The Gulf War, which lasted from August 1990 to February 1991, was a global conflict that began when Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussain attacked neighbouring Kuwait, declaring it as its “19th province.” Following Hussain’s defiance of UN warnings, the US and its partners compelled Iraqi forces to withdraw from Kuwait. According to Kuwait’s authorities, around 605 persons disappeared during Iraq’s invasion of their country. In the First Gulf War, Iraq was defeated by a coalition force of 6,60,000 men from 34 countries. The operation was dubbed ‘Operation Desert Storm’ or the ‘First Gulf War.’ The conflict was primarily an American affair.
What Happened during the Gulf War?
Iraq annexed Kuwait on August 2, 1990, a country 25 times its south-eastern neighbour. Although Hussain declared Kuwait was the territory of Iraq, he attacked the territory for Baghdad to repay a substantial debt to Kuwait and obtain Kuwait’s vast oil riches. Additionally, Hussain attempted to connect the annexation to the Palestinian struggle.
Immediately afterwards, the UNSC issued a stern reprimand to Iraq and threatened military intervention if its forces did not withdraw by January 15, 1991. Hussain disregarded the UN’s repeated warnings, and a US-led coalition assembled in Saudi Arabia, Iraq’s neighbour and another country endangered by Hussain’s activities in the area. The Al-Sabah family, which was the ruling dynasty of Kuwait, had signed an agreement with the United Kingdom in 1899. The responsibility of Kuwait’s security ended up in the UK’s hands.
How did the Gulf War End?
After Baghdad violated the January 15 deadline, coalition forces launched Operation Desert Storm, destroying Iraq’s air defence systems, oil refineries, and critical infrastructure. Following that was Operation Desert Sabre, a land operation that resulted in the liberation of Kuwait. The war was finally brought to an end on February 28, 1991, when the United States called a truce.
The Iraqi military has lost anywhere from 8,000 to 50,000 people throughout the war, compared to approximately 300 coalition forces deaths. It exposed the enormous technological divide between the US military might and other countries.
India’s Role in the Gulf War
India was one of the first countries to recognise the Baathist administration upon its ascension to power. Baghdad, in exchange, maintained a consistently pro-India position, particularly during an age when the rest of the world appeared to be gravitating toward Pakistan. When the Gulf War began, India, led by Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, retained its distinctive non-aligned position. It rejected, however, Baghdad’s demand that the hostilities at the time be linked to the Palestinian conflict.
From August 13 until October 20, 1990, India evacuated about 1,75,000 of its citizens from war-torn Kuwait, the largest operation of its kind. The Guinness Book of World Records recognised the event as the biggest evacuation by a civilian airliner.
The following terms have referred to the conflict: Gulf War and Persian Gulf War are the most often used words in western countries to refer to the battle, while it may alternatively be referred to as the First Gulf War, to differentiate it from the Iran–Iraq War, some authors have dubbed it the Second Gulf War.
Throughout the Gulf war
Most coalition governments referred to their activities and the war’s operational phases by various titles. These are occasionally misused as the conflict’s general designation, most notably the US Desert Storm:
From August 2, 1990, to January 16, 1991, Operation Desert Shield was the US operational designation for the US buildup of forces and defence of Saudi Arabia.
Operation Desert Storm was the United States’ designation for the Airland Confrontation from January 17 to February 28, 1991.
Operation Desert Sabre (formerly dubbed Operation Desert Sword) was the US designation for the airborne offensive against the Iraqi Army in the Kuwaiti Theatre of Operations (dubbed the “100-hour war”) from 24 to February 28, 1991, which was a component of Operation Desert Storm.
Operation Desert Farewell was the label given to the retreat of US units and supplies to the United States following Kuwait’s liberation in 1991. It was also known as Operation Desert Calm. Argentina’s military operations were dubbed Operativo Alfil.
- French military operations throughout the conflict were dubbed Opération Daguet
- The Canadian efforts were dubbed Operation Friction
- Operation Granby was the British designation for British military actions and conflict-related activities
- The activities and conflict were dubbed Operazione Locusta (Italian for Locust) in Italy
- The United States divided the war into three key campaigns
- Saudi Arabia’s defence from August 2, 1990, until January 16, 1991
- Kuwait’s Liberation and Defence from January 17 to April 11, 1991
- Cease-Fire in Southwest Asia from April 12, 1991, to November 30, 1995, including Operation Provide Comfort
In conclusion, the 1991 Gulf War was not the result of a ‘crusade’ to liberate Kuwait in the spirit of the UN Charter. It resulted from a combination of previously stated factors and circumstances, including Iraq’s dire economic situation, Saddam’s nature, the west’s misunderstanding of the dangers inherent in supporting a growing arming process.