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Old 03-15-2010, 02:43 AM
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Default Ch 2, War in the Persian Gulf, Pt 3


Ch 2, War in the Persian Gulf, Pt 3


The US military wanted to use some of its European formations in the effort to liberate Kuwait. The experience would be invaluable in any future European conflict. The Army tapped VII US Corps with two heavy divisions and an armored cavalry regiment. Not yet ready to trust the Soviets completely, the Army moved two divisions and an armored cavalry regiment from CONUS to Europe before moving VII US Corps to Saudi Arabia.*

[III US Corps moves to Europe along with 5th ID(M). Two National Guard formations, 35th ID(M) and 116th ACR are called up and deployed to Europe to take over the duties of VII US Corps. 4th ID(M), which is supposed to transit by air to Europe to draw POMCUS equipment, remains on alert at Fort Carson, CO. 1st CD, 2/2nd AD, and 3rd ACR, all of which are slated for deployment to Europe, are replaced by 49th AD (TXNG), 194th Armd Bde (sep), and 278th ACR (TNNG) as CONUS-based reserves for air deployment and drawing of POMCUS equipment. The USMC activates 4th Marine Division to take the place of 1st Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, which is deploying to Saudi Arabia.]

The Coalition build-up in Saudi Arabia continued through the end of 1990. Eventually, twenty-seven nations would provide ground, air, or naval combat forces, with another twelve nations providing non-combat support units, financial support for the war, or significant humanitarian support. The main combat power of the Coalition came from the United States, which had five heavy Army divisions, two light Army divisions, two armored cavalry regiments, two Marine divisions, plus separate Marine brigades in its ground forces. Air elements included more than 1300 combat aircraft, while major naval elemis included eight aircraft carriers and two battleship groups. Contingents of division size or greater came from Egypt, France, Kuwait, Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the UK. Contingents of brigade size came from Oman, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, and Bangladesh.

UN Resolution 678 stifled ongoing objections from hawkish anti-Soviets in the Bush Administration regarding the fate of Iraq. Passed on November 29 1990, the resolution authorized the US-led Coalition to liberate Kuwait. The overthrow of the Iraqi government and/or conquest of the Iraqi state were not included among the authorized actions. The Soviet Union deliberately stayed on the sidelines in the formulation of the resolution. Bush pointed out that this was evidence that d├ętente was in the international interest and that the United States would reap the greatest benefit from respecting international opinion on the matter.

The Coalition opened its air offensive against Iraq on January 17, 1991. In an extraordinary display of technical prowess and fighting skills, the Coalition air assets literally annihilated one of the densest air defense networks in the world, then severed the logistical links between the Iraq and the Iraqi forces in the Kuwait Theater of Operations (KTO). Aerial bombardment had robbed the Iraqi forces in the KTO of fifty percent of their combat power by the time the Coalition ground offensive got underway a month later.

At the start of the ground offensive, the Iraqi Army had approximately thirty-seven divisions in the KTO. Somewhat more than half of these were non-mechanized infantry divisions occupying extensively prepared defensive positions. Backing these divisions were eight armored and mechanized divisions of the regular Iraqi Army; still further back were six divisions of the elite Republican Guard. This daunting assembly of conventional forces was overrun, routed, and destroyed by Coalition ground forces in a sweeping mechanized offensive that lasted four days. Losses to the Iraqi Army included more than 2,500 tanks, comparable numbers of APCs and IFVs, huge quantities of other equipment, and more than a quarter-million men wounded, killed, or captured.

True to his agreement with Danilov and the letter of the UN resolution authorizing the use of force in Kuwait, Bush stopped the Coalition forces south of the Euphrates River. The Americans pulled back, and Saddam Hussein was left in control of Iraq.

The results of the Second Gulf War (the First Gulf War was fought between Iran and Iraq) were far-reaching. The emirate of Kuwait was liberated. The oil-rich Gulf states of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Oman were more closely tied to the West than ever before. The United States had put its forces and doctrine to the test, resulting in the most one-sided victory in the recorded history of warfare. It was a sea change in the global perception of the balance of power.

Danilov had scored a major victory over the hawks in his own government. Most of them were forced to admit that the United States would have destroyed any Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia that did not involve massive quantities of Soviet troops. By staying on the sidelines, Danilov had secured fresh grain shipments and a measure of East-West good will that would have been difficult to imagine a year prior. The Soviet Union had shown a willingness to respect international law outside its existing sphere of influence. The other Soviet client states were effectively reined in by the example of Iraq. And the Soviets now had a sobering idea of the capabilities of the United States. Danilov had accomplished all this with virtually no cost to the USSR.

In the West, Bush was able to partially redeem himself in the eyes of a public who still ridiculed him for inaction during the Black Winter. This was unfair to Bush, who had no good options at the time. Unfortunately for Bush, the stigma of the Black Winter weighed more heavily against him than his success in the Gulf, even though the results of the Second Gulf War were far more important for the United States. Bush would be voted out of office in 1992.

When the guns had cooled in Iraq and Kuwait, all parties moved quickly to establish themselves in the new order. The USSR offered to rebuild the Iraqi Army in exchange for oil. In the wake of the war, the USSR found willing Western and Third World buyers for its oil; the Soviets accepted Iraqi oil as payment in kind, then sold the oil on the international market for hard currency. Hussein readily accepted the Soviet offer, despite the fact that his sponsors had abandoned him so completely. The Western-aligned Gulf states established a new defensive alliance. Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) forces were stationed in Kuwait to discourage further Iraqi adventures. The United States left a single heavy brigade in Kuwait and pre-positioned the equipment for the balance of a heavy division. Iraq rapidly began rearming. The GCC girded for a likely second round of conflict with Iraq, not trusting the apparent agreement between the US and USSR.

The stage was set for further conflict. For the time being, however, Danilov could get on with his program of reform.

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