The Gulf War was one of the most influential wars of the latter half of the 20th century. The Gulf War has been referred to by several other names such as the First Iraq War and the Kuwait War. The actions of the Iraqi government led to the war after Iraq invaded Kuwait in early August 1990. The Iraqi military invaded Kuwait, and the UN Security Council condemned the action and put in place sanctions against the Iraqi government. The nations that were involved in the war can be divided into three main categories: the aggressor which was Iraq, the affected party which was Kuwait, and the international response which was comprised of 35 nations.
Iraq instigated the Gulf War due to what they believed to be economic unfairness of several nations such as the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. The Sadam Hussein-led government alleged that the vast quantities of oil produced by the two nations were the cause of undervaluing the oil in the region. The Iraqi government further alleged that Kuwait was robbing oil by exploiting the Rumaila Oil Field. As a result of the economic concerns, the Iraqi government sent its troops to the border it shared with Kuwait in July and in August began the invasion. At the time, close to 100,000 soldiers from Iraq went into Kuwait. The Iraqi forces used a two-pronged attack method to take over Kuwait. However, before the primary invasion force crossed the Kuwaiti border, the Iraqi government had sent several commandos into Kuwait. It was estimated that close to 650,000 Iraqi soldiers would be involved in the Gulf War by the time it ended. More than 25,000 Iraqi soldiers died as a result of the Gulf War.
The Affected Party
Even though the Iraqi government had been making aggressive moves towards Kuwait, the Kuwaiti government was unprepared for the invasion and the country's leader at the time, Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, was forced to escape to Saudi Arabia. Historical records indicated that by the time Iraq sent its troops across the border, the Kuwaiti forces only had 16,000 personnel most of whom were on leave. The Kuwaiti air force was utterly unprepared, and more than 20% of the air force was either captured or lost as a result. The Kuwaiti people immediately established a resistance against the Iraqi invasion. The resistance had more casualties than any other participants in the war because it was primarily comprised of untrained civilians.
The International Response
As a result of the invasion, several nations established a coalition to assist Kuwait in repelling the Iraqi invaders. Countries from all over the world participated in the war such as Senegal, Italy, Niger, and Greece. The principal members of the coalition were the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. The US was the dominant member of the coalition as it sent close to 700,000 forces into Kuwait. The Saudi Arabian forces involved in the war were estimated to be close to 100,000. Due to the intervention of the international community, known as Operation Desert Storm, the Gulf War was ended.
Impact of the Gulf War
The significant impact of the war was that it resulted in the death of a large number of people. Apart from deaths, the war also resulted in the demolition of infrastructure vital to the economies of both Kuwait and Iraq.