sited in the Encyclopedia of the Orient:
The most important single argument for war against Iraq
was that neighboring oil producing countries feared that
Saddam’s Iraq could advance on them in the next round,
Iraq wasn’t stopped in Kuwait.
And that is a clear idea. Besides the United States needs
cheap supplies of oil while the main exporters raise the earlier
fixed low prices and it is not lucrative for other countries.
The article in “The World Wars” about Persian
Gulf War asserts:
a cutoff of oil exports from the Middle East would harm
the Western states and perhaps even help the U.S.S.R. as
the world’s largest oil producer.
So, why should they pay more to the USSR?
At that time a lot of people were mostly discordant with this
political reason, as a result most of them became the protesters
scanning: “No blood for oil.” Though the politicians
have another idea:
Secretary Baker said that the conflict was in fact about
jobs. He meant that a cutoff in oil exports might so
damage the world economy as to spark a great depression,
but it came out sounding as if the administration did not
know what it was proposing to fight.
But mostly the people were right. In spite of all military
actions and sanctions there is still no peace between those
two countries. The USA has allies and Iraq has oil. What country
will meet half-way first and when they will come to mutual
1. Gulf War. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Available
2. Persian Gulf Wars. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia,
6th ed. Internet. Available from http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0838511.html
3. Persian Gulf War 1990-1991. Wars of the World. Internet.
Available from http://www.onwar.com/aced/chrono/c1900s/yr90/fpersiangulf1990.htm
4. Tore Kjeilen. Gulf War. Encyclopedia of the Orient. Internet.
Available from http://lexicorient.com/e.o/gulfwar.htm
5. Scott B. Lasensky. FRIENDLY RESTRAINT:
U.S.-ISRAEL RELATIONS DURING THE GULF CRISIS OF 1990-1991.
Maria Journal. Internet. Available from http://meria.idc.ac.il/journal/1999/issue2/jv3n2a3.html