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The Gulf War

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On august 2nd 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, its oil exporting neighbor. The invasion was extensively condemned, and after four days the United Nations Security Council collectively approved to impose trade sanctions against Iraq.  Iraqi sea access was blocked within some weeks. United States of America assembled a huge transnational task force in the Persian Gulf, while the second one was assembled in Saudi Arabia. Towards the end of 1990 the force comprised around 40,000 troops hailing from 30 countries, but the United States remained the dominant partner in the force.

The UN Security Council set gave Iraqi a deadline of January of 1991 to withdraw its troops from Kuwait. Iraq could not respond to the orders. The coalition troops began to air bombard Iraq on 17 January and this continued for the following forty three days. After about a month of air attacks, the coalition ground troops moved against Iraq forces in Kuwait and inside Iraq itself on 24 February 1991. The magnitude of coalition’s air and ground attacks destroyed Iraq’s defense system and capacity to resist. After only two days of attacks, the Bagdad radio announced that the Iraq forces had been ordered to move out of Kuwait. The coalition forces declared victory and stopped attacks. By the end of attacks, the coalition forces had lost about 166 troops and at least 100,000 Iraq troops and civilians were killed.

Australian forces were sent to the gulf war under the support of the UN Security Council. The Australian navy provided vessels for the coalition’s naval forces which were force UN sanctions at the Persian Gulf. During their deployment, they formed anti air craft screen. They also provided a diving team for demolition and explosive tasks. The Iraqi troops had vast experience of combat. The Coalition forces however were largely experienced. Britain had fought the Falklands War with paratroopers and marines. The Syrians had fought in Lebanon and Egyptians fought a war in 1973.

The war commonly referred to as Gulf war was a UN waged war against Iraq involving an authorized coalition force drawn from 34 countries and under leadership of United Kingdom and the United States of America. The then Iraq president Saddam Hussein described it as the Mother of All Battles, and is generally, though misguidedly, recognized as Operation Desert Storm for the outfitted name of the military response.

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