In the aftermath of the conflict, Canadians would continue to serve with peacekeeping and embargo-enforcement efforts in the region for several years. Iraq and Kuwait are Arab countries located next to each other in the heart of the oil-rich Middle East, a region of the world steeped in history.
The Canadian Armed Forces and the Gulf War
In the 20 th century, both Iraq and Kuwait achieved independence. The relationship between the two countries, however, has not been smooth. Iraq had long felt that Kuwait was really a part of Iraq and that Kuwaiti oil rigs were illegally tapping into Iraqi oil fields. In the late s, tensions grew and relations became much worse.
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On August 2, , the situation came to a head when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait, quickly taking control of its much smaller neighbour. Many in the international community condemned Iraq's bold act of aggression and Canada soon joined a country, American-led multinational Coalition to restore freedom to Kuwait.
Functioning under the mandate of a United Nations UN resolution that approved the use of force, Operation Desert Shield saw the build-up of Coalition forces in the Gulf region. The Canadian Armed Forces participation in the military efforts there would be codenamed Operation Friction. Canada's first military contributions came at sea in August , when three of our warships sailed to the Persian Gulf to be part of a Coalition fleet that would secure the waters off Iraq and occupied Kuwait.
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Canadian CF warplanes were sent to the Middle East in October to help take control of the skies above the Gulf. A joint headquarters for the Canadian Armed Forces in the region was also established in Manamah, Bahrain in November Canadian medical, communications, logistical and security units would also bravely play support roles in the Gulf War.
During the s and s, the United States--and Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and West Germany--sold Iraq an awesome arsenal that included missiles, tanks, and the equipment needed to produce biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. During Baghdad's eight-year-long war with Iran, the United States, which opposed the growth of Muslim fundamentalist extremism, tilted toward Iraq.
On August 6, , President Bush dramatically declared, "This aggression will not stand. In a sharp departure from American foreign policy during the Reagan presidency, Bush also organized an international coalition against Iraq. He convinced Turkey and Syria to close Iraqi oil pipelines, won Soviet support for an arms embargo, and established a multi-national army to protect Saudi Arabia. In the United Nations, the administration succeeded in persuading the Security Council to adopt a series of resolutions condemning the Iraqi invasion, demanding restoration of the Kuwaiti government, and imposing an economic blockade.
Remembering the Gulf War - AIIA - Australian Institute of International Affairs
Bush's decision to resist Iraqi aggression reflected the president's assessment of vital national interests. Iraq's invasion gave Saddam Hussein direct control over a significant portion of the world's oil supply. Iraq's ,man army threatened the security of such valuable U. In November , the crisis took a dramatic turn. The reasons given for Australian participation centred on representations of Australian identity as a principled, sovereign, democratic nation-state.
This identity was contrasted with that of Iraq, especially Hussein. His undeniable abhorrent historical and contemporary political practices facilitated his demonisation as the personification of evil. Combating the threat he posed became a justification in itself that avoided acknowledging the previous relationship the West had had with him. Connected to this was the impact the invasion would have on Middle Eastern stability and its pivotal place in the global economy. Secondly, the invasion was simultaneously represented as a threat to the post-Cold War new world order and as an opportunity to construct a new world order in which the UN could be revitalised via collective security, for which Australia had a responsibility as a foundational UN member.
The specific concerns were that the lack of unifying regional organisations made the Asia-Pacific more susceptible to instability and the possibility of decreased American engagement in the region. While the Australian forces co-operated in the military operations, perhaps the most significant Australian contribution was the intelligence provided by the joint facilities at Nurrungar and Pine Gap, particularly in the detection of Iraqi Scud missiles.
"They were so technologically superior that it wasn’t even a fight, really."
The ground offensive began on 24 February after another deadline for withdrawal passed. The Iraqi forces were overwhelmed by technological superiority and outnumbered in the air and ground wars. This called into question claims about it being a Just War, especially in terms of proportionality.
More than , Iraqi soldiers died, possibly , deserted and estimates of civilian deaths are between , — ,