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Persian Gulf War that involved conflicts between Iraq and the USA resulted in creating a coalition in the late 20th century and early 21st century. The first Persian Gulf War started in 1991, and there was an armed conflict between Iraq and the union of 32 countries, which included the US, the United Kingdom, France, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (Atkinson). This was a result of invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. Then in 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, whose territory it had claimed to belong to Iraq for a long time. Saddam Hussein, who was the then Iraq President declared that the main reason for invasion of Kuwait was overproduction of oil wells in the country, which cost his country approximately $14 billion a year when the prices of oil fell. Additionally, Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait of pumping oil illegally from Iraq’s Rumaila oil field (Schwartz).
Another reason as to why Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait, which was a small neighboring country, was due to breaking down of talks over debt repayment and oil production. As a result, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait; he took it over and declared it an Iraq’s 19th province, in August 1990 (Summers). At that time, the U.S. President thought that Iraq had intensions of invading Saudi Arabia in order to take control of the oil supplies situated in the region. As a result, President Bush started to organize a coalition with various countries with an aim of seeking freedom of Kuwait, as well as restoring legal government in the country. He tried to convince the UN Security Council to enforce sanctions against Iraq (Schaffer). Additionally, he ordered the U.S. forces to protect Saudi Arabia as requested by the government of the country. This led to launching of the “Operation Desert Shield” that started on August 6, 1990 (Hiro). This led to the deployment of 230,000 American forces to Saudi Arabia. The deployment of the U.S. troops was aimed at taking defensive action against invasion by Iraq. However, Iraq continued to deploy more troops in Kuwait, this made President Bush order approximately 200,000 soldiers’ deployment so as to support the troops who had already been sent to Kuwait.
The UN Security Council ordered Iraq to withdraw its invasion in Kuwait, and subsequently banned most trading operations with Iraq. On August 7, 1990, the United States troops were deployed into Saudi Arabia in order to protect the country’s oil fields. The UN set January 15, 1991, as the exact deadline for Iraq troops to withdraw peacefully from Kuwait, but Saddam Hussein refused to comply with the United Nations’ orders.
On January 16, 1991, the U.S. President won approval from the Congress to participate in war against Iraq military forces distributed on the territory of Iraq and those troops deployed in Kuwait. This led to launching of the “Operation Desert Storm” in January 18, 1991. This operation was led by the U.S. General Norman. President Bush rejected efforts by the Soviet-Iraq peace plan steady withdrawal since it did not comply with the resolutions of the United Nations. The U.S. President gave an ultimatum to Iraq to withdraw its leadership from Kuwait by noon of February, 23.
The United States-led coalition initiated immense air attacks with the aim of destroying Iraq’s forces, military, and infrastructures. This made Iraq call for terrorist attacks on the coalition led by the United States, and launched Scud missiles at Israel; the move aimed at widening the war and breaking of the coalition. Iraq also launched terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia.
The main Coalition forces started invasions on Kuwait and South Iraq on February 24 1991; and within four days, the Coalition managed to defeat the Iraq troops, and liberate Kuwait from Iraq forces. On February 28, many Iraq forces were surrendered while some fled from Kuwait.
The Coalition of forces deployed in Iraq and Kuwait managed to defeat Iraq troops within four days of combat. Iraq troops had set fire to more than 500 oil wells in Kuwait, and this caused the final destruction of infrastructures of the invaded country. This made President Bush order Iraq and allied forces stop fire within 100 hours on February 27, after ground offense began. As a result, Coalition of forces led by the United States met with Iraq military leaders on the battlefield in order to discuss terms that would lead to cease-fire and mark the end of the Gulf War. On March 3, Iraq agreed to comply with the United Nations resolutions. As a result of this agreement, allied prisoners of war got released on March 4. At the end on the first Gulf War, there were approximately 147 U.S. battle deaths, 145 non-battle deaths, and 467 people wounded while taking part in the events.
Although the war against Iraq was a critical military victory for the United States and other Coalition members, both Kuwait and Iraq experienced massive damage of properties, but Saddam Hussein was not overthrown and still remained the President of Iraq. As a matter of fact, Saddam Hussein was at liberty to divert his attention to suppress the internal Kurd and Shiite revolts, which were not supported by the U.S.-led Coalition; in part, due to concerns over the probable breakup of Iraq if the revolts were victorious. Later, Iraq agreed to the Coalition peace terms, mainly the one determined by the UN weapons inspections.
In 1993, the USA, the UK, and France launched cruise-missile strikes and several air attacks against Iraq in response to aggravation, including an alleged plan by Iraq to assassinate the former USA President, George H. W. Bush. In 1994, an Iraq military base that was build up near Kuwait led the US to send troops to Kuwait and to some nearby areas. The US-led coalition launched bombing raids against Iraq due to its continuous resistance to weapons inspections. Furthermore, trade sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iraq still were in action, although the sanctions only applied to goods related to the military until the Second Gulf War.
The Second Gulf War began in 2003, and it was commonly known as the Iraq War. This war was mainly the United States’ and the United Kingdom’s invasion of Iraq. The main reason that led to the beginning of the second war between the USA and the UK Coalition against Iraq was because the Iraq Government declined to cooperate and comply with the UN weapons inspections launched immediately after the end of the first Persian War.
After George W. Bush was elected as the United States President, he managed to return many government officials who served in his father’s administration, and who supported his father’s decisions to remove Saddam Hussein from power in the first Persian War. This is because George W. Bush perceived Saddam Hussein as a possible threat to the United States National Security, as well as other countries across the Globe, especially those countries that had a close connection with the U.S. He also believed that Saddam Hussein’s government was continuously making weapons that threatened the international security. Furthermore, George W. Bush believed that Saddam Hussein promoted terrorism due to his relationship with terrorists who organized the bombing attacks.
On September 11, 2001, the United States experienced two bombing attacks; these attacks targeted the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. As a result of these attacks, the USA President George W. Bush declared war on terrorism, which was aimed at eliminating threats to the national security. In looking for proper solutions to address the issue of terrorism, in October, 2001, the United States Defense Secretary Rumsfeld suggested that the United States was able to take military action against Iraq. In November of the same year, the U.S. President asked the United States Defense Secretary to start a war plan review.
At the beginning of the year 2002, the U.S. President accused Iraq together with Iran and North Korea as being the perpetrators of the Terrorist attacks. After Taliban, an Islamist militant party was overthrown in Afghanistan in 2002, attention of the United States turned to Iraq. The President Bush Administration accused Iraq of failing to comply with the terms and conditions of the 1991 cease-fire, Iraq also failed to cooperate with the United Nations’ weapons inspections. Additionally, Iraq violated the terms by continuing to develop and possess weapons that could lead to mass destruction, as well as supporting terrorism. As a result, George W. Bush among other officials in his Administration suggested that their efforts on “war against Terrorism” needed to be expanded, and they included Iraq. This is because the U.S. believed that Saddam Hussein had a close relationship with terrorist groups that organized bombing of the United States. Saddam Hussein was also accused of cooperating with terrorists in organizing attacks.
President George W. Bush and other officials in his administration became forceful in their condemnations on Iraq, because of the country’s failing to comply with the United Nations arms inspections. This resistance from Iraq resulted to call for “regime change” in Iraq. Additionally, there was leaked information that revealed that Iraq military was actively planning war; therefore, the U.S. decided to attack Iraq, and its main aim was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. This was a result of his support for terrorism, as well as failing to comply with the demands of weapons inspection that was carried out by the UN. This inspection was to ensure that Iraq was not making weapons that would lead to mass destruction.
Furthermore, the U.S. President requested the United Nations to act vigorously against Iraq. This made Iraq announce in September, 2002 that the United Nations inspectors were free to return to the country. Slowness of Iraq to comply and agree with inspection’s conditions and the United States insistence on more strict conditions on Iraq conformity hindered the return of the inspectors.
In October 2002, the Congress accepted the application of force against Iraq. As a result, the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that gave Iraq a final opportunity to comply and cooperate with the United Nations’ inspections. As a result, a strict timetable for inspections was set up, and it aimed at determining if Iraq would cooperate with the weapons inspections in future, and it began again in late November 2002. In December, the same year, Iraq declared that it did not have any weapons that would/could lead to mass destruction. This declaration was regarded as uninformative and incomplete one.
By the beginning of 2003, the United Nations inspectors had not managed to find any evidence to prove that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, the UN inspectors revealed that Iraq did not actively cooperate with their efforts aimed at determining if Iraq had destroyed the formally known and suspected dangerous weapons, also it aimed at ensuring that Iraq had terminated programs of making weapon of mass destruction.
Despite opposition from various countries, including overwhelming objections from countries, like Germany, France, and Russia, Both the U.S. and the UK went on with their military buildup, mostly in areas close to Iraq. The two countries insisted that Iraq had dangerous weapons, which could lead to mass destruction, and threatened the international security with such claims. The two countries hoped to use Turkey as a base to attack northern part of Iraq; however, Turkey declined to permit the U.S. and the UK troops to use its territory when invading Iraq. However, Anglo-American troops had settled in Kuwait and other locations by early March of the same year. Although the UK participated in the war against Iraq, Britons were largely against that war; however the British Prime Minister approved Royal forces to join the U.S. forces in invading Iraq.
On March 17, 2003, the U.S. President gave an ultimatum to President Saddam Hussein, and after two days, war was launched with airstrikes against Iraq leadership. On the second day, group troops started invading the territory of the country moving towards Baghdad, port facilities, as well as southern oil fields. At the end of March, an extra front was opened by airborne and Kurdish Anglo-American forces.
By the middle of April 2003, Saddam Hussein’s Administration had collapsed, and he disappeared. During this time, both the U.S. and the UK troops gained control over the major cities in Iraq. After overthrowing Saddam Hussein as the Iraq President, the U.S. and the UK focused on the process of rebuilding Iraq, as well as establishing a new government in the country. The progress of rebuilding Iraq and putting in place a new government became a challenge due to lawlessness, particularly in Bagdad; at first, extensive looting had been tolerated by the United States’ forces.
In May 2003, the U.S. President George W. Bush declared victory in the war against Iraq. However, the combined forces did not find any weapons of mass destruction as the United States had claimed. This led to charges that leaders from both the U.S. and the UK had exaggerated the chemical and biological threat of Iraq in justifying the war. Later the investigative bodies of both countries criticized the intelligence that was applied to justify Iraq war to be defective.
In December, 2003, Saddam Hussein was arrested. In 2004, the former president was transferred to legal custody in Iraq where he was charged with crimes against humanity; and in 2006, he was convicted. However, the forces led by the United States and later Iraq security forces had a hard time in 2007, facing Islamic and Iraq rebellions and violence that the military forces, as well as civil planners, did not predict.
THE PRIMARY GOAL OF THE UNITED SATES IN GULF WAR
The main reason that led the U.S. to launch the war against Iraq was to liberate Kuwait from Iraq invasion. This was a result of Saddam Hussein’s intention to acquire Kuwait and make it a part of Iraq. Iraq intended to take over Kuwait’s territory in order to benefit from the oil produced in Kuwait’s oil wells. Iraq always claimed that Kuwait was tapping oil illegally from Iraq oil fields, and this led to the rise of many conflicts in that region. Kuwait was an extremely weak country, and it could not manage to defeat Iraq in defending its territory. Therefore, Saddam Hussein found it to be easier to deploy his forces to Kuwait because it was weak as compared to other neighboring countries, like Iran that would manage to defeat the Iraq troops. This lead to the intervention of the United States with approval from the UN Security Council that authorized the United States to use its troops to liberate Kuwait from the Saddam Hussein’s Administration.
Another reason that led to the beginning of the Gulf War was because Saddam Hussein violated human rights of citizens of the countries, mainly in Kuwait. This made the President Bush Administration accuse him of committing crimes against Humanity. As a result, the United States sought approval from the UN Security Council to deploy its force in Kuwait with the intension of stopping the Iraq President Saddam Hussein from taking over Kuwait.
Additionally, the First Persian Gulf War between Iraq and Iran damaged the relations between the Kuwait City and Bagdad. This war started as a result of invasion of Iran by Iraq. This invasion turned out to be bloody, but Iran forces managed to drive Saddam Hussein’s troops back into Iraq. During these invasions, Kuwait and various Arab countries supported Iraq against the Iran government that comprised mainly of Islamic Revolutionary politic forces. These countries feared that if Saddam Hussein would be defeated, Iranian-inspired revolution wave could arise across all Arab countries. After the end of the War between Iraq and Iran, the relations of Iraq and Kuwait declined.
This led to new attacks by Iraq on Kuwait with the aim of making Kuwait a part of its territory. Kuwait was weak and could not manage to defeat Iraq troops from invasions, and Saddam Hussein administration took control over Kuwait and its oil wells. This raised concern of the international community, especially the United States. As a result, the United States Presidents sought approval from the United Nations Council to force the Iraq President to withdraw his operations in Kuwait. Finally, the UN Security Council ordered Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait unconditionally, but he refused to remove Iraq troops from the neighboring country. This made the United Nations Security Council approve the United States to carry out attacks on the Iraq troops in order to liberate Kuwait from the reign of the Saddam Hussein’s administration, and help Kuwait get their oil wells back from Iraq.
THE EFFECTS OF THE WAR IN IRAQ
Participation of the United States in the war against Iraq significantly affected the U.S. economy, as well as its national security. Since the war started between the United States and Iraq, American citizens were afraid of their safety due to fear of terrorism attacks from the terrorist groups that opposed the United States operations in Iraq, as well as other Islamic countries. Although the United States managed to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government, terrorist groups that supported his administration remained opposed to the United States’ operations. For instance, since the bombing attack of September 11, 2001 that targeted the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, citizens had felt themselves to be unsafe despite the government assurance of their personal safety.
Currently, the national security of the United States is in much worse conditions if compared to what it was before the beginning of the Iraq War. This is because of the United States President Bush’s ill-advised war tactics against Iraq. In handling the Iraq War, the U.S. President demonstrated arrogance, ignorance, and stubborn ideology, and all these mistakes have contributed to negative impacts on the United States’ National Security. Therefore, President Bush’s intensions to launch a war against Iraq have threatened the national security of the United States nation (Bennett and Paletz).
The fight against terrorism was vital not only for the United States’ security, but for international security at large. However, the President Bush’s approach in launching the war against Iraq was not appropriate, and it was misguided because it weakened the U.S. national security, as well as the general economy of the United States. This was due to the President Bush’s approach to rush war, and ignorance of serious doubts that got expressed by the more experienced military officers, and experienced State Department officials. He also ignored CIA concerning the justification and rationale for the war against Iraq, and the strategy for financing that war. Despite all the doubts expressed by the most experienced military officials and other State officials, President Bush ignored them and decided to launch attacks on Iraq.
Saddam Hussein was a famous dictator who oppressed people and was overthrown by the United States troops, but the truth of the matter is that Saddam Hussein did not pose any form of a direct threat to the United States national security that could probably need a unilateral war without considerable support from the international community. It was not advisable for the United States to launch a war against Iraq independently or in coalition, because of the false claims that the United States was given against Iraq. President Bush went ahead to authorize the Iraq war, which has cost the U.S. a lot in terms of public safety and economy. For instance, the George W. Bush administration insistence on the probability that Saddam Hussein could provide nuclear weapons to the Al Qaeda got exposed as only empty threat, since in the real sense that was not happening. Therefore, this information could not have been used by the U.S. President to justify an ideology of war against Iraq.
Saddam Hussein did not possess any nuclear weapons, and it was found later by the United Nations Security Council’s investigators. There were no biological, chemical, or any other kind of weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. Furthermore, there was no concrete evidence to link Saddam Hussein’s administration with Al Qaeda and September 11, 2001 bombing attacks that targeted the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; moreover, there was no evidence that Al Qaeda and Iraq cooperated in organizing any attacks against the United States. According to the report produced by the Commission that investigated the September 11 bombing attacks, there was no operational connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, but the attack were solely carried out by Al Qaeda terrorist group led by Osama Bin Laden.
After the end of the Iraq war that led to overthrown of the President Saddam Hussein’s government, both Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, and Powell, the Secretary of the State, in Bush’s Government admitted that there was no connection between Saddam’s administration and September, 11 attacks. Nevertheless, President George W. Bush remained insistent that there was close links between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda; thus, he insisted that there was a correlation between those bombing attacks and the President Saddam Hussein’s regime.
As a result of the USA military campaign in Iraq, many soldiers were killed and thousands were wounded. For instance, in August 2003 alone, there were close to 900 American casualties. This increased problems in families, which members died in the Iraq War, thus affecting their living standards and increasing the dependency ratio. Additionally, within two years, terrorism had spread in many parts of Iraq, and this made many parts of the country extremely dangerous, and even going out with guards became difficult. This continued putting the lives of many United States soldiers in Iraq at serious risks.
The United States attacks destroyed infrastructures in Iraq and left many people jobless due to the following national instability. Even after the War, the United States did not facilitate reconstruction of Iraq fully. This created hatred against America. This hatred against the United States is what is currently uniting people in Iraq. This hatred arose due to the United States inability to fasten the reconstruction operations in Iraq, which was extremely stable before the U.S. attacks. This hatred made many Iraq people support attacks against the U.S. forces thus compromising the safety of the American troops in Iraq. Furthermore, as the United States continued to attack rebels in Iraq, innocent people got killed, and this continued to increase anger and hatred among the Iraq communities. The hatred and anger led to recruitment of more terrorists, and weakening of the U.S. support in Iraq. This created an opportunity for Al Qaeda to gain support from the Iraq people; many citizens joined this terrorist group which was not present in Iraq before the beginning of the American attacks against Saddam Hussein regime.
This endangered the lives of the U.S. military deployed in Iraq. Hatred and anger among the Iraq people mounted due to the power shortages, continuous blackouts, destroyed infrastructure, lack of electricity, massive lack of jobs and basic necessities, as well as services. Moreover, the United States government focused a lot on war against Iraq and distracted its operations in Afghanistan where it had started attacks against Al Qaeda. This gave Al Qaeda, led by Osama Bin Laden, an ample opportunity to rebuild the group, and this threatened the United States National Security, because instead of the President Bush administration’s focusing on accomplishment of its mission in Afghanistan, it paid attention to an unnecessary war against Iraq.
War against Iraq also affected the United States economy adversely. This is because billions of money was used by the American Government to finance its military operations in Iraq. All these funds were used at the expense of other development projects that could have been established to improve the United States economy. According to the economy analysts, the United States’ participation in war against Iraq has reduced the United States’ competitiveness in terms of economic growth in relation to other developed countries.
Furthermore, increased spending on military operations in Iraq increased the cost of living in America since the President Bush government allocated more funds from the national budget to finance war against Iraq. This increased taxes charged by the government in order to obtain money to support military operations in Iraq. In turn, this increased the cost of products, and services in the United States, leading to the high cost of living.
Additionally, this war led to an increase in fuel prices globally. This affected the economies of many countries. This is because a large number of countries depend on Iraq in the supply of petroleum products. Prices of fuel skyrocketed because production of oil could not go on during the war between the American troops and Iraq, Also, the U.S. attacked some oil wells in Iraq, and destroyed infrastructure of the country. This made production of oil quite impossible because of persistent attacks and poor infrastructures.
Increased fuel prices significantly affected the developing countries because the cost of living increased drastically. This was because many companies increased costs of their products due to the increased operational costs contributed by the increased fuel prices. This affected the global economy and standards of living. Furthermore, these attacks adversely affected the economy of Iraq, as it could not produce oil, which was its main source of national income, and many people lost their jobs, leading to low standards of living among the Iraq citizens.
Finally, the Iraq War claimed the lives of many soldiers who got killed in their line of duty. This had negative effects on the social lives of the affected families for losing their beloved ones. Furthermore, the standards of living of the affected families were adversely affected because many military officers, who died during the war, used to be the providers in their families, thus increasing the dependency ratio in the country.