The United States and the Middle East: A Search for New Perspectives

By Hooshang Amirahmadi | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 13
Global Restructuring, the Persian Gulf
War, and the U.S. Quest for
World Leadership

Hooshang Amirahmadi


INTRODUCTION

In August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded and then annexed the tiny country of Kuwait, citing its historic claim over that territory as its prime reason. The United States reacted almost immediately by sending a 200,000-strong "defensive" force to the region to create a "Desert Shield" against possible Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia. President George Bush also put together an immense, though largely Western, coalition against Iraq in the United Nations and on site in the Saudi desert. The United States subsequently increased its forces to over 500,000 and declared their mission as basically "offensive." Meanwhile, twelve UN Security Council resolutions were passed against Iraq in less than a few months, an event unprecedented in the agency's forty-six-year history. The resolutions imposed a variety of demands and conditions on Iraq, including total and unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait, economic sanctions, military blockade, and reparation for the damage done to Kuwait. A final resolution before the war authorized the use of "all necessary means" against Iraq if it did not withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991. 1 Iraq did not comply by the deadline and the United States—led multinational forces began their devastating air campaign against Iraq on January 16, less than six months after Iraq

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