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Persian Gulf War
Transcript of Persian Gulf War
Just a bit of history
From 1980-1988 Iraq was in a territorial war with Iran. This conflict at the time was the longest conventional war of the 20th century. Iraq invaded Iran because of fears of the Iranian revolution's influence spilling over to the suppressed Shia majority in Iraq. Iran eventually took major control of the offensive and pushed back into Iraq.
This eight year conflict eventually ended through a U.N. resolution. It has been compared to the First World War, in respects to tactics and ultimate result of the treaty. Use of Trench warfare, barbed wire, human wave tactics over a no mans land. Ultimately Iraq used poison gas on Iranian soldiers as well as Kurdish civilians in Iraq.
Both countries needed to borrow large sums of money from neighboring countries.
Along with borrowing money Iraq was supplied weapons and ammunition by the United States. Both Iraq and Iran had support from the Soviet Union, but the Soviets dropped their support of Iraq after the invasion.
The revolution in Iran in 1979 did not sit well with the U.S. there was worry that other Muslim revolutions in the area could appear. This is one reason why the U.S. supported Iraq in stifling Iran's growing strength.
After the war both these countries had huge Debts to pay to their neighbors and the supper powers of the world.
This is where North America's involvement in the middle east began, and now over 20 years later, we are still there.
Think of this as an introduction to the issues that the U.S. and other western nations are now dealing with in the Middle East.
Its like this is the first snowflake of winter, the precursor for what is to come.
Here's what I want you to do
There are not to many fact to this conflict, but what this conflict provides us is how the media and news coverage influenced the war.
The Vietnam War was the first war that gave us video of the fighting. The Persian Gulf War provided live news coverage.
I want you to make connections on the importance of video technology, to tactics and popular opinion and how this conflict was carried out.
The weapons and ammunition supplied to Iraq were known as Bear Spares.
With Soviet support for Iraq gone, they no longer had continued supplies to repair and replace hardware damaged in battle.
The U.S. provided these Soviet designed parts for Iraq.
The U.S. did not provide high end equipment only second grade stuff.
So where do we stand after this conflict?
Both Iraq and Iran are in huge amounts of debt to their neighbors and other countries.
Iraq now has the 5th largest army in the world. Along with large stores of poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq has a stockpile of soviet designed weapons with repair material provided by the United States
And there is Saddam Hussein who is the unquestioned brutal leader of this country...
The Kuwait Problem
Kuwait is the small country south east of Iraq. In this small country is the second largest resource of oil in the world.
After the Iraq Iran war, Iraq was in economic trouble and relied heavily on its own oil fields. Along with having to pay off large debts to other countries it was also trying to rebuild its own country.
This is where things get messy.
Kuwait began to overproduce oil reducing the overall world price of a barrel. This greatly angered Iraq since it made their oil less profitable and their economy suffered and the country began to loose money.
Iraq demanded that Kuwait repay the amount of money that they had lost because of this overproduction but Kuwait refused
Price of a barrel
So now what?
It's go time!
Saddam Hussein send 100,000 troops into Kuwait on August 2, 1990
Invasion of Kuwait
August 2: About 100,000 Iraqi troops invade Kuwait, initiating the Gulf War.
Saddam's troops literally marched down the main highway of Kuwait to the Capital defeating the meager forces of Kuwait. Saddam declared victory over Kuwait on August 4, 1990.
The U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 660 demanding Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait immediately and unconditionally
Operation Desert Shield
United States stationing troops in Saudi Arabia
in case of a possible attack by Iraq.
Concern of Iraq invasion of Saudi Arabia
The largest oil field in the world(Ghawar) is situated just south of Kuwait in Saudi Arabia and there was great concern that Saddam Hussein would try and gain control of the area.
The idea of Saddam having control of the major centers of oil in the world concerned many nations.
August 7, first U.S. troops arrive in Saudi Arabia
Joined by the United Kingdom and France in late September.
November 29: The U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 678 setting a deadline for Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait before January 15, 1991, or face military action.
So what did these troops do for over 3 months?
Not since the First World War has there been a true threat of a gas attack, but it was well known that Iraq had used gas against civilian populations and Iranian troops.
All soldiers were issued gas masks and full body protection in case of chemical attacks. Squads would routinely train with full gas equipment on, causing high level of dehydration and heat exhaustion. These masks were very difficult to breath in and in the heat of the desert cause a lot of health problems for the troops.
The United States had never fought a battle in a desert before. Most of their veteran troops were trained in jungle or mountain warfare.
They got ready
6 aircraft carriers
Hundreds of airplanes from many different countries.
Canada supplied 56 CF-18 during this conflict
Tanks, helicopters, and other naval vessels
Formed a Coalition
32 countries joined the U.N. coalition against Iraq. Including other muslim nations such as Egypt and Syria
Canada provided 4,500 troops. CF-18's three destroyers air transports, and a mobile hospital.
In total there was approximately 956,600 personnel involved in the coalition.
January 15, 1991
As the deadline approached many nations pleaded to Iraq to leave Kuwait. Saddam was hearing non of it and prepared heavy defenses along the Kuwait Saudi boarder
January 17, 1991
stealth bombers with an armament of laser-guided smart bombs
The coalition began with an aerial bombardment campaign designed to take out civilian and military infrastructure. The use of smart bombs and Tomahawk Cruise missiles were meant to reduce the use of blanked bombing, to reduce civilian casualties.
Operation Desert Storm
Americans generally supported the decision to go to the middle east.
One thing that president Bush did not want to happen was for this war to turn into another Vietnam.
This was one reason for the extensive bombing campaign and also for the sheer size of the force the coalition had amassed to take back Kuwait.
Vietnam was the first war that brought back real footage of battles and war. This showed America what was happening to their troops, and quickly the population of the U.S. grew to hate the War in Vietnam.
During the Persian Gulf War the news broadcast took a more prominent position providing live broadcasts of missiles and bombs destroying strategic targets, with no loss of American lives.
For five weeks the coalition bombed Iraq destroying infrastructure and defensive formations.
Saddam's Israel plan
Saddam had an armament of mobile Soviet Skud missiles.
He pointed, and fired these at Israel.
Saddam hoped that Israel would retaliate with
military force against Iraq.
The idea was if Israel attacked another
Muslim nation all other Muslim nations
would attack the common enemy of Israel.
This almost happened, if the U.S. did not persuade Israel to hold off and wait.
By the end of the war 88 skud missiles were launched and 74 Israelis died because of these attacks.
The Ground Assault
February 22: U.S. President issued a 24- hour ultimatum: Iraq must withdraw from Kuwait to avoid start of a ground war.
Burning Oil Fields
January 22: Iraqi troops begin blowing up Kuwait oil wells
Before the ground assault happened Saddam ordered the Kuwait oil well to be burned.
This was an attempt at a possible scorched earth tactic, similar to Russia in the First World War.
These well fires created heavy black smoke in the surrounding area, and the wells that were not on fire rained oil all around them creating lakes of oil.
These fires were ignighted in January and February but were not put out until November, 10 months later.
February 24: Ground war begins when Coalition forces invade Iraq and Kuwait at around 4:00am Baghdad time
Coalition ground forces met limited resistance and most Iraqis in Kuwait surrendered quickly.
The bombing had done its job!
The few tank battle that occurred were extremely one sided. Coalition equipment was far superior to the Iraqi equipment.
The use of GPS and aerial reconnaissance allowed the tanks to operate over the desert without reference of roads, and were able to maneuver to strike specific targets.
The Coalition's advance was much swifter than U.S. generals had expected.
On 26 February, Iraqi troops began retreating from Kuwait. A long convoy of retreating Iraqi troops formed along the main Iraq-Kuwait highway. Although they were retreating, this convoy was bombed so extensively by Coalition air forces that it came to be known as the Highway of Death. Hundreds of Iraqi troops were killed.
Coalition forces continued to pursue retreating Iraqi forces over the border and back into Iraq, eventually moving to within 240 km of Baghdad before withdrawing back to Iraq's border with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
One hundred hours after the ground campaign
started, President Bush declared a ceasefire
on February 28 and he also declared that
Kuwait had been liberated.
March 1: A cease-fire plan was negotiated
March 3: Iraq accepts the terms of a ceasefire from the U.N. Security Council
March 17: First U.S. troops arrived home.
Operation Desert Storm lasted from January 17, to February 28. One of the fastest most decisive conflict of the century
Is it over yet?
190 Coalition troops were killed by Iraqi combatants
379 Coalition deaths being from friendly fire or accidents.
This number was much lower than expected
Iraqi causalities are unknown estimated around
10,000–12,000 Iraqi combat deaths in the air campaign, and as many as 10,000 casualties in the ground war
The fighting is over and the ceasefire has be signed, but Saddam Hussein is still in power?
This conflict was about liberating Kuwait from Iraqi control, it was not about conquering Iraq. So once Kuwait was taken back there was no further use of the Coalition, and the U.S. did not want to anger the rest of the middle east by taking over control of Iraq.
How about those oil fires?
While Iraqi forces were withdrawing from Kuwait they set afire some 600 oil wells attempting a scorched earth tactic.
The fires were started in January and February and burned until the last one was put out in November.
The reason these kept burning was because of the risk of strategic land mines that were surrounding most of the wells. Placed there by Iraqi forces.
Around 6 million barrels of oil were lost each day. Private companies were hired out to extinguish the fires but it took 10 months to complete the job causing widespread pollution.
Safety Boss Inc.
Mike Miller Mike Miller, 66, went to Kuwait in February 1991 as CEO of Safety Boss Inc. The company’s crews extinguished 168 wells in just 200 days – outperforming all other crews in Kuwait. Miller continues to work with Safety Boss, as owner, today.
There were whole sections of the country that didn’t see the sunlight for months and months, until we put those wells out. The roads were covered with oil. There were huge lakes of oil.
We were the only crew that stayed to cap the wells properly. We just put temporary caps on them at first; over the next year and a half after the wells were out we stayed and went back and put proper wellheads on them.
Gulf War Syndrome?
Gulf War Syndrome
An illness affecting Gulf War veterans. Causes are not fully known.
Symptoms include: Fatigue, headaches, memory problems, muscle/ joint pain, Diarrhea, indigestion, neurological problems, terminal tumors.
These symptoms are still present in veterans 20 years later.
Possible causes: PB nerve gas antidote
Pesticides to deal with bugs
Sarin Nerve agent- released during the allied bombing runs
Oil well fires
Depleted uranium used in some ammunition.
Number of people with GWS 250,000
So what have we learned
Media and news coverage played a big role in how the public thought of the war, and how the Coalition Generals executed the war to satisfy public opinion.
Technology was on the Coalitions side. Using laser guided smart bombs and tomahawk missiles, reduced the Coalitions casualties and reduced the number of Iraq civilian casualties.
Even though Iraq had a large military, the superior tactics and equipment of the Coalition forces rendered the Iraq military obsolete.
Osama Bin Laden stated that some of his hatred and initial ideas of attacking the U.S. came from when Americans soldiers stayed in Saudi Arabia even after the Persian Gulf War had ended
How wars now have to be fought with public opinion on its side or will will generally not continue.
Canada's contribution in this conflict was not only in a combat role but a humanitarian effort in dealing with the Kuwait oil well fires.
Canadian news broadcast
How does this news special portray Canada's involvement in the Persian Gulf War?
We always think of the soldiers and pilots in battle. What about the people who fix the planes or cook the food for these soldiers, are they important? should they get as much recognition? 28 soldiers died in a skud missile attack on a U.S. base how many of them were combat personnel how many were support personnel?