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Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm

When Iraq invaded Kuwait on malicious claims that it was drilling oil diagonally tapping into the oil reserves of Iraq, Saddam Hussein believed that the United States would not intervene because it was an Arab issue, and for this reason the unites States would not take sides on the matter. Iraq, emerging from the Iran-Iraq war, was heavily indebted to several countries in the Arab world including Kuwait which it owed fourteen billion US dollars. Iraq was aiming to repay its debts via raising oil prices but Kuwait was overproducing oil which consequently led to low prices of Iraq oil in the world markets .

There was also the belief that Kuwait was originally part of Iraq territory before being granted sovereignty by British. Therefore, Saddam Hussein’s objective was to repossess what Britain had robbed Iraq to become its nineteenth province something that was vehemently opposed by Kuwait. Combining mechanized infantry, the elite Republican Guard, Iraqi armor’s seven divisions and helicopter forces on August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. The invasion was immense and it quickly besieged Kuwait as the world watched in disbelief as no one thought Iraq could harm another Arab country .

The Kuwait government fled and sought refuge in Saudi Arabia. It was at this point that the international community took notice of the great threat that Iraq posed to Kuwait. The United States took swift measures by freezing all Kuwaiti and Iraq assets in America in an effort to coerce Saddam Hussein and his troops out of Kuwait. The United Nations Security Council on the other hand called for instantaneous and unconditional Iraq forces’ withdrawal from Kuwait.

Although the United States’ interests in Kuwait were minimal as most of its oil was sourced from Saudi Arabia, it had to intervene in the crisis because Kuwait was a major contributor to the world oil market at that time exporting mainly to Japan and Germany. The other Arab countries were willing to help free Kuwait from the evil scheme drafted by Saddam Hussein . The United States started strategizing on ways of coercing Iraq to free Kuwait with then President George Bush authorizing the beefing up of the Armed forces by calling up around 220,000 Reservists.

Pressure from the U. N. ultimatum, Security Council Resolution 678 was issued on November 29, 1990 and required Saddam Hussein to leave Kuwait by January 15, 1991 . American troops partnering with allied troops were after the expiry of the ultimatum authorized to force Saddam out. This further attracted other thirty states to participate in the coalition of forces against Saddam while eighteen more came in to supplement the humanitarian, economic and other assistance that came in handy for the liberation of Kuwait.

It was then that Desert Shield was born with its primary objective being to offset the defensive stage of the Gulf War . Operation Desert Shield This in war psychology was a strategy by American and allied troops to build a base for operations and coordination in attacking Iraq. Operation Desert Shield begun on August 7, 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait . Iraq under Saddam Hussein continued to display arrogant and instead reinforced its troops from an estimated thirty-six to thirty-eight divisions in every part of Kuwait hence sending a clear signal to the world that it was not prepared to relinquish Kuwait that easily.

The coalition forces had to this time beefed up to 700,000 troops awaiting deployment to uproot Iraqi forces, mainly from USA, France, Egypt, UK, Saudi Arabia and Syria all commanded by General Schwarzkopf of United States. Under operation Desert Shield, Iraq would not be attacked but the security of Saudi Arabia would be protected bearing in mind that they hosted the coalition forces and could be subjected to attacks by Iraq for their support of United States and other allied troops . As the coalition troops waited for the U. N.

ultimatum of January 15, 1991, they strategized on how to defeat the enemy troops across the border and in the desert conditions. Although the coalition had soldiers of high professionalism and experience in war, credit goes to the neighboring nations that supported the initial stages in the arrival and deployment of troops and arsenal before the allied campaign started . The US Navy played a crucial role in operation Desert Shield for they provided protection for the landing of troops’ air and ground-based armory without first provoking Iraq.

Their unrivaled and superiority in the control of the sea paved way for timely and above all safe delivery of assets necessary to facilitate for the war against Iraq. The navy made careful and accurate assessment of pivotal positions and advised the coalition troops accordingly on the information they needed in the least time possible. Almost all the assets needed by the coalition forces were delivered by sea with early medical support being provided by the US Navy . The Naval air unit also supported the allied air operations making the situation well-handled and ensuring all loopholes were sealed.

The care given to the allied troops was immense as the Arab states worked closely with the coalition troops against Iraq. The sole aim in the campaign against Iraq was to ensure Israel dis not become a victim of Iraqi’s aggression as it was always the target of Iraq’s missile attacks. The reason why Saddam Hussein had to be prepared for was simply because reports had it that he had a program that manufactured biological and chemical weapons and more so the scud missiles, said to have double the range of the original version from the Soviet Union .

Operation Desert Storm Operation Desert Storm was the biggest land operation ever witnessed after World War 11. When the coalition forces led by General Schwarzkopf of United States started to strike, it was with massive force. This was on January 17, 1991, two days after the ultimatum had ended. The air attacks were the prelude to clear Iraqi defense sites at the borders for the land based forces to launch land attacks . The air attacks were very effective in striking targets heavily guarded by Iraqi.

These air attacks were heavily felt by Iraq as they were complemented by the Navy’s cruise missiles launched from the sea. The main objective of the early attacks by the coalition forces was to cut out supplies which included electrical power, Iraqi air defenses, suspected chemical, nuclear and biological warfare manufacturing plants, as well as control and command areas. The success of the coalition forces can be to greater extent attributed to the excellent technology that provided intelligence which helped the coalition to pinpoint and neutralize the strongest zones of the Iraqi forces.

In a bid to widen the conflict and draw sympathy from the Muslim population, Iraqi fired a Scud missile towards Israel , purportedly containing cyclo-sarin, a dangerous nerve gas that kills within minutes . Israel on the other hand was prepared for counter attack but was later persuaded by the United States not to do so while promising to offer missile protection using patriotic anti-missile systems. It was reported that more efforts were diverted to the hunt of the Scud launch sites inside Iraq.

Saddam’s tactic of aiming scud missiles at Israel and Saudi Arabia did not work as the coalition forces remained on course, mainly to attack the core source of the missiles. . Patriot anti-missile systems were used to bring down missiles launched against the coalition forces. This entered in history as the first war to employ anti-missiles although their effectiveness was far from perfect. In one such failure, Iraq fired missiles at Riyadh that hit a US temporary barracks and caused the most casualties in the Gulf War in one hit .

In one hundred hours after the coalition forces began attacking, Iraqi forces began retreating from Kuwait after their defenses suffered heavy damages. For success and victory to be achieved in the Gulf War, General Schwarzkopf came up with a military plan to besiege the Iraqi Forces. This was to catch the Iraqi forces by surprise as they were concentrated on the south and on the US Marine at the coast. Deployment of troops to the west where the Iraqi main forces anchored would lead straight to the Republican Guards.

This was supposed to catch the Iraqis by surprise for the aim was to conduct it in a swift rapacious effort and destroy the Republican Guards with minimal casualties on the coalition forces . Ground Attacks Ground attacks began in earnest on February 24 after days of air raids, with US Marines attacking from the south assisted by forces from Saudi Arabia, and those from west and north surrounding the Iraqi forces. Although a considerable resistance emanated from the Iraqi forces, they were no match for the coalition forces that advanced so quickly and fought in full swing.

In frustration, Iraqi soldiers vented their anger by burning Kuwait’s oil fields before withdrawing their elite units . The burning of oil fields was reported to have caused not only immense damage on the infrastructure but also huge ecological destruction on the environment. Two days from the start of ground attacks by the coalition forces, the resistance mounted by Iraqi forces crumbled and Iraq announced the withdrawal of its troops from Kuwait soil.

This prompted the coalition troops to cease-fire and celebrate victory after restoring the legitimate government of Kuwait. The Psychological warfare Around twenty-nine leaflets were printed and dropped over Baghdad, Kuwait, and Southern Iraq aimed at pointing out the evils of Saddam Hussein and his eventual invasion of Kuwait. They were master-minded by the 4th Psychological Operations Group. This was aimed at fighting the war psychologically deterring Iraqi military forces from participating in the illegal or rather forceful take over of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein.

The message in the leaflets was reported to have worked because eventually, an estimated forty-four percent of soldiers in the Iraqi army deserted, with close to 87,000 surrendering, while 17,000 withdrew their support for Saddam Hussein. In fact, operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm owe their success to the psychological warfare campaign fought by the 4th PSYOP Group . The success of these operations was due to the morale the soldiers were given by people from all over the world.

Using the leaflets and loudspeakers, the 4th PSYOP Group helped many Iraqi forces surrender to the coalition forces without shots being fired and minimized the deaths that would have been experienced in the Gulf War. The messages were specifically tailored for the Iraqi military with local appeals and instructions for the military to follow and surrender out of which no harm would befall them. Where Iraqi Soldiers realized that they were on the loosing end, surrendering was the best option for they would be treated like prisoners of war .

The themes on the leaflets and the messages broadcasted over loudspeakers clearly appealed to Iraqi soldiers who defected or surrendered as they emphasized the inevitability of defeat and why it was only Saddam who was to blame for the war. It is in this war that psychological warfare was noted to have an impact on enemy forces. Although most Iraqi forces continued being loyal to Saddam Hussein, they knew that they were against a larger force than themselves and the world was against them so there was no way they could win .

The deployment of communication technology in warfare to break down the fighting spirit was a new skill used to ensure minimal casualties in the surrendering process. End of the War The war ended 100 hours after the coalition forces began their assault. It was not without casualties as a US chopper was shot down and around four hundred coalition forces soldiers lost. The loss on the Iraqi Army was great as more than eighty thousand troops were captured as prisoners of war.

It goes down in history as one of the shortest wars ever fought and one where the world unanimously supported the sovereignty of a state . Conclusion The Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm are clear instances of success in war owing to prior preparation. With the coalition troops first taking up operation Desert Shield, it put them on a higher bargaining ground with the neighboring states; a creation of rapport needed in order not to camp on hostile ground. This rapport built trust and ensured that the coalition forces received support from the host populations.

The landing of equipment and arsenal to be used in the war was yet another factor that prevented aggression against the sympathizers of the Kuwait State. Operation Desert Storm was a well executed plan of restoring the Kuwait State which could only succeed with adequate early preparation. The Desert Storm operation is credited for the low casualties the coalition forces suffered thanks to the planning for the utilization of air strikes to break the tight defense and carrying out surveillance over the enemy.

However, the role played by psychological warfare cannot be underrated looking at the persuasion skill implemented that brought positive results. Altogether, this war marked the revolutionalization of warfare where anti-missiles are used and psychological warfare come in handy to woo the enemy out of their camp. Bibliography Smith, Arthur and Harold R. Bohman. “Medical Command and Control in Sea-based operations”. Naval War College Review. 59. 3 (2006): 53-71.

Friedman, Herbert A, Leaflets of operation desert shield and desert storm. (n. d) http://www. psywarrior. com/HerbDStorm. html (accessed July 21, 2009). Hiro, Dilip, Desert Shield to Desert Storm, New York: Authors Choice, 2003. Lowry, Richard S. The Gulf War chronicles: a military history of the first war with Iraq. New York: IUniverse, Inc. , 2003. Snow, Donald M and Dennis M. Drew. From Lexington to Desert Storm and beyond: war and politics in the American experience. Armonk, N. Y: M. E. Sharpe, 2000.

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