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The End of the Cold War &
the Persian Gulf War
Richard B. Cheney:
Secretary of Defense,
George H. W. Bush:
President, 1989-1993
Colin L. Powell:
Chairman, Joint
Chiefs of Staff, 198993
The end of Soviet Communism
1989: Communist regimes fall in Eastern
European states.
Berlin Wall opened in 1989, removed by 1990.
1990: Communist Party dissolved in Soviet
1991: Soviet Union dissolves, replaced by
Commonwealth of Independent States
Fall of the Wall
Boris Yeltsin, Russian
President, 1991-1999
Change facilitates (& complicates)
arms control
Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in
Europe (CFE Treaty), signed 1990.
Limited offensive conventional arms held by
Eastern and Western states in Europe.
START Treaty, signed 1991.
Reduced total numbers of delivery vehicles
and warheads in U.S. and Soviet arsenals.
Fall of U.S.S.R. undercuts
Communist efforts elsewhere
Nicaragua: peace negotiated between
Sandinistas and contras in 1987.
Sandinistas voted out of power in 1990.
El Salvador: Peace negotiated between
government and Marxist groups in 1990.
Cuba: pulls troops out of interventions in
Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Namibia)
Manuel Noriega: general
and de facto ruler of
Panama, 1983-89.
Had ties to U.S.
intelligence, Fidel Castro,
and Latin American drug
1989: various incidents
provoke confrontation
with U.S.
Operation JUST CAUSE
U.S. invasion of Panama: Dec. 20-28, 1989.
After fleeing to Vatican embassy, Noriega
surrenders, flown to U.S. to face drug charges.
More trouble in
the Persian Gulf
August 2, 1990: Iraq
invades Kuwait.
Kuwait “annexed”
Saddam Hussein,
Aug. 8.
Aug. 5: Bush declares
will wage war to
restore Kuwaiti
independence if
Larger dangers
Unchallenged Iraqi occupation of Kuwait
Saudi Arabia
other regional Arab regimes
Iraq also possessed chemical and
biological weapons.
Goal: Protect Saudi Arabia
Begins August 7, 1990.
Thousands of troops transported by air
Millions of tons of equipment and fuel
transported by sea.
Bush Administration builds a coalition of
24 nations to confront Iraq:
23 countries provide naval forces; 22 ground
troops; 12 provide air units
Other counties also help pay the bills:
U.S. costs about $60-70 billion – foreign
contributions covered $50 billion (not
counting services in kind).
The problem of Israel
The coalition included many Arab states.
Israeli participation would have
complicated the position of allied Arab
governments, leading to their withdrawal
from the war.
Bush Administration successfully keeps
Israel out of the conflict.
The Role of the United Nations
Bush Administration uses the UN as a
forum to build and maintain the coalition
against Iraq.
Gets UN to impose various sanctions upon
Iraq between August and November 1990.
UN Security Council authorized use of force
against Iraq if it did not withdraw from Kuwait
by January 15, 1991.
Increasing the commitment
October 1990: Bush wanted a plan to kick
Iraq out of Kuwait.
Military planners fail to come up with
convincing plans given projected force levels.
November 1990: Bush increases number
of U.S. troops to facilitate offensive
The Powell Doctrine
U.S. military action:
should be used only as a last resort.
only for a clear national security risk.
force, when used, should be overwhelming
and disproportionate to the force used by the
there must be strong support for the
campaign by the general public.
there must be a clear exit strategy.
U.S. manpower
237,800 Reservists & National Guardsmen
(& women) were called to active duty
during the Gulf War.
40,000 in August
187,000 between November 1990 and
January 1991
10,000 volunteered for active duty
H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr.
Commander, U.S.
Central Command and
of coalition forces in
the Gulf.
The plan to attack Iraq
Month-long air campaign
Preliminary goal of destroying Iraqi air
Other targets included military and industrial
facilities, first in Iraq, then Kuwait
If needed, ground offensive would follow
air operations.
The ground plan
January 15, 1991: Ordered by President
George H. W. Bush
January 17: air operations began
February 24: ground campaign launched
February 28: ceasefire and coalition
High-tech air war
Smart bombs,
Advanced air control
& target acquisition
New planes
Scud Attacks
Iraq launches missiles
at Israel, Saudi
Arabia, and Bahrain.
Coalition responds
with “Great Scud
Hunt,” sending planes
and special operations
units to locate and
destroy these
“The 100-hour War”
Coalition ground forces blast through Iraqi
Highly effective artillery and air support.
Iraqi forces not as numerous or tough as
Failure: Republican Guard divisions
“The Highway of Death”
Fears of public reaction to large numbers of
Iraqi casualties helps push for quick conclusion
to hostilities.
US – 613: 146 killed, 467 wounded.
Coalition – 410: 92 killed, 318 wounded.
Iraqi – 12,000 killed, about 86,000 surrendered.
Kuwaiti independence restored.
Iraqi strategic military capability devastated.
Problems for the future
Saddam Hussein
remains in power in