AD 1991- First Gulf War in Iraq

Throughout the Cold War, the United States provided weapons to any country that claimed friendship and a willingness to reject communism. As a result, many nations that might otherwise have hated America were coopted as allies. However, when the Cold War ended and the threat of nuclear annihilation passed, many of those nations turned against the United States. One of these countries was Iraq. Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, America supported Iraq against its neighbor Iran, which was decidedly pro-communism at that point. However, after the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein, the leader of Iraq, turned his attention toward a weak but wealthy neighbor, Kuwait. In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait for its expansive oil fields. The United States, in order to protect its ally Kuwait, the stability of the region, and the flow of oil, set out to retake Kuwait from Iraq. This action, which took place in late 1990, was known as Desert Shield—a nod towards the idea of protecting the innocent Kuwaiti people. After swiftly retaking Kuwait, the United States turned its attention toward forcing Iraq to surrender, and in early 1991, began Operation Desert Storm, which was meant to capture the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. In one of the quickest wars in history, America crushed the Iraqi army and forced Hussein to surrender. After this, America set up peace-keeping operations in the region, and, until 2003, a time of relative stability existed in the region.