1991: Operation Desert Storm: A Look Back

As my regular readers will see is that I do like giving a historical perspective on issues of today…..so how could I pass up yet another one?

I have been writing about the Middle East for decades….I hit my stride back in 1990 with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.  Most of my saved writings were lost in Katrina….the winds took out a window in the room where I did my research and writing, my office, if you will……I had files upon files of saved material that was lost to wet damage….or so I thought…..I was doing some spring cleaning and found 5 plastic storage bins that I had no idea what is within….after a thorough search I located all my saved articles and stuff from the Desert Storm days…..a eureka moment!

This find came at an advantageous time….I have been asked to lecture to the students of a professor friend on the Middle East especially the 80’s and 90’s…..my friend knew that I had lived and worked in Iraq in the days before the Desert Storm debacle and he thought that I might have a good perspective on the events of that conflict…..

But first, as I read the articles I had saved along with some newspapers I noticed that a lot of the same issues were in the news also….like women’s health and the struggle for voting…..I guess some things never change…..

Sorry I got side-tracked……

It is 02Aug1990, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait and in 2 days had the whole country under its control……Saddam proclaimed Kuwait as the 19th province of Iraq….then the world started scrambling to find a way to end this situation.

The common tale these days is that there was no other option to rein in Saddam than to go into an armed conflict….not exactly accurate but enough time has gone by that few question the tale being told of that war…..actually Saddam invaded Kuwait because the Kuwaitis reneged on a deal they struck with Saddam to help him pay for the war he had had with Iran….when they blew him off he then decided to take what he needed…..not exactly the story that the government wanted to be told.

Iraq like all conflicts since WW2 was a victory but not a win…..say what?  Korea was not a win…no one surrendered it was a ceasefire……Vietnam was not a win it was another ceasefire…..and Desert Storm was also a ceasefire….no one surrendered.  If one measures a victory or a win by body count then it was a win…..

The story that the media was given to sell to the country was that Saddam had no other thought other than war when he invaded and that war with Iraq was going to be inevitable…..not so much on the truthful side….

For instance, Saddam was determined that he would take on the US and its allies to become the “savior” of the Arab world……actually the truth is that Iraq made an offer to negotiate an end to this stand-off…..these are his conditions according to AP on 10Jan1990……

  1.  Palestinian issue dealt with in an international conference.
  2.  end all embargoes, normalization of relations with the world community
  3.  Guarantee that the international force would not attack following the withdrawal from Kuwait.
  4. Has interest in the Rumalia oil field and Warba and Bubiyan Islands. possession of these areas could be cornerstone to any Iraqi withdrawal,

All issues that could have been negotiated…but that was never going to happen….it is rejected.

The build-up and the preparation for war continued.

As the prep for war slowly advanced to the “Big Day”….Saddam knew that it was inevitable that he would be attacked….he once again sent word that he had a plan (with the help of the Russians) to avoid hostilities…

These are the points as reported in wire reports and printed in my local paper Sun-Herald on 22Feb1991……

1.Iraq agrees to a full unconditional withdrawal from Kuwait.

2.Pullout will begin after hostilities end.

3.Pullout on fixed timetable.

4.After 2/3 of Iraq’s forces withdraw sanctions end.

5.UN resolutions will be canceled  

6.POW ‘s will be released immediately.

7.Pullout monitored by non-involved countries under auspices of the UN.

Once again none of these were considered for negotiation and the war began….and was over by 28Feb1991.

The problem is that the “war” could have possibly been adverted by talking…but the story that NEVER makes it into the history programs were….there was always going to be a war and no amount of talking was ever going to change that one simple fact.

It is true that hindsight is 20/20…but in this case I wrote before the war that it could have possibly been averted by a couple of meetings….but NO one in Bush1 admin wanted anything but war.

Kinda sounds like Bush2…like father like son.

Another point to consider…..Al Qaeda has a hard on for the US…..the reason, stated reason, for the hate was the infidels that were housed on Muslim land…..US troops stationed in Saudi Arabia staging for the land war with Iraq in 1990-1991…if negotiations had settled the incident without war would AQ had attacked the Twin Towers in 1993 and again in 2001?

In essence the whole War on Terror would have not been necessary…..just a thought.

Editors Notes:

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