Gulf War_Inquiry_first draft - MSL Senior Methods 2010-2011

Nada Wafa
Inquiry Project- Draft
Dr. Lee & Dr. Young
The Gulf War
On the morning of August 2 , 1990, thousands of people in Kuwait woke up to the
horrific sounds of invasion. By the afternoon, thousands of Iraqi troops had swarmed into
Kuwait. All the Al-Sabah government rulers fled the country to Saudi Arabia and the
Gulf regions the night before the invasion. Army command units and helicopters came by
air and began to bomb the capital of Kuwait.
The dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait after they received the green light
from the American Embassy in Iraq. Kuwait was a “member of the Arab League and a
member of the United Nations” (Bush, 52). The following months were led with many
endless cruel and horrific nights to many families across the country of Kuwait. When the
Arab leaders wanted a solution, Saddam Hussein was reluctant to leave Kuwait. With no
progress in getting Saddam Hussein to withdraw from Kuwait, there were “28 countries
with forces in the Gulf area [that] have exhausted all reasonable efforts to reach a
peaceful resolution; [we] have no choice but to drive Saddam from Kuwait by force. We
will not fail” (Bush, 53).
The American troops were sent to free Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion under Saddam
Hussein’s rule. Bush wanted to destroy all of his chemical weapons, tanks, and protect
the lives of his coalition forces. Bush said as in response to the war objectives, “the
legitimate government of Kuwait will be restored to its rightful place, and Kuwait will
once again be free. Iraq will eventually comply with all relevant UN resolutions. And
then, when peace is restored, it is our hope that Iraq will live as peaceful and cooperative
member of the family of nations, thus, enhancing the security and stability of the Gulf”
Kuwait was rich with oil supply, and one of the reasons that Saddam Hussein invaded
Kuwait was because he accused Kuwait of “driving down the price of oil by cheating on
OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) quotas and flooding the market,
thwarting Hussein’s attempts to rebuild Iraq’s economy after the Iran-Iraq War” (Bush,
52). Another reason was that Saddam thought that Kuwait was part of Iraq based on the
Iraqi world map; thus, he wanted to take it by force and clash it together.
As the Gulf crisis began in the year 1990, the invasion worsened on January 17, 1991.
The U.N. passed the “Operation Desert Shield [that] erupted into Operation Desert
Storm” (Fellure, 228). America had the power to unite almost the whole world against
Saddam Hussein. There were armed forces from “Egypt, Syria, Saudia Arabia, and other
Arab nations and troops from the Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, and other non-Arab
nations fighting alongside soldiers from North and South America, Europe, and Asia,
[and] most of the world was united” (228). British pilots drove tornado aircrafts that
carried bombs designed to defeat the Iraqi army.
The Americans first target was Iraq’s capital. From the top of Baghdad, there were 3,000
anti-aircraft guns that were fired into the night. The F1-17 was invisible to radar, and its
main target was the communication tower in Baghdad. The pilot in the lead aircraft
showered 2,000 pounds of dangerous bomb on Baghdad. Across the city, the Iraqi
grounds shock and 14 more bombs from other supports hit their targets areas. Then the
missiles from U.S. army warships hit the power supply lines (YouTube Video).
In addition, there is a controversy between who has hit the Kuwaiti oil wells. Some say
that the Iraqi troops “set fire to about 700 Kuwaiti oil wells, which burned for months
until special crews [Americans] were able to contain them” (228). The American
companies distinguished the oil wells after the destruction. The coalition forces drove
Iraq out of Kuwait decisively. After about six weeks, Kuwait was clear of any invasion
from Iraq.
In addition, there was the Gulf War Syndrome that has affected hundreds and thousands
of families till this day. During the Gulf War of 1991, the “American and British troops
used ammunition that contained depleted uranium, a substance that is twice as dense as
lead and noted for its propensity to pierce through a body armor” (Sinkler, 80). This
radioactive material is produced from nuclear fuel and it produces tiny elements that stay
in the air and water for years. The civilians and troops from all over were affected by
these ammunitions and many people were exposed to those radioactive particles. It is
responsible for “a dramatic rise in birth defects among newborn children….as well as an
almost fourfold increase in diseases linked to radiation exposure, such as leukemia and
stomach cancer” (80).
The Gulf War Syndrome is linked to many of the health problems caused by the weapons
“used by the United States and Britain during the Gulf War of 1991” (80). Infants were
suffering from congenital malformation from the radioactive ammunitions during the
Gulf War. There was barely any clean water and the sewage systems were destroyed. The
electrical systems were severely damaged. The people have faced the worst humanitarian
crises due to the lack of electricity, lack of resources, lack of health services and
medications, and lack of a sustained government. Shereen T. Ismael who is a political
scientist said, “The devastation of the national electrical grid during the 1991 Gulf War
has hampered development efforts in all areas. Without electrical power, hospitals have
been forced to abandon modern technology, medicines have been destroyed through the
lack of refrigeration, water purification plants have been forced to release untreated water
in the water supply” (82).
Let’s rewind to August 13, 1990. Kuwait has been under the Iraqi attack for about two
weeks , and the American and Britain troops fought back to free Kuwait from Saddam’s
invasion. There were checkpoints, military and control bases, tanks, soldiers, and troops
everywhere we went. It was my time to come to the world and my mother was in severe
pain. It was 5:30 A.M, and my father immediately drove my mother to the hospital. My
mother was rushed into the delivery rooms, and my father was not allowed to enter at any
time of the delivery. All the doctors fled out of the hospital, and there were only maidens
and Indian workers who slept at the hospital to work day and night. The patients at the
hospital used to howl and wail because of the pain they were going through.
As the pain increased, my mother went through a very difficult and painful delivery with
no medications or pain relievers. The Indian workers were the ones who helped my
mother give birth and then a practicing medical student continued the delivery. After a
long, painful delivery, my mother fainted as she tried to get up to help herself. She
wanted me to stay next to her when she gave birth, but instead they put me in the
incubator immediately. She tried to stay awake to keep an eye on me because she feared
they would switch me with another child or take me. Next to my mother was a lady
giving birth to twins, and unfortunately, both of her children passed away from lack of
medication and care.
My father saw me after 5 hours of my delivery. Within an hour after my father came, we
arrived home safely but still in fear of what will happen ahead. The only birth certificate I
had was a slip of paper that included my name, my parent’s name, and the year I was
born in from the health ministry of Kuwait.
A month later, there was news that any American citizens should come back immediately
to the States. I have two older brothers who were born in the U.S. and because of them;
we were able to arrive here safely. My family had no idea that we were going to land at
Raleigh, North Carolina.
As the Gulf War caught the world’s attention, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was not part
of the interest in the public eye until the war was over. The Gulf War was a turning point
in the history of wars, and the Palestinian point of view on the Gulf crisis was that they
“criticized the explicit double standard of the international community that utilized the
UN and appeals to international law to demand Iraq’s immediate withdrawal from Kuwait
but failed to apply the same measures to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza Strip (Ashrawi, 1991:192-195).
The Gulf War had also resulted “in the exodus of thousands of highly skilled Palestinians
and millions of other migrant works from host countries (Bowen, 10). Some of the
implications that the Gulf War had on the Palestinians were the long curfews that caused
great economic difficulties, and “close to 400,000 Palestinians living in Kuwait lost their
livelihood and were forced once again to flee and look for refuge elsewhere” (Andoni,
1991). After the Gulf War ended, the Arab-Israeli conflict was back on the schema and
there was a Palestinian and Isreali officials negotiation that said it was to be as a “major
step forward in Palestinian-Israeli relations” (Tessler, 1994:748-750); words that are still
said till this day.
As the Palestinian-Israeli conflict went back on the agenda, another issue over the years
arose. On November 29, 1990, the Security Council reaffirms the 660 resolution in the
678 resolution that “ultimately gives authorization for invasion” (Council of Foreign
Relations). The 678 resolution authorized the state members to force Iraq to compel
resolutions by January 15, 1991. After 12 years, the resolution of 687 was passed against
Iraq “under the authority of UN Resolution 678 (1990), which originally authorized the
use of force after Iraq invaded Kuwait” (Wikipedia). The legal basis to enter Iraq
forcefully and legally existed since the “effect of resolution 678, 687 and 1441….thus,
the authority to use force under resolution 678 has revived and so continues today”
For me to keep track of:
raq_kuwait.html (goldsmith)
I think the Gulf War is a great topic. The issue is how will you make your
work original, and what resources can you access that are primary. One idea
would be to look at the arguments that were made at the time of the war in
support or opposition to the military action. You could look specifically at
UN Resolution 678 which was adopted on November 29, 1990. In the
resolution, the UN Security Council approved (12-2 with one abstention)
military action against Iraq. Although there was some disagreement on this
1991 action in Kuwait and Iraq, there was much more on the 2003 invasion
of Iraq. The way to do this would be to focus on the speeches or arguments
that countries might have made during the time.
*need to search more speeches/arguments