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The End of the Cold War &
the Persian Gulf War
1988-1992



Richard B. Cheney:
Secretary of Defense,
1989-93
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
Union.
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)
Panama



Manuel Noriega: general
and de facto ruler of
Panama, 1983-89.
Had ties to U.S.
intelligence, Fidel Castro,
and Latin American drug
interests.
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
necessary.
Larger dangers

Unchallenged Iraqi occupation of Kuwait
threatened:




Saudi Arabia
other regional Arab regimes
Israel
Iraq also possessed chemical and
biological weapons.
Operation DESERT SHIELD




Goal: Protect Saudi Arabia
Begins August 7, 1990.
Thousands of troops transported by air
Millions of tons of equipment and fuel
transported by sea.
Diplomacy

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
operations.
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
enemy.
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
defenses.
Other targets included military and industrial
facilities, first in Iraq, then Kuwait
If needed, ground offensive would follow
air operations.
The ground plan
Operation DESERT STORM




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
victory.
High-tech air war



Smart bombs,
precision-guided
munitions.
Advanced air control
& target acquisition
systems.
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
weapons.
“The 100-hour War”

Coalition ground forces blast through Iraqi
defenses.



Highly effective artillery and air support.
Iraqi forces not as numerous or tough as
anticipated.
Failure: Republican Guard divisions
escape.
“The Highway of Death”

Fears of public reaction to large numbers of
Iraqi casualties helps push for quick conclusion
to hostilities.
Assessment

Casualties:





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
Iraq.