The Gulf War:  Operation Desert Storm

The Gulf War is the collective Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  To understand the events leading to our first war with Iraq, it is important to understand Iraq’s history.  Wars usually do not happen over night.  A war is years of of prior “cause and event” situations that lead a nation to choose this path.  For Iraq, it was one vital mistake.  Attacking the oil-rich country of Kuwait.  Doing this put them in a very advantageous situation at first.  Yet the second and third order effects would soon take their toll.

Saddam Huessein and the Ayatolla Marine Corps Challenge Coins

Saddam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini

Iraq and Iran War

The two reasons that brought Iraq to war with Iran was fear and oppurtunity.  Saddam feared that the revolution would incite the oppressed Shia’a majority in Iraq.  This was after Iran’s successful revolution, ending in 1979.  In Iran the ruling party and majority is Shia’a.  In Iraq, the ruling party is Sunni, but the majority Shia’a.  This presented a geo-political problem that was bound to ignite any time.

Following several territorial disputes, Iraq invaded Iran on September 22, 1980.  To them Iran seemed like an easy target.  The country just recovered from a successful revolution in 1979.  Replacing the pro-western monarchy with an anti-western theocracy.  Iran was now, the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Saddam saw Iran’s moment of weakness and seized the opportunity.  Iran was a moderately wealthy country.  Many western countries, to include the United States were not on good terms with the Islamic Republic of Iran.  At the time that the war started, 52 American diplomats were being held hostage at the Embassy in Tehran.  The west sold weapons and provided satellite imagery to Saddam’s forces during the war.

What seemed simple at first, turned out to be a disaster.  The war was a very costly war of attrition.  The conflict was very brutal and primitive in nature.  As trenches lined the Iran Iraq border, there was no quick end in site.  Countries (to include the United States) secretly capitalized from selling arms to both sides.  This perpetuated the war that lasted for eight years.

Marine Corps Challenge Coins

Iraq’s War with Kuwait

Iraq’s war with Kuwait started post Iran war.  As the Iraqi’s were still licking their wounds they turned their attention toward Kuwait.

Gulf War: Operation Desert Storm was an important part of the US military and its utilization of its weapons of war and modern military planning. We salute the Desert Storm veterans that sacrificed so much to defend our American way of life.