Operation Desert Storm
Operation: Desert Storm began on January 15th in 1991. It began when 19 hours after the midnight deadline of January 15 had passed aircraft from the American, British, Saudi, and Kuwaiti air forces thousands of tons of bombs on military targets throughout Iraq. Saddam Hussein had not heeded the coalition’s threats and would pay dearly.(Pike)
In the years prior to 1990, Iraq and Iran had fought in an 8-year war that had put an extreme financial strain on Iraq. The war began on September 22, 1980, when Iraqi troops launched a full-scale invasion of Iran. Iraq had hoped for a lightning victory against its neighbor that was in the midst of revolutionary outburst. This, however, was a terrible miscalculation. He did not realize that Iran would so violently oppose the attacks of his army. Saddam insisted upon commanding his forces personally. This was a mistake because his troops would be left for periods of time with no orders; they had to wait for his orders. Another major mistake he made was the transferring of high-ranking officials periodically in fear of them gaining popularity. Saddam was afraid that any one general would gain so much popularity that they would henceforth propose a formidable opponent to his power.(Infoplease)
Iran was three times the size and had a larger population. Iran also began viewing the war as a holy war, causing them to fight to the death. Everyone in Iran believed this to be true, the priests even told the soldiers that this war was for a holy cause. This gave the soldiers the idea that they would be going straight to heaven by becoming a “martyr for the glorious Islamic cause” (Manchester). In glory, Iranians would approach any kind of Iraqi military force poorly armed but willing to fight to the death.
Iraq had initial success but their losses began to mount and become quite evident. By the end of 1981 the Iraqi troops had been pushed back at least in part out of Iran and Saddam offered peace. Iran, however, had a religious war at their hands and was not ready to let this end so easily. Iran then saw much success until 1988. By this time they had captured the Fao Peninsula which gave them control over much of the trading in the Persian Gulf. Then, fearing an attack from Iran, Kuwait sought aid from other countries. The US and the Soviet Union allowed Kuwaiti ships to fly their flags and American, French, and British troops were sent in to police the Gulf. Despite never officially declaring war on Iran, the US destroyed much of Iran’s fleet.
Iran was now on the other side. They were facing defeat. Finally in July of 1988, Iran agreed to the United Nations cease-fire act. The eight-year war was finally over. Each side lost several hundred thousand troops during the war, and this war had changed nothing. The only thing that had resulted from the war was that Iraq was in immense debt.
Iraq now owed $80 billion for all the aid given to it by other countries during the war. They...