The Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars Essay

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The Persian Gulf and Iraq Wars

The Persian Gulf War began in August 1990 with the invasion and occupation of Iraqi military forces in Kuwait and ended in January 1991. The US led coalition forces and Iraqi forces fought in that war. There had been conflicts with regard to the Iraqi – Kuwaiti border. From the eighteenth century, Kuwait had been nominal part of the Ottoman Empire until the year 1899, when it received British protection in local affairs (Brown, 2007 ). In the year 1961, Kuwait gained independence from Britain and at that juncture; Iraq claimed that Kuwait had been ruled as an Ottoman province in southern Iraq and that it belonged to Iraq.

Moreover, Iraq backed up its claim with historical evidence; however, under international pressure, Iraq had to recognize Kuwait as an independent state in 1963. Ever since, there had been frequent conflicts and clashes on the Iraqi – Kuwaiti border and the relations between these two countries had been strained (Brown, 2007). Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, which resulted in an international conflict. The Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had justified this invasion by claiming that Kuwait was historically, an integral part of Iraq.

The underlying objective for this invasion was the desire of Iraq to capture the vast oil resources in Kuwait and to establish its power in the region. The US was deeply concerned about this strategic deployment of Iraqi’s forces in Kuwait. Accordingly, the US carefully examined the strategic motivations of Iraq and drew the attention of the United Nations to this issue (Persian Gulf War, First or Gulf War, 2006). Under the aegis of the UN, the US successfully formed a coalition of nations to fight against the Iraqi invasion.

Several Arab nations joined hands with the US and these forces stationed themselves in northern Saudi Arabia. The UN Security Council specified a deadline for Iraq to withdraw its troops from Kuwait. Iraq ignored that deadline and refused to withdraw from Kuwait. On the 16th and 17th of January 1991, the coalition forces launched massive airborne attacks on the Iraqi forces in Kuwait. In retaliation, Saddam Hussein launched ballistic missile attacks on the neighboring states that were in the coalition. He also launched missile attacks against Israel.

The coalition forces fought with the Iraqi forces by launching a ground offensive (Persian Gulf War, First or Gulf War, 2006). In February 1991, the coalition forces emerged victorious in the battle. As such, the gulf war claimed the lives of one hundred thousand Iraqi soldiers, whereas the coalition forces lost three hundred troops in the war. The entire region’s environment was severely damaged by this war. Subsequently, there were widespread rebellions against the Iraqi regime, which it suppressed brutally. The UN imposed a trade embargo on Iraq after the war was over.

The first and foremost condition set out by the UN was that Iraq must destroy all its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons (Persian Gulf War, First or Gulf War, 2006). The second Persian Gulf War was fought between Iraq and the allied forces of the United States and the United Kingdom. Several other nations had also participated in the coalition forces. The UN imposed a trade embargo on Iraq, subsequent to the end of the first Persian Gulf War, which was fought between 1990 and 1991. The important issue of weapons – inspection required by the UN did not take place until the year 2001.

The US had taken this issue very seriously and President George Bush argued that national security was at risk. He claimed that the September 11 attacks and other security threats were being posed by hostile countries like Iraq. Motivated by the demands made by the US President George Bush and the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, the UN in November 2002 issued the Security Council Resolution 1441, wherein it demanded Iraq to allow weapons inspectors into its territory and to act in accordance with the previous resolutions made by the Security Council (Persian Gulf War, Second, 2006).

In 2003, Bush and Blair declared that Iraq had not disclosed its weapons units and did not allow UN inspectors to verify its arsenals and that it was developing prohibited weapons. Most of the world leaders condemned this declaration, but the US and the UK launched an aerial offensive against Iraq in March of that year, without seeking any directive or resolution from the UN. (Persian Gulf War, Second, 2006). By the year 2003, the allied forces had taken into control all the major cities in Iraq. The government of Saddam Hussein had collapsed and Saddam had fled.

The allies engaged in the rebuilding of Iraq and tried to establish a new Iraqi government. However, their attempts were hindered by the chaotic conditions prevailing in Baghdad. The US President declared victory over Iraq in May 2003. Nevertheless, the allegations of possession of weapons of mass destruction made by the US and the UK were never proved. There were no such weapons in Iraq and the claims of the US and the UK, with regard to biological and chemical weapons were merely made to justify the waging of war against Iraq. In December 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured and handed over to the Iraqi legal authorities.

He was imprisoned and tried on the charges of crimes against humanity in 2004 and in the year 2006, he was executed. Subsequently, there was widespread violence and Islamic insurgents ruled in Iraq. The American occupation forces and the Iraqi security forces had to deal with this sectarian violence (Persian Gulf Wars, 2007). There had been extensive political violence in Iraq, during the period of war. The coalition forces countered with widespread attacks in the year 2005. The attackers employed violent and sophisticated attacks against the coalition forces.

The international community had worried about the attacks, which were aimed at Iraqi civilians. Despite American support, the Iraqi administrators found it difficult to recruit and train new police officers. This compelled them to engage soldiers to maintain law and order in society and to perform domestic security duties. In June 2006, al – Zarqawi, who conducted training camps for terrorists in Afghanistan, died; but the violence in Iraq did not reduce. On the 30th of December 2006, Saddam Hussein was executed by an Iraqi court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Immediately after the execution, President Bush made a proposal to increase US troops in Iraq to curb the violence there. However, there had been a gradual decrease of violence as the people of Iraq were disgusted with the violence (Iraq, 2008). Saddam Hussein had become the president of Iraq in 1979 and Iraq had been ruled by him and his Baath party ever since, until his execution in 2006. Saddam was the most powerful dictator in the Middle East region during the time of his tenure. He recruited teenage children into his militia to fight against his opponents and had brutally killed many of his opponents including civilians.

He brutally suppressed and prosecuted Iraq’s Kurdish minority people. Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 to capture its vast oil resources. He was also prepared to attack Saudi Arabia, in order to invade it. In 1991, the first gulf war was fought, which was the major conflict, in the Post Cold War era, in the world. After the end of that war, the UN imposed trade embargos and sanctions on Iraq; and the US – led allied forces called for an inspection of the development of weapons of mass destruction by Iraq.

In 2003, the US led coalition forces dethroned Saddam Hussein (McCannon, 2006, P 381). The Persian Gulf War was initiated by the conquest of Kuwait by Iraq in August 1990. The motivation behind this international war was to get domination in that area by controlling the oil fields (Persian Gulf War, First or Gulf War, 2006). The second Gulf War transpired between Iraq forces led by Saddam Hussein and a coalition of nations like the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait and other Arab states, which were led by the US.

The reasons behind this war were the conquest of Kuwait by Iraq and Iraq’s unwillingness to comply with the demands of the UN to withdraw from Kuwait. Some of the other reasons for the second Gulf War were Iraq’s failure to comply with the terms of the 1991 Cease – fire resolution as well as its support for terrorism. Iraq’s refusal to allow Arms inspection by the UN prompted the coalition forces to attack it (Gulf War, 2003). Political differences between the Shiite and the Sunni militia of Iraq resulted in a war between them. Most of these attacks were aimed at the police and their near relations.

The US deployed additional troops in Iraq after the execution of Saddam Hussein, in order to combat the widespread violence (Iraq, 2008) . Some experts argue that the war in Iraq will be a continuous process, with no end for the people of Iraq. It is a generally debated issue that there are several religious fundamentalist groups. These sectarian groups have been fighting from a very long time and they may not stop fighting in the near future (Iraq War Is In The News Every Single Day). The Iraq war has been an influencing factor for the development of the new Middle East.

Syria and Iran are countries that sponsor terrorism and terrorist activities around the world, and they want to establish themselves in the region. The present situation makes them fearful of terrorist attacks against their own regimes and the regional balance has been changed. Religious leaders in those countries are now facing international accusations of having incited misery and terrorism in those countries. Those sympathetic clerics who had financed and sponsored terrorists live in the grip of fear. The future of these countries is surrounded by uncertainty.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Syria, which aid and abet terrorisms and terrorist organizations, are considered to be the biggest losers, due to the occurrence of the Iraq war. Other countries which adopted pro – American policies and moderate countries like Egypt and Jordan have also been greatly influenced by the war. They are under the threat of terrorism and they have to reform their domestic policies and other matters relating to terrorism and international relations. Israel is the most benefitted country in the Middle East region, due to the Iraq War, apart from the US (Israeli, 2004. P 237).

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