Iran-American War in Persian Gulf

The Persian Gulf War By Don Nardo goes into detail about the conflict between Iran and Iraq, Kuwait, the United States, and more. In the introduction, it starts off by stating “The world was stunned on August 2, 1990, by alarming news...¨. The alarming news was that the Middle Eastern country of Iraq led by Saddam Hussein (President) had invaded Kuwait (A much smaller neighbor), out of nowhere. In three days, more than 100,000 Iraqi troops took control of Kuwait City, Kuwait's capital. The Iraqis seized the countryś rich oil fields and forced the royal Kuwait family to leave. Heads of state and diplomats tried convincing Saddam to remove his troops. He refused over and over to convince the United States and the United Nations to use military force against Saddam. The war was short and decisive. On January 16th, 1991, United States and other United Nation sponsored forces destroyed Iraq's industrial and war-making facilities, which crushed the Iraqi army and released Kuwait in only forty-three days.

The war was short but the effect it left on the United States, the Middle East, and the world was significant. In the United States, the success of the Gulf war renewed a feeling of confidence and pride. Before the war, many people in the United States feared of going into another long, costly, and unpopular war like Vietnam. President George Bush addressed these fears and said,” In our country, I know there are fears of another Vietnam. Let me assure you, should military action be required, this will not be another Vietnam. This will not be another protracted, drawn-out war¨. After this was said the worries of another Vietnam died away.

The Middle East has been one of the most important, argued, and fought over areas in the world. The Middle East’s strategic location, it lies at the crossroads of three continents (Europe, Asia, and Africa) people of those continents’ nations had to pass through the Middle East to establish trade and military routes. They protect these routes by other nations that conquered and controlled Middle Eastern Countries. The struggle over land and self-rule was a big struggle. In these times most of the centuries than foreign powers controlled the Middle East, and the natives of the area had little or no control over the land. Most of the natives were Arab, semi-nomadic people than descended from ancient Semitic tribes. Most of the natives lived in tents and made their own livings by herding, trading, or fishing. The Turks, who ruled a large, and powerful empire centered in Turkey south of the Black Sea. The Arabs were unhappy with the Turkish, they dreamt of ruling out the Turks.

A tension formed between the Arabs and Westerners because of religion. The Arabs practice Islam, a strict religion than helps shape their laws, family and social customs, and world views. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. Muhammad began teaching the principles of Islam. This meant recognizing Allah as the one true god. Islam is partly based on being taught the ideas of Judaism and Christianity. After his death in 632, many of his people believed that ‘jihad’, or a violent struggle meant “Spreading faith by military war” and the word became “holy war”. And all this was called “The rise of the Islam.”

During World War 2, old colonial empires of nations like France and Britain were broken up. Many of these colonies around the world gained independence. Most of these colonies around the world gained their independence, like some in the Middle East. France got independence for Syria in 1941. On March 22, 1945 representatives from the seven independent states in the Middle East net in Egypt, Cairo, Transjordan, and Syria. Saudi Arabia with the hopes of working for the common interest all the Arabs. The personal rivalries and differences between the states prevented this New Organization from meeting the agreements. The members did agree on one topic. And that was that they were strongly opposed to a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Many countries tried to convince Britain to withdraw from Palestine and let the Jewish set up their own independence. Britain decided to leave Palestine alone on May 15, 1948.

On May 14th, 1948, a day before Britain left them alone Palestine made an announcement that shocked the whole world. David Ben-Gurion proclaimed than they are establishing of the nation of Israel. The United States, The Soviet Union, and members of the United Nations recognized the state. The Arab League declared war on Israel, and six different armies of Arab Nation marched onto Palestine. This resulted in the Arab-Israeli war in 1948 than lasted less than 8 months. Israelis won the war, even though Arab states were much bigger. The angry and humiliated Arab Nation started criticizing the united states for supporting Israel. Many of the Arabs were convinced that the United States would stay supporting Israel, and turned to the Soviet Union for military and financial aid.

Arabs and Israel once again are at war again in 1967. Egypt sends troops to the Israeli border and set a blockade of Israel's shipping. Israel attacks Egypt's forces on October 29th and fought their way to the Suez Canal. On November 5th, France and the British joined the war against Egypt. By November 7th, they regained the Suez Canal that Egypt had taken. On October 6th, 1973, Arabs attack Israel unexpectedly. Once again, the war ended in another victory for Israel.

Arabs raised oil prices in the 1970s and some Middle Eastern Countries became very wealthy. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait had benefited a lot from the growing oil profits. Both Iran and Iraq wanted to be in control of oil shipping in the Persian Gulf. Iran and Iraq have fought over the Shatt al-Arab waterway since the 1800s. This resulted in an eight-year war. It was the bloodiest war the Middle East had seen yet. An estimate of a million people died and was killed. During the war, each side would send missiles and use deadly chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein noticed that Iraq was in debt, but soon after Iraq plunges into a new war.

Saddam Hussein gained a lot of power in Iraq and led with an Iron fist. He soon after became a dictator. Saddam suggests an eight-year campaign against Iran He wanted to expand Iraq's wealth. He wanted to decrease Iraq's debt. He wanted Kuwait to cancel their debt of billions of dollars. He says they should do it because they helped Kuwait stop the Iranians from overthrowing Kuwait during the war. Saddam demanded money from Kuwait. Saddam said,” If they don't give it to me, I’m going to take it from them”. He realized how good taking over Kuwait would be it would clear up the debt. When Kuwait got it independence in 1961, Iraq laid claim on Kuwait. Britain got in the way and protected Kuwait. After several attempts of trying to publicly threaten Kuwait, more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers gathered along the Iraq-Kuwait border. Saddam tried to make this buildup look innocent by saying that they aren’t a threat to Kuwait. Saddam said,” We don’t want war. We hate war. We know what it does”.

On August 2, 1990, Iraq attacks Kuwait out of nowhere. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers marched across the border. There were also multiple tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery things. The troops made it to the capital of Kuwait. Many troops and civilians opened fire on the Iraqi troops. There were 5,500 and multiple troops on the Iraqi side. Kuwait is overrun by Saddam. President George Bush wanted the Iraqi people out of Kuwait. Many other countries joined the United States in getting Iraq out of Kuwait. George Bush states,” The brutal and illegal invasion of Kuwait. Today, we take the usual step of jointly calling upon the rest of the international community to join with us in an international cutoff of all arms supplies to Iraq”. Saddam refused to leave Kuwait. But other countries fear than if they leave him alone then he will seize multiple others. On August 7th, 1990, the embargo against Iraq took effect. President Bush said,” This will not stand. This will not stand, this aggression against Kuwait”. President Bush wanted to “Stand up for what's right and condemn what’s wrong”. He sent troops out to Saudi Arabia, knowing that there was a risk of having another war.

President Bush sent troops to help Saudi Arabia with its defense, this was called operation “Desert Storm”. Saddam Hussein was surprised at the buildup of President Bush's military build-up in Saudi Arabia. Saddam tried to gain support from the Middle East, he made it look like the United States troops were going to harm the Arabs. He threatened to “pluck out the eyes of those who attack the Arab Nation”. Saddam announced that he and his country would never leave Kuwait unless Israel’s people backed off from the territories they had gotten in the 1967 and 1973 wars.

On August 17, 1990, the Iraqi people went through on their threat to the foreign nationals, this meant no one was allowed to leave Kuwait. Saddam said,” as long as Iraq remains threatened with an aggressive war.” This meant than the foreign nationals would stay until other states and countries left Iraq alone. Saddam began moving hostages to military and industrial sites. This was to stop the United States to not bombing Iraq targets. Iraq used the hostages as “human shields”.

The United States' military action was much needed but they had to think of the innocent Kuwait people. Iraq troops were treating the people cruelly and inhumanely. Many people who escaped Kuwait said than they witnessed Iraqis murdering and raping the people of Kuwait. The United States prepares for war against Iraq. In november 1990, Bush sent James Baker on an eight-day tour of Europe, Aisa, and the Middle East. He was trying to gain support for more forces against Iraq. This war was voted 13 to 2, it marked as the second time in history the U.N. had given consent to use military force since the Korean War in the 1950s. President Bush’s spokesperson Marlin Fitzwater told the news than Allied planes were bombing the targets set in Iraq at 7:00 P.M. on January 16th. Operation Desert storm has begun. Fitzwater says,” The liberation of Kuwait has begun”.

Desert Storm was the largest air assault in history. The target of the attack was to stop Iraq from attacking Saudi Arabia and weaken the Iraqi army. On January 17th, a day after the allies had attacked Hussein's response but not in a military way, he threatened and summed up a war of words. He called his troops to fight back with the U.S. troops. On January 18th Saddam acts on his first military attack. He orders a missile attack on the Israels. Two hit Israel's capital Tel Aviv. Iraq was also attacking Saudi Arabia at this time. On February 22, President George Bush delivered a public warning to Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein.

After Allied forces swept into Iraq, they launched an attack on Southern Kuwait. The approaching allies struck fear into the Iraqis. The Kuwait City went on a rampage, the iraq people burned houses, raped the Kuwait women, and looted homes and stores. The Iraqi people panicked and thousands tried to leave at once. A journalist Tony Clifton summarized this event,”something out of a medieval artist’s version of hell”. Hours later Kuwait turned into a graveyard. dOn February 28th after more than 10 or more hours of the war. Thousands of Iraq troops were slain in action. After this, President Bush makes an announcement on tv and says, “Kuwait is liberated. Iraq’s army is defeated. Our military objectives are met. America and the world drew a line in the sand. We declared than the aggression against Kuwait would not stand, and tonight America and the world have kept their word”. Iraq is cut off from Kuwait, the people are free. During the forty three day war almost 50,000 Iraqis dead, 125,000 were captured, and another 50,000 were wounded. Allied forces only lost 177 who were killed, 597 wounded, and less than 60 prisoners.

The victory of this war made President George Bush’s popularity go up, because of how good he handled the war. He said, “Aggression is defeated… the war is over”. After he spoke he got a standing ovation. Iraq lost the war, and its allies won. The war was bloody and chaotic. President Bush pushed through and led our country through it. After the Persian Gulf War many Iraqis joined rebels and shot tanks and guns at a huge painting of Saddam. The United Nations' decision was to bring us a step closer to a peaceful future.  

07 July 2022
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