#TBT: The first Gulf War begins

Operation Desert Storm began 29 years ago this week. These images mark a crucial moment in the U.S.’ ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.

Invasion of Kuwait

Iraqi president Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion and occupation of neighboring Kuwait in early August 1990. Alarmed by these actions, fellow Arab powers such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt called on the United States and other Western nations to intervene. Hussein defied United Nations Security Council demands to withdraw from Kuwait by mid-January 1991, and the Persian Gulf War began with a massive U.S.-led air offensive known as Operation Desert Storm. After 42 days of relentless attacks by the allied coalition in the air and on the ground, U.S. President George H.W. Bush declared a cease-fire on February 28; by that time, most Iraqi forces in Kuwait had either surrendered or fled. Though the Persian Gulf War was initially considered an unqualified success for the international coalition, simmering conflict in the troubled region led to a second Gulf War–known as the Iraq War–that began in 2003.

Who Won?

With Iraqi resistance nearing collapse, Bush declared a ceasefire on February 28, ending the Persian Gulf War. According to the peace terms that Hussein subsequently accepted, Iraq would recognize Kuwait’s sovereignty and get rid of all its weapons of mass destruction (including nuclear, biological and chemical weapons). In all, an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 Iraqi forces were killed, in comparison with only 300 coalition troops. Though the Gulf War was recognized as a decisive victory for the coalition, Kuwait and Iraq suffered enormous damage, and Saddam Hussein was not forced from power.

Aftermath of the Persian Gulf War

Intended by coalition leaders to be a “limited” war fought at minimum cost, it would have lingering effects for years to come, both in the Persian Gulf region and around the world. In the immediate aftermath of the war, Hussein’s forces brutally suppressed uprisings by Kurds in the north of Iraq and Shi’ites in the south. The United States-led coalition failed to support the uprisings, afraid that the Iraqi state would be dissolved if they succeeded.


01/16/2020 4:57 PM


  • Forrest L.
    01/30/2020 21:40

    The Crucial date was back in 1976 when our citizens needed to be evacuated from Lebanon.

  • Damaris I.
    01/29/2020 21:08

    Por primera vez incrédulos, mi Padre ( veterano de Vietnam ) y todos en casa, vimos esta guerra televisada, un bombardeo que parecía una fiesta de fuegos artificiales😔

  • Luis O.
    01/23/2020 19:45


  • Luis O.
    01/23/2020 19:44

    Same BS on and on and on the terrorist Regime weapons of mass destruction make war with your money stop using the country’s money for personal profit

  • Bob U.
    01/22/2020 21:31

    More unnecessary violence

  • Martin G.
    01/22/2020 20:36

    US propaganda piece.

  • Glenn S.
    01/21/2020 17:55

    I remember that day like it was yesterday!

  • Aguimar D.
    01/20/2020 14:59


  • Mel O.
    01/18/2020 15:59

    George Bush was fooled and tricked by Thatcher to save british petroleum. ''Don't go flimsy on me George'' was what tatcher told to Bush and the US as usual was used by british to protect them. The US spent billions of dollars, lost lives and the british took over Basra to load their ocean liners with Iraqi, Saudi and Kuwaiti oil and gain hundreds of billions of dollars.

  • Mohmed H.
    01/16/2020 22:49

    This day every soul will be recompensed for what it earned. No injustice today ! Indeed Allah is swift in account

  • Abdinasir A.
    01/16/2020 20:48

    Bush is in hell now

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