The Persian Gulf War:
Background, Actors and The United States Alternatives
Introduction to International Relations
16 October 2013
The Persian Gulf War is known as the “Video Game War” because it was the first war that was thoroughly publicized on national television. However, there is much more to the war than what was on television. Television made it possible for the average citizen of America and the world to understand the war, but because every war has such an intricate and complicated background, the Gulf War goes far beyond what was documented on the news. There are tangled reasons behind why the war started, a multitude of actors that participated in different ways, and various alternatives that would draw specific dimensions that most of the public did not realize were even related to the War. Precursors to the Gulf War
Conflict existed in the Middle East well before the Persian Gulf War began. From about 1980 to 1988, Iraq and Iran were in a battle about who had ownership of the Shatt Al Arab area because country borders in the Middle East are forged due to the creation of borders after World War II (Dugdale-Pointon). This war gave Iraq an incredible amount of debt, and so the government was scrambling to pay it back. Two years later, the leader of Iraq Saddam Hussein delivered a speech at a foreign ministers conference in Geneva in July, and it was expected that he would help resolve conflicts in the Middle East but instead he “accused neighboring nation Kuwait of siphoning crude oil from the Ar-Rumaylah oil fields located along their common border” (“Persian”). The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has a fine standard for the amount of oil that can be produced, and since Kuwait was excelling in oil production and producing more than was allotted, Iraq was not able to sell enough to pay off their debt. This enraged Iraq; Hussein was so angry with Kuwait and his country’s economical situation that he declined all peace negotiations from other Middle Eastern countries and invaded Kuwait on August 2, 1990. Events of the Gulf War
Once he invaded, Hussein’s assumption “that his fellow Arab states would stand by… and not call in outside help to stop [him], proved to be a miscalculation. Two-thirds of the 21 members of the Arab League condemned Iraq's act of aggression” (“Persian”). Almost immediately, the United States and other nations of North Atlatic Treaty Organization (NATO) were called upon, “Sheikh Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, met with then-Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney to request U.S. military assistance” (“The Gulf”). The United States did not want to rashly jump into a war in the Middle East, and so they began discussing different alternatives for action or non-action. While they were discussing, the United Nations Security Counsel gave Hussein and his Iraqi forces until January 15, 1991 to remove themselves from Kuwait, and if they did not then the UN authorized the “use of all necessary means” to get Iraq out (“Persian”). Iraq did not remove their forces, and so on January 12, 1991, the United States Congress authorized President Bush with permission to go to war against Iraq. On January 17, 1991, the United States launched an “air campaign to disable Iraq's communications, air defenses, and early warning radar installations” (“The Gulf”). This air strike is now known as Operation Desert Storm. About a month later, Operation Desert Sabre was launched which was a ground strike that worked to liberate Kuwait while attacking Iraq’s armored reserves that were stationed in Iraq. This operation lasted four days and then “Bush declared a ceasefire on February 28, ending the Persian Gulf War” (“Persian”).
Main Actors in Gulf War
The Gulf War contains many actors that possess different roles in the events prior to and during the war. The United States is the main actor that will...
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