The invasion of Kuwait by Iraq by some 80,000 troops led by the infamous Sadam Hussein, sparked a call for war and American troops quickly were confirmed to be shipped to assist in defending the state from potential collapse.
The Iraqi dictator, Hussein, had made a decision to accuse Kuwait of overproducing and overselling oil, ultimately leading to the decline in prices. The US quickly and publicly stated that the invasion was not warranted and imposed sanctions on Iraq, while making a formal request for the invasion to cease.
At the time, the national debt of Iraq was staggering and throughout the war, this would only worsen for them making a major dent in their GDP and the following war was the catalyst for the nation to be the country in most debt statistically for a number of years, particularly throughout the time of the war itself.
Despite the claims of Kuwait producing more oil than necessary, this was never a righteous claim, as competition for oil was increasing vastly between the 80’s and early 90’s. The Oil prices between those times decreased to a quarter of the price, going from $120 per barrel in the early 80’s, to just over $30 in the early 90s’.
As the war was heavily due to the debt Iraq had amassed, they were quick to target Kuwait oil production lines, of which the Kuwaiti technology was much more advanced and efficient at drawing the fuel from the earth.
Within days, their oil fields were being burned and plants being main targets, forcing a response from the Americans, especially as they had specifically requested for Hussein to withdraw. Unable to repay large debt collated from the Iran war, Iraq were in a terrible position; this included fighter jets, tanks and weapons. Ultimately justifying the invasion for the Iraqis.
With the Kuwaiti oil supply now in dictator hands, Iraq was quickly the producer of one fifth of the world’s oil supply. This created a huge problem for the United Nations and warranted a huge response and President Bush was quick to ready his war chest and in the speech announcing war on Iraq, his intentions were clear. In January 1991, a coalition of some 35 countries all in unison began one of the most one-sided battles in military history.
The United States contributed the most troops by far in the war, with almost 700,000 Americans being involved in multiple operations, more than all other coalition members combined. Saudi Arabia contributed the second-most, which was nearly 100,000. Whilst being a heavily one-sided war, there’s estimated to be around a quarter-of-a-million veterans suffering from ‘Gulf War Syndrome’, suspected to be due to the use of the nerve agent Sarin.
The use of new tech during the Gulf War was a turning point for all future wars, pointing to the fact that if your tech was up to modern standards, you’d stand a much bigger chance at tasting victory. It’s astounding how far technology has come in the 30 years since, with many having the computing power of most fighter jets in their pockets and being able to play at an online bitcoin casino in a few clicks. Given that, as a form of military tech, the introduction of stealth bombers, unable to be detected by the then-modern radar technology, was a huge turn for this modern war as we know it.
The F-117 stealth tech effectively reduced the radar signature to the size of small birds, which essentially made the bombers completely undetectable. This introduction allowed the US to drop bombs in the most heavily defended city in the world at the time without having a single bird dropped.
It wasn’t just technology in the air which was a huge help for the US, the coalition were in unison in being equipped with night-vision and with the Iraqis being more inclined to fight battles at night, they were overpowered quickly. The middle eastern state were completely unaware of the night-vision tech and naively assumed fighters in the air and on the ground could not win against them in the dark in their own territory.
The Gulf war was certainly one which shook up events worldwide and cemented a coalition of many states not prepared to allow invasions of states without divine intervention.
What can be said is that the war waged by the second-coming of a Bush into the white house on Iraq was frowned upon much worse than the first edition. Read more here on a breakdown on the father-and-son invasions which were vastly different in justification for war. While war is somewhat always inevitable, the coalition gave stern warnings on the invasion of Kuwait and unfortunately for Hussein, there was only one ending to the story.